Tesla Owners Protest Lower Prices in China; You Read That Right

Tesla electric vehicle (EV) owners took to showrooms to protest Tesla prices in China last weekend. However, it’s not what you might think; this protest revolved around lowered prices instead of swelling costs. That might seem ridiculous, but the parties who protested Tesla’s price drops are owners who missed the opportunity to save on their EVs. The EV automaker’s surprise price cuts favor recent buyers and leave some owners out in the cold. 

Why are Tesla owners protesting? 

Tesla owners in China assembled in distribution centers and showrooms across the country to protest the marque’s early January price cuts. The owners claim that they needlessly overpaid for their EVs and demand rebates and compensation in the form of credit. 

According to Reuters, around 200 owners gathered in Tesla businesses to voice their discontent over the missed opportunity. Furthermore, many buyers purchased their vehicles in 2022 ahead of a “scheduled expiration of a government subsidy” at the end of the year. Consumers believed they were making the right choice. Surprisingly, Reuters reports that protesters were able to meet with Tesla staff peacefully with the facilitation of police. 

Moreover, some protesters want to return their Teslas altogether rather than receive credit or rebates. For instance, one crowd in Chengdu reportedly chanted, “return the money, refund our cars.” Either way, owners who missed out on the rather abrupt price cuts aren’t happy. 

Tesla cut prices on the Model 3 and Model Y in China, which angered existing Tesla owners

The Tesla models that generated the most buzz are, unsurprisingly, the Model 3 and Model Y. Specifically, the two EVs are the automaker’s most inexpensive offerings, and Tesla produces both models at Gigafactory Shanghai. 

Owners of Tesla models like these are resorting to protests after Tesla cut its prices.
Tesla vehicles in Shanghai | Shen Chunchen, VCG via Getty Images

According to CNN Business, Tesla cut its EV prices by between 13% and 24%. Those discounts represent significant savings over the fall and winter of last year. Understandably, owners who purchased their EVs ahead of the end of the government subsidy and thought they were making the best move. However, Tesla China told Reuters that it has no plans to compensate owners for the vehicles they bought before the price cuts.  

Why is Tesla cutting prices in China?

Tesla is likely cutting prices to increase its sales in the Chinese market. According to Reuters, the EV automaker’s sales were abysmal in December. Moreover, Tesla probably dropped prices to coerce other electric car companies into lowering their own prices in the Chinese market.

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The dramatic move is an understandable business practice, given the importance of China to Tesla’s bottom line. Specifically, the Chinese market accounts for about one-third of the electric marque’s global sales. However, it’s unclear what the long-term impact of the price cuts will be. 

Will Tesla prices go down in 2023?

Tesla raised its prices several times in 2021 and 2022 for the American market. It’s unclear whether American Tesla prices will go down in 2023. However, prices have fallen in China and Australia, so the United States could follow suit. 

What do you think of Tesla’s prices? Tell us in the comments below!