Electric-car maker Tesla may be hoping to erase some difficult months in China with the release of a cheaper Model Y.
The auto maker
on Thursday unveiled the Standard Range (SR) Model Y on its China website that has a starting price of ¥276,000 ($42,589), which takes in government subsidies and reduces it from ¥291,840. Delivery of the autos will begin in August, according to the website.
Tesla’s original Model Y for its Chinese market was approved for sale in late 2020, with the lowest price at ¥347,900 ($53,700).
The new version will allow buyers to take advantage of China government subsidies on electric-vehicle purchases, which only apply to those priced under ¥300,000. Plans to scrap those subsidies were shelved as the pandemic hit and the government sought to stimulate sales of electric cars.
China is a key market for electric-car makers, and Tesla faces plenty of homegrown competition, including NIO
Concerns about sales in that country and some public-relations headaches — backlash over its handling of consumer complaints and a recall that stoked more concerns — are at the heart of weakness for the stock this year, say some analysts.
Shares of Tesla have lost around 9% so far this year, against a 14% gain for the Nasdaq Composite and near 15% rise for the S&P 500. On Thursday, shares were down over 2% in premarket trade, against the backdrop of broader global market weakness.
Ahead of the July 4 holiday, Tesla said it produced 206,421 vehicles and delivered 201,250 in the second quarter, roughly in line with broader analyst consensus and a record for the company. In April, it reported blowout sales, and cited a strong performance of the China Model Y.
Tesla is scheduled to announced its second-quarter earnings on August 4.