(Yicai Global) Feb. 1 -- Tesla has added a cheaper variant of its Model 3 electric car to the Chinese mainland as it eyes more regular profitability.
Mainland shoppers can purchase the vehicle online or at Tesla dealerships, the California-based firm said in a statement today. The car will sell for CNY433,000 (USD64,400) and up, less than the Performance and all-wheel-drive models that were unveiled early last month from CNY560,000 and CNY499,000.
Tesla earned USD140 million on revenue of USD7.2 billion in the fourth quarter, the first time it had been in the black for two straight quarters since 2010, according to the financial report it published yesterday.
Chief Executive Elon Musk has already admitted that in order to turn profit more frequently, the firm needs to reduce the cost of its Model 3 -- its first attempt at a cost-effective electric car to crack the mass market. He hopes the car will sell for just USD35,000 in the United States once production hits full swing, but the China price tag was much higher than expected and struggled to spark interest in the world's largest auto market.
China's auto sector declined for the first time in over two decades last year, and Musk is eager to get Tesla's Shanghai Gigafactory up and running as soon as possible in order to skip import taxes and reduce the price of a Model 3 in China. The firm broke ground on the plant last month and hopes to have it running by year-end, making 3,000 models a week then ramping up production to over 40,000 units a month.
Tesla's charging network now covers 170 cities on the Chinese mainland, including 1,500 super charging stations and 1,850 destination charging points, today's statement added.
Editor: James Boynton