Most cars exported to China end up with a hugely inflated price tag – often hovering around twice as much as what we'd expect to pay in the United States. Part of that can be chalked up to duties and taxes – which can be quite prohibitive in the People's Republic – but a big part of it comes down to profitability. Tesla, however, is committed to doing things differently.

While some sources were expecting the Model S to carry a price tag in China more than double that of the US model, Tesla has announced a far lower MSRP for the Chinese market than that. Instead it will sell the Model S for 734,000 yuan – equivalent to $121,000 at today's exchange rates.

Now we know what you might be thinking: that's significantly more than the $69,900 Tesla buyers pay in the United States. And you're right. But you have to take into account several factors. For one, the US price includes a $7,500 federal tax credit. For another, Tesla is including the 85 kWh battery pack as standard in China – an option that would already tack on an extra ten grand Stateside. There's shipping costs to take into account (about $3,600 worth, Tesla figures). And last but not least, there's the considerable taxes the Chinese government rakes in on imported cars: $36,700 of it, to be precise.

Take all those factors into account and you'll soon realize that Tesla is taking a rather aggressive stance towards pricing in the mainland Chinese market. Especially when you consider that it's also developing a new "executive" back seat to suit Chinese buyers who typically like being driven instead of driving themselves. The Model S will reportedly be sold in China under the name "Tesila" – or perhaps "Tuosule" – in two showrooms: one already established in Beijing and another being set up in Shanghai, with a network of Supercharger stations being set up between them.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 62 Comments
      NY EVO X MR GUY
      • 11 Months Ago
      Wow. China has some wicked taxes.
        Grendal
        • 11 Months Ago
        @NY EVO X MR GUY
        Like most countries except the US, China has huge import taxes on foreign goods. That prevents foreign goods from being more popular than homemade goods.
          Technoir
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          No2bondfan US politicians are the lap dogs of corporate interests. If WalMart can make 30% more profit by buying Chinese vs. American made, they ll buy a few politicians to make sure it happens.
          NY EVO X MR GUY
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          Makes sense. Vote ^
          no1bondfan
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          It's too bad we don't use our leverage as the world's largest market to demand that others open up their markets to our goods, or to impose some import duties so we can retain manufacturing and the strong middle class that comes with it.
      Spec
      • 11 Months Ago
      I wish them great success. And I hope they can take advantage of Chinese incentives for EVs.
        Edge
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Spec
        I believe those incentives can get the price down to like 614,000 yuan in some places (Beijing/Shanghai), or roughly $100,000 US.
      legacy
      • 11 Months Ago
      considering the pollution/smog in beijing and appetite for luxury/foreign goods in China, I can see the Model S selling extremely well in China.
      • 11 Months Ago
      [blocked]
      Grendal
      • 11 Months Ago
      Tesla won the right to use their name in China. They do not have to call themselves Tuosole or whatever it was.
      Avinash Machado
      • 11 Months Ago
      Hope it will be a hit.
      A Middle American
      • 11 Months Ago
      Ironically, high sales of electric cars in China would make the pollution problem worse, not better. Most of the electricity is produced by coal power plants (dirty ones at that).
        DaveMart
        • 11 Months Ago
        @A Middle American
        I love the way 'facts' are simply invented on this forum. Electricity production by source in China: 'At the end of 2012, China’s total installed power generation capacity was 1,144.9 GW, of which 758 GW was from coal-fired power plants. Hydro power contributed 248.9 GW (including pumped storage of 20.31 GW) accounting for 21.7% of installed capacity. There were 38.27 GW of gas power, accounting for 3.3% of the installed capacity. The 12.57 GW of nuclear power contributed 1.1% of installed capacity. Wind and solar power contributed 60.83 GW (5.3%) and 3.28 GW (0.3%), respectively. ' http://cornerstonemag.net/the-development-strategy-for-coal-fired-power-generation-in-china/ Coal is and will remain for a very long time the chief source of electricity in China, and notions that natural gas or still less renewables are going to change that any time soon are not based on facts.. The grid is far, far dirties than in the US, and the benefits certainly to CO2 and likely to all the other emissions of electric cars are far from clear.
          Technoir
          • 11 Months Ago
          @DaveMart
          That is true, China is currently building dozens of new coal plants. It will stay bad for a long time.
          skierpage
          • 11 Months Ago
          @DaveMart
          The missing piece as usual is the pollution involved in pumping, refining, and delivery of gasoline. I haven't carefully researched the meme "It takes more electricity to produce a gallon of gasoline than to send an EV the equivalent distance", but it's way more energy-intensive than digging up a seam of coal and dumping it on a train. Yes, the benefits are unclear, hazy even :)
