A Tesla store in Beijing in March Photo: IC

A salesperson at a Tesla store in Beijing has confirmed media reports that the US-based electric carmaker may announce an across-the-board price hike in China from early September.

It would be the fourth price adjustment within the year. 

Experts noted that raising prices could be a response to the yuan’s recent depreciation, as well as a tactic to boost sales ahead of any price hike since Tesla has encountered a difficult phase of making profits.

“It is confirmed that Tesla will raise prices from September,” the salesperson surnamed Yin told the Global Times on Thursday. 

The Model 3, Tesla’s economy version, is now priced at 355,900 yuan ($50,584) for orders in China, according to Tesla’s official website.

Customers can pay a deposit of 20,000 yuan to book a Model 3, which could be refunded anytime before delivery, read the website.

The salesperson said there is also an option under which customers can pay a deposit and lock in a vehicle’s price as of the deposit date — but that option may be dropped from early September as well.

July and August are slack seasons for China’s automobile industry, and  circulating information that prices may increase soon could boost current sales, Feng Shiming, a veteran car industry analyst, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The price hike may affect sales in September, but that month tends to be a peak season so the impact will be blunted, Feng noted.

However, some people have told the Global Times they will postpone their purchase plans.

“These price changes worry me, and I will wait until the domestically made Model 3 comes onto the market and then decide,” a Beijing-based customer surnamed Chi, told the Global Times on Thursday.

“We were going to buy a Model 3 if there was a further price cut,” another customer surnamed Shi told the Global Times. “We’d have to cancel the plan if the price goes up.”

Tesla has adjusted prices in China three times within the year. It reduced the price of the Model 3 in July, and the price of the Model 3 rear-wheel drive standard range dropped from 377,000 yuan to 355,900 yuan. 

The salesperson said that the adjustments were also brought about by the China-US trade war, which caused tariff changes.

Feng said it’s a normal pricing strategy for the company to change prices depending on the situation.