Scavengers are “eyeing” Tesla.
Since the localization of the Model 3 in 2020, Tesla has made several price adjustments, mostly price cuts, and has often encountered complaints and even rights protection. Potential Tesla customers seem to be accustomed to these, but they still often struggle with the question, should they buy early and enjoy early, or is it cheaper to wait?
A piece of news broke their psychological expectations. In March 2022, Tesla raised prices three times in a row within 8 days, ranging from 30,000 to 40,000 yuan, which left many potential buyers overwhelmed.
At the same time, there is a group of people quietly active like sharks smelling blood. They start to raise prices from the whole country to recover the orders before Tesla’s price increase, and then sell them to buyers at a lower price than the official website, earning the difference in the middle. They are what people call “scalpers”.
If you search for the keyword “order transfer” on a second-hand trading platform, the most results you can get are Tesla. In addition, brands such as Xiaopeng, Ideal, BYD, and even Wuling Hongguang MINIEV can also search for relevant information on order transfer. The resale price ranges from a few thousand yuan to tens of thousands of yuan.
This is not the first time. In the gap of price fluctuations, the story of Tesla and “scalpers” has been told for many years.
This article hopes to sort out a question: It is generally believed that “scalpers” can make a lot of money by placing orders, but what is the real situation? As an industry, what is the reason for the existence of “scalpers”? How long will it last?
“Geek Park” had previously contacted a number of “scalpers” who were engaged in order transfer, and found that most of them were from used car companies, and a few were individual practitioners. From the brand point of view, the scalpers love Tesla the most, because Tesla, which has raised prices many times, is the most profitable and the most popular.
Li Fei is a “scalper”. Just a few days ago, he just picked up a white Model 3 from Beijing and returned to Shandong. His “official” job is a second-hand car dealer, but in addition to running the second-hand fuel vehicle business, he often collects Tesla transfer orders on major second-hand platforms. During the conversation, he boastfully told “Geek Park”, “Currently, there are more than a dozen new Tesla cars in our store. It is no exaggeration to say that this is even more expensive than many Tesla delivery centers. many.”
Although they are all Tesla orders, Li Fei does not recall all of them. The Model 3 and Model Y Standard Edition orders were the most sought-after before the price increase. Generally, Model 3 can increase the price by 15,000 yuan, and the price increase of Model Y can be slightly less, which can reach 8,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan. The difference exists because the Model 3 is cheaper, has more customers, and has a faster sales turnaround.
In terms of rules, Tesla does not officially support order transfer (unless it is an immediate family relationship). So how did they close the deal?
Wang Lin, who has just completed an order transfer, said, “The so-called order transfer is essentially a used car transaction.” There are two important nodes here: one is when the seller wants to tell Tesla in the delivery group of Tesla. The Tesla delivery specialist will pick up the car on behalf of the buyer; the second node is to pick up the car on-site at the delivery center. It is best for the seller and the buyer to be present at the same time. The buyer will pay the balance, and then the seller will cooperate with the license plate and transfer. The whole process takes about 1 to 3 days.
It has been nearly 10 years since Tesla entered China. Why did “scalpers” suddenly appear in large numbers this year? Li Fei believes that the order transfer business can exist, “some of which are due to the long period of car pickup, but the main reason is that Tesla has increased prices, and it has increased by 30,000 to 40,000 yuan, and the space is large enough.”
It is understood that after the recent price increases, the current price of the Model 3 standard version is 279,900 yuan, a difference of 44,000 yuan compared with the original 235,900 yuan; the price of the Model Y standard version is also from before the price increase. 276,000 yuan, up from the current 316,900 yuan, an increase of 40,900 yuan.
High-frequency and substantial price increases have provided “scalpers” with ample room to operate. “To put it bluntly, this is a win-win situation for the three companies. We have made money with the buyer, and the buyer has saved money.” To translate it, the seller only received a deposit of 1,000 yuan and received a lot of “financial management income”. , buyers can buy new cars at a lower price than the official website, and scalpers earn the difference in the middle.
A “scalper” in Wuhan said that he had just increased the price by 10,000 yuan two weeks ago, bought a brand-new model 3 standard version, and then sold it for 263,000 yuan, which was nearly 17,000 yuan lower than the official website price. . As soon as the news was sent to the circle of friends, the car was instantly killed. Next, he is ready to raise the offer again.
Tesla Model 3
Order transfer has become a business, even for Li Fei, who specializes in new energy used car transactions. “This business has been around since the beginning of March, and no one expected that Tesla would suddenly raise prices.” Therefore, the orders on their hands were not hoarded by themselves, but purchased from all over the country.
“This business (order transfer) is actually a gamble,” because Tesla adjusts prices very frequently, and there are no signs of price adjustments. In fact, consumers have already become accustomed to Tesla’s price adjustment behavior. It’s just that compared to price increases, past Tesla price cuts will come more frequently. According to statistics, in 2020, Tesla made a total of 5 price adjustments for the domestic Model 3, all of which were price cuts. Since 2021, Tesla has made nearly 10 price adjustments in the Chinese market, of which it only started to increase prices in the second half of last year.
In the imagination of many people, transferring orders seems to be a risk-free, high-profit business. But Li Fei said that was not the case. In fact, the profit of monopolizing Tesla orders is not particularly high, and it is not even as good as the traditional fuel vehicle used car business. Many times, they are optimistic about the future development of new energy before they get involved in this business.
“History of Enmity”
This is not the first time Tesla has encountered “scalpers”.
Let’s go back to the Boao Forum for Asia 8 years ago (2015). At the time, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in an interview that speculators and “scalpers” created the illusion of extremely high market demand. When speculators canceled orders, inventories increased. “China is the only market in the world where Tesla has excess inventory. We are still digesting inventory.”