        Pandabear
        • 11 Months Ago
        @A Middle American
        Not exactly, their biggest pollution problem is the NOX from 2 stroke mopeds and diesel vehicles.
      Grendal
      • 11 Months Ago
      Nicely done, Tesla. Tesla is currently predicting about 10K orders per year from China. That will put demand at 40K cars per year or roughly $4 billion in worldwide sales. Not bad for an American company selling a $70k to $120K car.
      Pandabear
      • 11 Months Ago
      The reason they cannot charge a huge premium is because they do not have the brand recognition of the Europeans that Chinese crave for. Also there are already a lot of electric bikes for daily commuters so an EV is not really as cool as in the US.
        Weapon
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Pandabear
        Nope. Tesla could easily charge a premium in china. But Tesla has been committed to charging the same price everywhere. The same applies to everywhere, not just china. Tesla is aiming for a fair market value everywhere. In China EVs are actually considered cooler as luxury gasoline vehicles are frowned upon in china. But luxury EVs are viewed as cool. On top of that, China lottery gives favor to EVs.
          Ian
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          Not in Australia! $200k is a big ask
          Grendal
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Weapon
          It's not Tesla's fault your country is making it extra pricey. Marco can explain why since he is clued into the politics behind it all.
      i was
      • 11 Months Ago
      china is coming out with their own version of the big "T". yes it is almost a perfect replicar. it will be called Chisla Model S. It will come with extras such as a sack of black rhino horn dust and or baby austrailian ant eater skin for a erotic driving experience. the oddometer counts how many turkistanies it runs over and how many villages it pollutes in tibet. it can also hope island with ease. spratley to okanawa in 14 minutes.
      Grendal
      • 11 Months Ago
      I mentioned this earlier in the comments but it bares repeating that for those that think Tesla is losing money, is "playing with the books", or just simply needing ZEV credits and government help to survive. If they were so desperate for money why would they go out of their way to play it fair with China? No one would have said they were doing anything unfair by jacking up their prices. It's what all the other manufacturers do and have done. Tesla is doing just fine and have so far exceeded every sales goal and production goal. Tesla is still production constrained. They still can't make as many cars as they can sell. In those situations you can usually get away with jacking up your prices. Tesla hasn't done that either. They've stuck to their 25% gross profit and adjusted as necessary to keep it there. They should have hit it last quarter and in two weeks we will all find out if they succeeded. Tesla isn't perfect but they are trying very hard to do things right. Good luck to them and I can't wait until I can buy one. I have never had a thing for cars and have always thought of them as tools to get me from one place to another. I've always bought an inexpensive car that gets reasonable mileage and driven them as long as I can. Buying the Tesla, I will be spending 5 times more than any other car I have ever bought and I will be proud to show it off and talk about it. It is revolutionary and it will make me happy to have bought what will one day be a piece of car history.
        m_2012
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        Well said. I agree. I am a little fish investor and honestly proud of what Tesla has done even in the face of people trying their best to make them fail. My goal is either a return lease Model S or try to wait until GenIII. Either way I will have one. I can't wait, and this is coming from a long time car guy.
      SeadogMillionaire
      • 11 Months Ago
      Somewhat explains why Tesla's are so expensive. Elon Musk was obviously anticipating massive exports to China, so he likely tacked on 20 - 30 thousand on the cars sold in America, to subsidize the cost in China. Good business move.
        Grendal
        • 11 Months Ago
        @SeadogMillionaire
        Absurd and asinine comment. As a publically traded company their books are open. They have the same profit margin for the US and China. That's what is so controversial. Tesla could have milked the Chinese as everyone else does but chose not to.
          sirvixisvexed
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Grendal
          Everyone milks the Chinese? Their massive import taxes seems to show the opposite!
        m_2012
        • 11 Months Ago
        @SeadogMillionaire
        Not even close on any level. They are expensive because that's what it costs to develop cars and make a business, especially in an environment that is against them. Corporations are spending millions, maybe billions, trying to take Tesla down. The dealers association is buying politicians and lawyers left and right. They are selling them for what it takes to make the business survive and the market is supporting that price quite well and have money for future development. GM put money on the hoods in leiu of product development. That is why they fell so far behind. Fisker didn't charge enough but the market wasn't willing to bear anymore, or even what they were trying to charge.
    • Load More Comments