Tesla owners protested at Tesla’s showroom this weekend in the central city of Changsha after the electric vehicle manufacturer slashed prices across its Chinese range on March. 1.
The biggest cut comes at the top of the range, with Model X variants seeing reductions of up to RMB 341,100 (just under $51,000). The Model S and Model 3 versions have price cuts of up to RMB 277,500 and RMB 44,000, respectively.
In light of these huge price gaps, some recent Tesla buyers are seeking compensation from the electric car manufacturer. One Weibo user by the handle luweijuzi said that he was aware of the price reduction only five days after receiving his Model X on Feb. 25, adding that he arguably could be considered as one of the “most unlucky” buyers of the brand. A photo posted by the user shows a banner mounted across the showroom windows of a Tesla outlet in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province. The sign reads: “Tesla cuts prices randomly, infringing customers’ legal rights.”
However, luweijuzi described the negotiation process as friendly and said that the showroom manager had allowed him to post the banner, even offering to take photos of it so that he could report the incident to Tesla management. Tesla could not be reached immediately for comment.
Many other Tesla owners are still waiting for an official response from the company. Some comments posted under entry by luweijuzi post argued that such price reductions were just regular market mechanisms and that Tesla owners unhappy with them had no legal grounds to claim for compensation. Other netizens were more empathetic, saying the reaction by some Tesla buyers was understandable given that the decline in price was so considerable.
Tesla has also slashed prices in Australia, with its top-notch P100D range seeing reductions of more than AUD 80,000 (just under $57,000).
Separately, the carmaker announced last week that it will shut down retail stores and sell online only, a move that will lower average prices for all vehicles by 6%, according to The Guardian.
Tesla saw a rapid growth in revenue last year, but its performance in the Chinese market under performed. The brand’s revenue in China reached around $1 billion, marking a 13.3% decrease compared to 2017.
Meanwhile, construction of the company’s Shanghai plant is progressing. Four main workshops will be completed by September, and the power system workshop is scheduled to finish by March 2020. The factory will produce 150,000 Model 3 cars every year once put into use.