China is the world’s largest auto market, both in demand and supply. It is then no surprise that automakers such as Tesla, as well as its rivals, are doing what they can to ensure that they attract the most number of consumers as possible. Among the strategies being adopted by automakers are aggressive price cuts, which Tesla implemented in January.
As per a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, carmakers and dealerships in China are slashing prices amidst the automotive sector’s continued slump in the country. This slump has affected veteran carmakers, such as Ford and Volkswagen, which rolled out promotions for its EV lineup, and General Motors, which has started reducing the prices of its combustion-powered vehicles.
The Chinese auto market is extremely competitive. Even Tesla, which commands the EV industry in the United States by a wide margin, has found itself amidst steep competition against local Chinese automakers such as BYD. Even today, Tesla China’s weekly insurance registrations are below those of BYD, whose NEV sales — which include hybrid vehicles — eclipse the American EV maker. Amidst this environment, legacy automakers have initiated efforts to drive demand.
As per online sales promotions, Ford is offering a discount of approximately $6,000 on its Mustang Mach-E until the end of April. The standard variant of the battery-powered SUV can be purchased for as low as $31,000. This pricing strategy could be a response to the vehicle’s sales figures. In February, only 84 Mustang Mach-Es were sold in China, a substantial decline from the approximately 1,500 units that were sold in December, as per industry data.
A Ford spokesperson has noted that the promotion was a form of stock clearance. A Volkswagen spokesperson, on the other hand, stated that the company is providing temporary promotions due to factors such as a general reluctance among car buyers, new emissions rules in the country, and discounts rolled out by the company’s rivals in the market.
Volkswagen is in the same boat. The company’s joint venture with the Shanghai government stated that it would lower the prices of 20 gas-powered and electric models until the end of April, with discounts ranging from approximately $2,200 to $7,300 per vehicle. The German automaker had lowered the price of its electric ID series by almost $6,000, as per a social media post earlier this month by the automaker’s joint venture with state-owned FAW Group.
General Motors, for its part, has rolled out discounts for its combustion-powered vehicle lineup. Several Cadillac dealerships have launched temporary discounts of around 25% on the CT5 sedan, a combustion-powered car. As per industry data, General Motors’ joint venture sold almost 2,200 units of the model in China last month. However, GM’s brands have lost market share in the country in recent years.
Since implementing incentives for buyers in 2010, China has become the largest market for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids worldwide. Despite a 23% increase in sales of these vehicles over the last two months compared to a year earlier, purchases of vehicles with internal combustion engines have seen a decrease of almost 30%, resulting in an overall decline in sales.
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