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Tesla Raises Prices in China as Trade Tensions Weigh on Currency

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Tesla Raises Prices in China as Trade Tensions Weigh on Currency

(Bloomberg) -- Tesla Inc. raised car prices in China, responding to trade tensions that weigh on the country’s currency and have led to oscillating import tariffs on vehicles.

The price of a basic level imported Model 3 sedan went up more than 2% to 363,900 yuan ($50,900), Tesla’s website showed Friday. Prices for basic level Model S sedans and Model X sport utility vehicles increased by a similar percentage, to 793,900 yuan and 809,900 yuan, respectively.

Tesla is among automakers most affected by the U.S.-China trade tensions, because it has no local production yet and therefore gets directly hit by any increases in tariffs. China threatened last week to increase duties on U.S.-made cars to as high as 50% in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s latest planned levies on Chinese goods.

A Tesla spokesperson in China declined to elaborate on the price change, referring to information available on the company’s website.

Tesla is constructing a plant in China, an increasingly important market for the loss-making company as incentives for electric vehicles in the U.S. wane. Tesla plans to start producing cars at the factory near Shanghai, Tesla’s first outside of the U.S., by the end of 2019.

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk was in China this week, with his trip including a visit to the new Tesla site. He also made an appearance at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai on Thursday.

At the event, Musk said he has never seen anything getting built as fast as the Tesla facility, saying he is “astounded” by the progress at the site. “I really think China’s the future. It’s very impressive,” he said.

A decline in the yuan reduces the value of any earnings that Tesla brings back from China and converts to dollars. Earlier this week, the Chinese currency fell to an 11-year low against the dollar.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Chunying Zhang in Shanghai at czhang714@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net, Ville Heiskanen

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