SHANGHAI, Jan 9 (Reuters) – Potential buyers of Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) in China are waiting longer for some versions of its Model Y car, suggesting the electric vehicle maker’s decision to cut prices is fueling demand on its second largest market.
The wait time for orders for the rear-wheel-drive and long-range versions of the Model Y was a week longer on Monday than it had been on Friday, Tesla’s website showed.
Shares of the company rose about 8% to $122.20 on Monday after falling 68% in the past 12 months.
The wait as of Monday was two to five weeks on these models. The wait time for all Model 3 versions and the performance version of the Model Y remained at one to four weeks from Monday.
Tesla slashed prices by 6% to 13.5% on Friday in rebates that brought some of its cars closer to BYD’s (1211.HK) best-selling models in a step analysts interpreted as a sign that a price war could build at a time when demand in China has weakened.
On Monday, Tesla had made no adjustments to its January production plan for its Shanghai factory, with a suspension of assembly lines due to start from Jan. 20 until the end of the month, a person familiar with the matter said. .
“This (the wait time) is an early indication that the price declines are having the intended impact, which is to stimulate demand,” said Garrett Nelson, analyst at CFRA Research.
Nelson added that Tesla’s vehicle production has outpaced sales for three consecutive quarters and the company has chosen to lower prices and take additional downtime at the Shanghai plant to restore the balance between production. ‘Offer and demand.
Angry Chinese owners who bought Tesla cars in late 2022 and missed out on the extra discount said they were waiting for a response from the company to their demand for some sort of compensation after a wave of impromptu protests.
A Tesla representative told Reuters on Saturday that the company does not intend to compensate those buyers for the price drops they missed. The company did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Some of the buyers in China said they were led to believe the additional discounts would not happen. Many were also looking to take advantage of a national electric vehicle subsidy that expired at the end of the year.
Chinese state media largely chose not to cover the protests, which online videos showed took place in cities including Beijing, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Xi’an. Reuters witnessed a protest at a Tesla facility in Shanghai.
Comments on Chinese social media have been largely negative towards protesting Tesla buyers, with many saying online they should have understood the terms of the contract.
“I’m ashamed that they’re protesting after Tesla cut prices,” a popular legal blogger named “Wind Blows” commented on his social media Weibo.
Separately, Tesla began offering discounts to Singapore buyers from Monday who agreed to buy existing inventory, adding that market to China, South Korea, Japan and Australia to those where he offered new incentives.
Reporting by Zhang Yan, Brenda Goh; Additional reporting by Akash Sriram in Bangalore; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Shounak Dasgupta
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