What he means by these words is that Tesla has been placed by a “scalper”.
In 2013, Tesla has just entered the Chinese market, and it has attracted much attention because of the halo of “future technology”. At the handover ceremony of the hotly searched new car, many bigwigs in the technology circle gathered, including Li Xiang, the founder of Lixiang Auto.
Tesla, as a “new car species”, was considered strange at the time. It can be said that this keyword itself is a marketing tool. Many early car owners rented their Teslas to real estate developers to participate in various “tours”. The appearance fee was often 100,000 yuan, and the income of several events even exceeded the price of the car itself. According to a real estate person who organized similar events, Tesla’s exhibition was particularly effective, attracting 2 to 3 times the natural flow of people than before.
Tesla at the auto show
These signs made Tesla believe that China will become their most important overseas market, and they immediately began to increase the Chinese market. It is understood that in 2014 Tesla’s US headquarters, the sales task to China is 5,000 vehicles.
However, freshness comes and goes quickly. Consumers quickly discovered Tesla’s many problems: few charging piles, various software failures, and shortened cruising range in winter… After the drawbacks of pure electric vehicles were gradually revealed, fewer people bought them. Many Tesla orders were abandoned as a result, and there was a scene from Musk at the Boao Forum for Asia.
According to the China Imported Car Database, in 2014, the annual customs import volume of Tesla was 4,800, and by the end of 2014, the national registration volume was only 2,499. This also means that nearly half of Tesla’s vehicles (2,301) are backlogged in the warehouse.
Although Tesla has encountered “scalpers” twice, the groups behind it are actually different. If it is said that the “scalpers” in 2022 are mainly composed of domestic used car dealers, the one in 2015 will be parallel import car dealers. Instead of placing orders through Tesla’s directly-operated stores in China, they buy cars directly from foreign dealers and then import them into China for sale. According to the “Chengdu Business Daily”, at that time, many dealers of US-standard cars and parallel imported cars had orders for 5 to 8 cars, and the final cancellation volume was about 60%.
As the society began to pay attention to the chaos of “scalpers” orders, Tesla began to rectify. It is understood that Tesla has issued a non-resale commitment letter, requiring users who have placed one or more cumulative orders to purchase multiple Tesla vehicles to promise that they will not transfer the vehicle to any third party within one year after picking up the vehicle. Or the actual transfer, the offender will pay 20% of the billing price of each defaulted vehicle, otherwise Tesla has the right to restrict the change of the bound account of the defaulted vehicle and services such as supercharging.
However, these measures are more like a superficial article. Tesla has no motivation and no ability to completely eliminate scalper orders. As long as Tesla’s price hikes are big enough, scalpers won’t disappear.
Will Tesla still raise prices?
In the long run, Tesla is definitely going to cut prices. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at the 2021 annual shareholder meeting, “Our goal is to make the price of the car as cheap as possible. But our supply chain is under huge cost pressure, so we have to temporarily increase the price of the car. But this is only temporarily. Yes, we want to lower the price of cars over time and make them cheaper.”
That said, in the short term, Tesla faces a lot of variables. Among them, the sharp rise in raw material prices is a problem that Tesla must face. The latest data shows that the spot price of domestic battery-grade lithium carbonate is 498,000 yuan / ton, an increase of nearly 10 times compared with the same period last year; the Shanghai nickel price industry reached 223,200 yuan / ton, an increase of 82% year-on-year.
These all increase the cost of new energy vehicles such as Tesla. According to the research report of Tianfeng Securities, when the nickel price is 50,000 US dollars / ton, the cost of a Tesla Model 3 (76.8 kWh) will increase by 10,500 yuan; if the nickel price reaches 100,000 US dollars / ton, the Model 3 The cost of a bicycle rose by nearly RMB 28,000.
This even forces Tesla to get involved in the field of raw material mining. On April 9, Musk wrote on Twitter, “Lithium prices have reached crazy levels. Unless it chooses to increase procurement costs, Tesla may have to go directly into mining and refining on a large scale. In fact, lithium itself does not There is a shortage, it’s almost everywhere on the planet, it’s just being mined and refined very slowly.”
In addition, the continuous outbreak of the epidemic has also disrupted Tesla’s production and delivery plans. It is understood that on March 16 and 17, Tesla suspended production for two days due to the impact of the epidemic prevention policy; on March 28, when the Shanghai epidemic intensified, Tesla once again suspended the production of the Shanghai Gigafactory. At present, there is no news of a full resumption of production.
Future price cuts and short-term variables make Li Fei extra cautious. “Currently, the recalled orders are mainly Model 3 and Model Y before the price increase last year. The quantity of this batch of orders is very limited, if you take one, you will lose one. Oil and water.” If there are no orders in the future, he plans to continue the new energy used car business.
At the same time, there is a very important point that Tesla is about to usher in a facelift. “It is reported that during the May Day, Tesla will remodel the Model 3 and Model Y.” In fact, at the beginning of this year, some industry insiders said that Tesla will launch a new AMD in the second quarter. Chip, lithium-ion battery 12V battery, wiper heating function.
These will seriously affect the business of scalpers. “If the remodel may involve hardware such as chips and batteries, then 100% of the cars in our hands will be affected. Therefore, the cars we collect now must be thrown out before May 1st, otherwise we may lose money. “According to Li Fei’s estimation, it will take about a week for the more than a dozen new cars in the store to be completely sold out.
The story of scalpers and Tesla continues, and the legend of “financial products” has been spread all the time. The only constant behind it is whether Tesla can meet the needs of car owners. Maybe the scalpers will die at some point, but given the slightest chance, they’ll make a comeback.
(At the request of the interviewee, Li Fei and Wang Lin are pseudonyms)
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