Over the weekend, Tesla faced backlash from hundreds of its customers in China who had gathered at the company’s showrooms and distribution centres to protest sudden price cuts and demand compensation.
On Saturday, around 200 buyers of the Model Y and Model 3 gathered at a delivery centre in Shanghai to express their frustration with the automaker’s decision to reduce prices for the second time in three months. Many of the protesters said they had believed that the prices they paid late last year would not be cut as deeply or as abruptly as they were, and had also been motivated to finalise their purchases due to the scheduled expiration of a government subsidy at the end of 2022. Tesla’s electric vehicle prices in China are now between 13% and 24% lower than they were in September.
Twitter user, Anas Alhajji, was just one of the users posting videos of the protests to social media. He wrote:
“Protesters who bought Teslas stormed a Tesla store in China after price cuts demanding a refund of the price difference. Do you think they have the right to be refunded the price difference? Or just those who have not received their cars yet?”
Tesla runs on “transparent pricing” and although it is normal for car manufacturers to reduce prices or have deals when they need a spike in sales, some of those who bought the cars at the higher price have said: “It may be a normal business practice, but this is not how a responsible enterprise should behave.”
During a meeting facilitated by police, Tesla staff reportedly met with the assembled protesters and agreed to respond to their list of demands, which included an apology and compensation or credits, by Tuesday. Protests are not uncommon in China, but authorities have been on high alert following recent widespread protests against COVID-19 restrictions.