- Sales of SAIC Motor’s budget EV were almost double that of Tesla’s Model 3 in China in January, the BBC reported.
- The four-seat Hong Guang Mini has top speeds of 62 mph and costs less than $4,500.
- China, the world’s largest car market, is seen as crucial to Tesla’s future.
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State-owned Chinese automaker SAIC Motor is reportedly massively outselling Tesla in the country with its electric vehicles that sell for just 28,800 yen ($4,465).
SAIC Motor sold 25,778 Hong Guang Minis in China in January, compared to 13,843 sales of Tesla’s Model 3, the BBC reported, citing data from the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).
China, which is the world’s largest car market and accounts for more than a fifth of Tesla’s revenue, is ramping up its efforts to boost electric vehicle sales as it tackles the country’s pollution problem.
The four-seat Hong Guang Mini, which has top speeds of 62 mph and an estimated cruising range of 120 miles, is being made as a joint venture between SAIC Motor, Liuzhou Wuling Motors, and General Motors.
Its sales could make it the second-best-selling electric car in the world after Tesla’s Model 3, the BBC reported.
The cheapest version of Tesla’s Model 3 in China costs more than eight times than the Hong Guang Mini’s entry-level model.
The company is trying to make a more affordable electric car.
In September, CEO Elon Musk said the company would make a $25,000 “fully autonomous” electric car in three years.
Tesla started deliveries of its Shanghai-made Model Ys in January after reducing the pre-order price by 30%.
The Hong Guang Mini isn’t Tesla’s only rival in China.
As demand for electric vehicles has grown in the country, thanks in part to generous government subsidies, Chinese start-ups Nio, Li Auto, and Xpeng all announced surging sales in 2020.
Tesla has also come under scrutiny from Beijing. Government officials met company representatives in February after reports about battery fires, unexpected acceleration, and failures in software updates.
Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives has said Tesla could sell 1 million vehicles in China in 2022 because of “eye popping demand” in the country, which could account for 40% of its global sales.
The country is the “heart and lungs” of Tesla’s demand growth, he added.