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Model S goes on sale in China for $121K, but Tesla says it's leaving money on the table

Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
January 23, 2014
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About a year after announcing plans to open a retail location in China, Tesla is releasing its Model S sedan there. Coming in at 734,000 CNY or about $121,000 US, it carries a premium over the $81,070 US base price (without incentives), but Tesla believes it could've gone higher -- for comparison, the BMW 650 has an $87K MSRP in the US, but costs around $326,000 in China. Claiming competitors ratchet up their price tags to as much as twice the price just to increase profits, Tesla's math starts with the same initial price before adding "unavoidable" shipping & handling, taxes and VAT -- access to the Supercharger network it's building across China comes at no additional cost. Tesla says it's risking the possibility buyers view its price as a signal of lower quality, but it's committed to "doing the right thing." Whatever the reasoning, we're sure Chinese buyers who've laid down up to $40K for a Model S or Model X pre-order appreciate the restraint.

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