Tesla has made significant inroads into the Japanese electric vehicle (EV) market since it slashed its prices last month, according to a Bloomberg report.
The US automaker cut the price of its long range Model 3 battery powered sedan by 24% to YPJ4.99m (US$46,600) last month, ahead of switching imports from the US to China.
The price cut has prompted a significant rise in local buying interest with delivery times having doubled to 12-16 weeks and with the waiting list for test drives also having increased significantly.
The price cuts have brought the car into contention for many more potential buyers and sales are expected to surge this year as a result, from around 2,000 units or so in 2020.
Takeshi Miyao, an analyst at the Tokyo-based Carnorama consulting firm, told reporters “this proves that EVs will sell if they are cheaper”.
The Japanese government recently announced plans to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine cars by the mid-2030s and is offering generous subsidies, including cash rebates, to help promote EV sales.
With its new lower cost cars sourced from its Shanghai plant, which began commercial production just over a year ago, Tesla will provide tough competition for local carmakers in Japan.
Honda and Mazda both began selling EVs last year in the JPY4.5m price range, but with much shorter driving ranges than the Tesla Model 3. Nissan plans to start selling its Ariya battery powered crossover SUV later this year.