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Tesla is considering curbing its presence in Hong Kong if the city’s authorities don’t start offering EV buyers more incentives, a source close to the company told South China Morning Post. Last year, the daily notes, Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor canceled a full waiver of the registration tax for EVs, which caused an 80-percent price increase for high-end electric cars, such as Tesla.
The full waiver was replaced last year with a fixed one amounting to around US$12,500 (HK$97,500), which resulted in plummeting electric car sales in the city. From April, when the new waiver was introduced, to December, only 99 electric cars were sold in the city, compared with 2,078 a year earlier.
Naturally, given its focus on high-end vehicles, Tesla suffered the most severe blow, selling just 32 cars between April and December last year, although it sold an impressive 2,939 cars in March alone as buyers tried to make the best of the closing full-waiver window.
But now that this window has been slammed shut, “Scaling down Tesla’s operation in Hong Kong is a natural and logical consequence if the number of customers has dwindled prompted by a reduction of government incentives,” the source told SCMP, adding “Without government support, who is ¬willing to invest in green technology?”
Tesla commented that it remains committed to the Hong Kong market, expressing a hope that the government would continue supporting the electric car industry to “preserve Hong Kong’s lead in clean, sustainable living.”
However, the government has more interests to think about and when it comes to cars; an auto industry source told SCMP that the removal of the full registration tax waiver was the result of pressure from big carmakers who felt threatened by Tesla’s fast growth on the local market.
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.