Tesla announced today that Chinese customers will soon be able to buy its 85kWh Model S electric sedan in China for ¥734,000. That’s essentially the same price as the luxury plug-in costs in the US — just with import duties, taxes and shipping added on.
This, as with a lot of what Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] does, flies in the face of a tradition in China where established brands charge Chinese buyers a premium for their vehicles compared to buyers elsewhere in the world.
To put this price into comparison, a BMW 7-series Active Hybrid costs ¥1,493,500 in China – that’s over double the cost, and a lot less efficient to boot. To find a more price-compatible Chinese-market BMW, you’d need to look at the BMW 5 Series GT, which retails there for ¥738,000.
As for other class-comparable cars on sale in China?
The cheapest Mercedes-Benz S-class on sale is the S 400 L EXCLUSIVE which comes in at ¥1,248,000. For the same ¥734,000 a Chinese buyer could almost get a CLS 300 at ¥768,000 or they could walk away with a E 300 L Sport Sedan Exclusive at ¥690,000.
In a blog post on its website, Tesla said: ‘The price of a Model S in China is much lower than its competitors simply because we want to treat our Chinese customers just as well as we’d treat customers in any other country. That means the price of a Model S in China is the same as the price of a Model S in the US, adding only unavoidable taxes, customs duties and transportation costs. We’re not even factoring in the cost of the free-to-use Supercharger network that Tesla will build across China.’
The pricing breakdown provided by Tesla looks like this:
US Price: $81,070
Shipping and handling: $3,600
Customs duties and Taxes: $19,000
Exchanged to CNY/RMB at 6.05: ¥734,288.5
At this time it appears that only the Model S 85 and P85 are going to be available, with a fully loaded Model S setting back Chinese buyers ¥1,084,500.
While this price point will set Tesla apart from other manufactures who sell cars in China, there is a chance that without a ‘premium’ price tag the car may not be seen as a ‘premium purchase’.
We imagine that alongside this price Tesla will be pushing the various accolades the Model S has received to counter this. Showing that while their price point doesn’t put their car with other comparable vehicles from the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, their quality, ride and safety is superior.
What do you think of the Chinese price of the Model S? Do you think Tesla has made a clever and exciting move or do you think they have shot themselves in the foot in this new market? Let us know below.
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