Tesla is officially launching in Thailand in an attempt to compete with BYD China. “Build Your Dreams” (BYD) manufactures electric vehicles and is one of the biggest competitors to Tesla in Southeast Asia.
The Southeast Asia market has more than 600 million consumers, which is why car manufacturers have been targeting the region in order to increase sales.
Besides Tesla and BYD, Nissan Motors Co. and Toyota are also vying for a slice of Southeast Asia, or more specifically, the Thailand market. Even Mercedes is expected to announce sales of its EQS450+ in the country soon.
Model 3 will be sold in Long Range and Performance variants, while Model Y is supposed to feature three different versions “to meet the specific demands of the EV lifestyle for every Thai driver,” the company said.
Tesla is launching sales in Thailand by offering its popular Model 3 and Model Y cars at incredibly competitive prices. Tesla stated that prices will range from 1.76 million Thai baht-2.5 million baht ($50,000-$71,000). The comparatively low prices of the two models in Thailand have taken the customers there, and competitors, by complete surprise.
“The price is much lower than we expected. As far as the after-sale service concerns, I’m not worried too much about that as the EV car parts are not very complicated compared to combustible engine cars,” said Wit Wongngamdee, who attended the launch with his wife and said he was planning to order one of the models.
Apichat Prasitnarit, another potential buyer, said he was surprised by the price.
“At the same time, other countries’ brands are launching their cars here, so we have choices and that’s great for consumers,” he said.
Tesla will enable over-the-air (OTA) software updates and include the latest satellite navigation systems in the vehicles.
According to The Diplomat, “Tesla said it will open its first Service Center and Supercharger station in Thailand by March and plans to have at least 10 set up in the country in 2023.”
“It’s unbelievable that Tesla announced the entry price (of its cheapest model) at 1.7 million Thai baht,” said Nithi Thuamprathom, an auto expert for Auto Life Thailand. “That’s the price of Japanese cars with combustible engines or hybrid engines. This will create such a big change in the market.”
Thailand relies mostly on gasoline, diesel and LPG-fueled vehicles, so it remains to be seen how Tesla and other EV manufacturers will do in this new market.