Chinese consumers curb their enthusiasm for Tesla's new Model Y

By Wang Yi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/17 18:38:40

The new Tesla Model Y sits on display during an unveiling event in Hawthorne, California on Thursday(US time). Photo: VCG

Tesla's Chinese fans don't seem too thrilled with the Model Y, the newest addition to the US-based electric vehicle producer's "S3XY" range, saying it's like Apple's iPhone XS - much ado about nothing.

Industry analysts said that the fans' disappointment is not hard to understand, because compared with previous models, the Model Y is mediocre.

The Model Y, a compact sport utility vehicle that can carry seven people, was unveiled by CEO Elon Musk at a live-streamed event in Los Angeles on Thursday (US time).

The $47,000 Model Y with better battery capacity is planned to come out of assembly line by the fall of 2020, and the $39,000 Model Y with standard battery capacity is planned to come in 2021, according to Tesla's official website.

From its appearance to its performance parameters, compared with the Model 3, the new Model Y doesn't offer much to look forward to, some Chinese consumers said.

The Model Y is more like a slightly upgraded Model 3. The new car has no revolutionary design or technological changes, which has led many people to wonder whether Tesla is going downhill like Apple, a staff member surnamed Chen in Beijing told the Global Times on Sunday,

"I don't think the Model Y makes Tesla any sexier," Chen said. "The Model 3 looks much better than the Model Y."

During the launch event, which for the first time didn't mention any issues related to design, security, space, autopilot or performance, Musk admitted that he hoped consumers would not confuse the Model Y with the similar Model 3.

"This doesn't mean that Musk is giving up on innovation, but the biggest problem on his desk is cost control," Wu Shuocheng, a Shanghai-based independent auto analyst, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"Tesla has used 76 percent of the parts in the Model Y over again in the Model 3, which shows that it aims to control costs, Wu said. "Only if the company balances innovation and cost management well, can it achieve sustainable success."

The Model Y in the Chinese market will start at 435,000 yuan ($64,800). The Model Y is 10 percent larger and 10 percent more expensive than the Model 3. Also, its battery range is more limited than the Model 3 because the vehicle itself weighs more, reported on Friday.

Although Musk announced during the launch event that Tesla's production capacity will expand after its Shanghai factory starts production this year, analysts said that delivery delays are still possible.

The Model Y is set to come to market as early as the fall of 2020. But by then, global auto giants like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi, as well as local brands including Nio, Xiaopeng Motors and WM, will be rolling out their own products. Competition will be fairly fierce, reported the International Financial News on Saturday.

The Model Y's performance in the China market largely depends on the speed and quality of traditional auto giants. Compared with them, Tesla's position is relatively weak, Wu added.

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