FILE PHOTO: A Tesla Model 3 car is displayed during a media preview at the Auto China 2018 motor show in Beijing, China April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: A Tesla Model 3 car is displayed during a media preview at the Auto China 2018 motor show in Beijing, China April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

Beijing/Shanghai — US electric vehicle maker Tesla said it would start taking orders in China on Friday for a lower-priced version of its Model 3 car, as it seeks to accelerate China sales hit by trade friction between Washington and Beijing.

The California-based firm said in a statement that Chinese customers would be allowed to place orders for a long-range, rear-wheel-drive Model 3 variant, the price of which would start at 433,000 yuan ($64,300.56).

Previously, the starting price for a Model 3 in China was 499,000 yuan, for an all-wheel-drive long range version. Tesla said in January that it planned to start delivering Model 3 cars to customers in China in March.

Tesla, which is building a factory to produce Model 3 vehicles in Shanghai, is looking to minimise the impact of a trade war which has so far forced it adjust prices of its US-made cars in China.

Keeping prices in check will also help Tesla fend off competition from a swathe of domestic electric vehicle startups such as Nio, Byton and XPeng Motors.

Reuters