Chinese rivals to challenge Tesla

Chinese start-ups are gearing up to challenge Tesla’s mass-market Model 3 sedan.

Companies such as Future Mobility, WM Motor and Singulato Motors will all have the advantage of producing cars locally, giving them a potential price advantage over the Tesla, which could retail in China for near $45,000.

Tesla’s Model 3 is clearly the car to beat, but the founders and CEOs of Future Mobility, WM Motor and Singulato expect their first launches to be priced at around $43,500.

Daniel Kirchert, president and co-founder of Future Mobility, said his company plans to launch three models. The first, a premium midsize crossover sport-utility vehicle (SUV), will arrive ‘before 2020’, followed within three years by a sedan and a seven-seater multi-purpose vehicle (MPV).

Daniel said, ‘It’s a bit more than $40,000, a very competitive price positioning because Tesla customers buying the Model 3 in China would have to shoulder the cost of a 25% import tariff on the car. We will be competitive because we produce the car locally.’

As well as making its car in China, at a planned assembly plant in Nanjing, Future Mobility plans to make the SUV bigger than the Model 3 and more luxurious.

Meanwhile, Singulato Motors unveiled its first mass-production car, also a crossover SUV, priced below $40,000, while WM Motor plans to launch its first car, an electric plug-in crossover SUV, in the second half of 2018.

The car will be the first of three electric vehicles the Shanghai-based firm plans to launch by 2020, by which time Shen says WM Motor should be selling around 100,000 cars a year.