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Tesla raises prices by 20% in China as tariffs take effect

First signs of trade war impact on consumers

A Tesla car charges at a charging station in Beijing.   © Reuters

LOUISVILLE, U.S. -- Tesla has raised the retail prices of its electric cars in China, local media reported on Sunday, in apparent response to Beijing's retaliatory tariffs on automobiles imported from the U.S.

The move, likely aimed at passing on the impact of higher duties to consumers, is seen as one of the first knock-on effects of the escalating trade war between the world's two largest economies.

The Chinese government imposed the duties immediately after a tariff package introduced by the U.S. came into effect on Friday. Washington's measures were brought in in response to alleged Chinese violations of the intellectual property rights of American companies.

The U.S. automaker's website shows the prices of the Model S sedan and the Model X SUV in China have been raised by about 20% each. The lowest-priced configuration of the Model S, for example, was hiked to about 840,000 yuan ($127,000) from 710,000 yuan ($107,000).

The Chinese market represented about 15% of Tesla's global electric car sales in 2017, totaling 103,000 vehicles.

Tesla assembles all of its completed cars in California. The company declined to comment when asked about the price hike and its potential impact on sales.

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