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Tesla announces “zero-interest loans” on the Model S in China for a limited time

Tesla China

Tesla announced today a special limited time offer to get a zero-interest loan for the higher-end versions of the Model S in China. The automaker is making the offer in partnership with the China Merchants Bank and is calling it a “New Year gift” since it coincides with the Chinese New Year, which started last week.

Other than on display cars and loaners, Tesla rarely offers special discounts on its vehicles, but yet it’s the second time that Chinese customers have received a special offer from the automaker. In December last year, Tesla offered a special discount of up to 80,000 Yuan ($12,500 US) with trade-ins for a limited time.

It could be explained by the fact that Tesla’s sales have been weaker than anticipated in the country since its introduction two years ago. The automaker delivered 3,025 Model S’s in mainland China throughout the first 9 months of 2015. The results are quite disappointing, especially when comparing them to Hong Kong’s, which is a much smaller market, and yet Tesla delivered 2,221 Model S’s in the city last year.

In the past, Tesla has attributed the weakness in sales in the country to misconceptions about charging. To remedy the situation, the company has installed now more than 340 Superchargers and 1,600 destination chargers across the mainland.

Tesla was already offering its “Resale Value Guarantee” program in China.  The Model S owners participating in this program can sell their car to Tesla during the period between 36 months to 39 months of the ownership for 50% of the base price of the Model S at the time of the purchase, plus 43% of the original purchase price for all options on the car. It’s an interesting program to spur confidence in a relatively new product, and especially interesting in China where car loans are a relatively new concept.

Under the new offer, which Tesla announced on a blog post on its Chinese website, customers can get a “12-month zero-interest loan” through the China Merchants Bank for a Tesla Model S 90D or P90D, or “36-month ultra low-interest loan”. The offer is available until March 31st, which happens to be the end of the quarter and the launch of the Model 3.

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