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US carmaker Tesla has hiked prices on itsModel X and S cars by about 20 per cent in China, becoming the first carmakerto raise prices in the world’s largest automotive market in response to a US-Chinatrade war.


The move is also the first indication of howmuch higher Chinese tariffs on certain US imports will flow through to showroomfloors, with other carmakers likely to follow suit or shift a greater portionof production to China.


The tariffs will dent margins at Tesla andother automakers who make cars in the United States and ship to China, as theyhave been increasingly betting on the world’s largest car market to boostprofits.


“Raising the prices is going to hurt sales,but money-losing Tesla has to raise prices because they can’t afford to fullyabsorb the higher costs of the tariffs,” CFRA research analyst Efraim Levysaid.

“提高价格会影响销售,但亏损的特斯拉必须提高价格,因为他们承受不起更高的关税成本,“CFRA研究分析员埃夫拉伊姆. 利维说。

“Considering they claim to becapacity-constrained, they should be able to shift sales elsewhere.”


For Tesla especially, rapidly burning cash andstruggling to turn a profit, China is key. Sales in the country accounted forabout 17 per cent of its revenue last year.


In May, it slashed up to US$14,000(S$18,964) off its Model X in China after Beijing announced major tariffcuts for imported automobiles, but the new tariffs have now erased that.


A basic Model S sedan now costs about 849,900yuan (S$174,272) up from 710,579 yuan in May, while a Model X sport-utilityvehicle costs about 927,200 yuan now, versus 775,579 yuan in May, according toits website.


China slapped retaliatory tariffs on US carimports in response to US President Donald Trump’s move to impose tariffs onUS$34 billion worth of Chinese goods.


China’s tariffs are expected to hurtautomakers as well as companies that make industrial components in the UnitedStates, and produce soybean, whisky and other agricultural produce.


Tesla’s price increases come as it plans tobuild a factory in Shanghai to serve the Chinese market. The company ships morethan 15,000 cars a year to China.


Chief Executive Elon Musk is expected to visitShanghai on Tuesday (July 10), Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar withthe plans. Mr Musk will also visit Beijing on Wednesday and Thursday, Bloombergsaid, quoting one of the sources.
A Tesla spokesman did not respond to a requestfor comment.


German luxury automaker BMW, which also makescars in the United States to sell in China, has also flagged that it will raiseprices on vehicles it makes in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It said last Fridaythat it was unable to “completely absorb” the new tariffs.


Daimler, another German automaker whichimports US-produced cars into China, said in a statement over the weekend thatit “aims to maintain a competitive position” in China.


Ford Motor said last Thursday it would nothike prices on its imported cars for now, crimping its profit margins.