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After last October it suffered a 70-percent slump in car sales in China, now Tesla is racing to regain lost market share by releasing its flagship Model 3 on the Chinese market ahead of schedule, Reuters reports, citing a Tesla statement.
Initially, the Model 3 release was scheduled for next month but the carmaker is going great guns to regain and expand its share in the world’s largest car market. The first people to take delivery of their Model 3 will be the ones who ordered their vehicles last year, and then Tesla will deliver Model 3s to Chinese customers who ordered their cars this year, the company said.
The company began accepting pre-orders for Chinese customers in October 2018.
But regaining market share is not the only reason, at least according to one analyst. “I see its earlier-than-expected delivery as an effort to try and seize the market as quickly as possible,” LMC Automotive analyst Alan Kang told Reuters.
Indeed, besides being the largest car market in the world, China is also the largest EV market, with local players vying for market share with foreign brands, including Tesla, which for now is the undisputed leader in the luxury segment but with a host of other high-end EVs coming to the market its position could soon be challenged.
Like other carmakers, Tesla became a casualty of the Washington-Beijing trade war, with tariffs swelling the price tags of its cars to unacceptable levels. As a result, last November Tesla announced it would cut the prices for its Model S and Model X cars for Chinese customers by 12 to 26 percent.
“We are absorbing a significant part of the tariff to help make our cars more affordable for customers in China,” the EV maker said in a statement at the time.
Coinciding with the early launch of the Model 3 in China, however, Tesla got some bad news from Consumer Reports: the reputable magazine dropped the Model 3 from its top 10 recommended cars citing customer complaints about problems with some car components including loose-fitting exterior parts and defective glass.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.