Tesla price reductions are causing disruptions in the US auto industry: report

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American electric vehicle maker Tesla has lowered prices on its entire Model S3XY lineup in the United States, with some vehicle variants receiving as much as 20% off their previous price. The strategy has had a ripple effect across the automobile industry, and it has put pressure on competitors in the EV sector.

Tesla’s price reductions have received mixed reactions among investors and Wall Street analysts, with some arguing that the move was a response to declining demand. Others, on the other hand, have noted that Tesla’s lower prices are a strategy that could put pressure on competitors, especially since popular variants of vehicles like the Model 3 and Model Y are now eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Analysts have noted that it is clear Tesla’s price cuts have resulted in the EV maker undercutting its competition in the other electric vehicle sector. The lower vehicle prices have had a negative impact on the value of used Teslas as well, with some dealers stating that the Teslas in their inventory experienced a decline of several thousand dollars overnight, as noted in a report from The Wall Street Journal

Bank of America analyst John Murphy noted that traditional car manufacturers, particularly those without Tesla’s scale in electric cars, are currently facing challenges in terms of profit margins or are losing money on their respective plug-in offerings. With this in mind, Tesla’s recent price cuts might lead to further cost reduction efforts from rival car companies — or even potentially trigger a price war in the EV segment.

“These price cuts are likely to make business even more difficult, just as they are attempting to ramp production of EV offerings,” Murphy noted. 

A number of veteran automakers have responded somewhat to Tesla’s price cuts. A spokesman for General Motors has noted that the veteran automaker is keeping an eye on Tesla’s strategy, but the lower prices of the S3XY lineup has not had any significant impact on GM. “It does underscore the value of having a broad EV portfolio at multiple price points, which is exactly what we’re developing,” the GM spokesperson noted. 

A spokesperson for Ford, on the other hand, noted that the veteran automaker reported record sales for its Mustang Mach-E all-electric crossover last year. The spokesperson also noted that the demand for its EV lineup, which includes the F-150 Lightning, has been high, and thus, Ford is keeping a close eye on the electric car market to maintain its competitive edge

Data from research firm Motor Intelligence shows that Tesla accounted for about 65% of the total electric vehicle sales in the United States in 2022. That’s far ahead of Ford’s 7.6% and General Motors’ 3.5%. Despite this, both the GM CEO Mary Barra and Ford CEO Jim Farley have set the goal of eventually surpassing Tesla as the top-selling EV in the country at some point in the future.

Tesla’s price cuts, if any, appear to have caused a rise in interest in the company’s electric cars. As per Edmunds, the number of people researching Tesla vehicles increased significantly after the price cuts were announced. Edmunds noted that the Model Y was the second most researched vehicle on their website for the week ending January 15, a vast improvement from its place as the 70th most researched car the week before. Tenet, a firm that specializes in providing financing services to EV buyers, also observed that applications for Tesla vehicle financing tripled soon after the S3XY lineup’s price cuts in the United States were rolled out. 

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Tesla price reductions are causing disruptions in the US auto industry: report
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