Elon Musk’s Tesla adds ‘Model Y’ SUV to line-up

Tesla introduced a new electric sports utility vehicle slightly bigger and more expensive than its Model 3, pitched as an electric car for the masses. (AFP)
Updated 15 March 2019

Elon Musk’s Tesla adds ‘Model Y’ SUV to line-up

  • The all-electric Model Y has a starting price of $39,000 for a version with a 230-mile (370-kilometer) range
  • Musk said the Model Y has “the functionality of an SUV but it will ride like a sports car”

HAWTHORNE, United States: Tesla introduced a new electric sports utility vehicle slightly bigger and more expensive than its Model 3, pitched as an electric car for the masses.
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk showed off the “Model Y” late Thursday at the company’s design studio in the southern California city of Hawthorne, and the company began taking orders online.
The all-electric Model Y has a starting price of $39,000 for a version with a 230-mile (370-kilometer) range. A long-range version of the SUV capable of traveling 300 miles (483 kilometers) on a single charge was priced at $47,000.
Deliveries were expected to begin late next year for the higher-priced Model Y vehicles, with the standard-range version likely get to buyers by spring of 2021, according to Tesla.
Musk said the Model Y has “the functionality of an SUV but it will ride like a sports car” accelerating from stand-still to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
Model Y featured a “panoramic glass roof” and could seat seven people, according to Musk.
Entry-level SUVs are a hot segment of the vehicle market.
“Even though the Model Y will debut with promises of grandeur, if there are any chinks in Tesla’s brand armor, this vehicle will expose them,” said Edmunds executive director of industry analysis Jessica Caldwell.
“Tesla is about to learn exactly what it means to go head-to-head with the German automakers.”
While Tesla has a devoted fan base, with people at the Thursday event shouting enthusiastically for Musk, the Model Y will be competing with attractive SUVs that titans such as BMW, Mercedes and Audi are bringing to market, according to Caldwell.
The latest addition to the Tesla line-up comes shortly after the California-based company rolled out its lowest-priced Model 3, an electric car designed for the masses, at a base price of $35,000, with deliveries promised in one month.
At that price, the Model 3 is less than half the cost of most Tesla on the road and may be eligible for tax incentives which could further lower ownership costs.
“If Tesla truly wants to be a mainstream brand, it’s going to have to figure out how to sell cars to people besides young men in California,” Caldwell said.
Tesla has a sound foundation for the Model Y to be a “turning point,” since it has an enviably young base of buyers for a luxury brand and the Model X has had strong appeal to women, according to Caldwell.
The new vehicles suggest Tesla has been able to overcome production bottlenecks to ramp up production to meet demand, and moving toward Musk’s goal of making electric vehicles widely available.
Tesla this week reversed course on its decision to move most of its sales online, saying it will keep many of its showrooms open — but will need to hike prices to do so.
Tesla made the announcement on February 28 that it would begin selling its mass-market Model 3 at the promised $35,000 price, and close most of its retail locations to cut costs.
But the company said that after review, it had decided to keep some of its showrooms, although the specifics were not disclosed.
Tesla said the price hikes would start on March 18 for “the more expensive variants of Model 3, as well as Model S and X.”
“To be clear, all sales worldwide will still be done online, in that potential Tesla owners coming in to stores will simply be shown how to order a Tesla on their phone in a few minutes,” the statement added.


Indian property slump leaves beleaguered banks exposed

Updated 3 min 39 sec ago

Indian property slump leaves beleaguered banks exposed

  • While the Indian banking system could be hit by billions of dollars of additional soured debt, the cash crunch in the housing market has levied a toll in human misery

MUMBAI: India might have thought the worst of a bad loans crisis was past, but a severe cash crunch in the real estate industry could augur fresh strife for its banks. A slump in the residential property market is leaving many builders struggling to repay loans to shadow lenders — housing finance firms outside the regular banking sector that account for over half of the loans to developers.

With about $10 billion of development loans coming up for repayment in the first half of 2020, according to Fitch Rating’s Indian division, the fallout could spread to mainstream banks that have lent money to the shadow lenders or invested in their bonds.

Indian financial authorities, including the central bank and government, have said this year that the banking sector’s bad loans — totaling more than $150 billion — are on the decline for the first time in four years after ballooning during a debt crisis. But the number of property developers falling into bankruptcy has doubled during the past nine months, piling pressure on nonbanking finance companies (NBFCs), commonly known as shadow lenders.

Potential implosions of these NBFCs could expose banks, according to 12 banking and real estate sources.

A senior banking industry official, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, said banks would be affected by the property cash crunch in three ways: Their lending to NBFCs, their own direct exposure to developers and also individuals who do not repay mortgages.

“It will be a triple-whammy,” he said. While the Indian banking system could be hit by billions of dollars of additional soured debt, the cash crunch in the housing market has levied a toll in human misery.

Retired Squadron Leader Krishan Mitroo has paid 90 percent of the cost of his house in Noida, northern India, to developer Jaypee, and the property was supposed to be handed over five years ago. However, Jaypee was forced to delay the project and went into insolvency in 2017.

“The project has been stuck and there is no progress at all. Even the bankruptcy court has not been able to resolve the issue so far, it is just hanging in thin air,” Mitroo said. He did not say how much money he had paid, but properties in that project range from about $56,000 to $140,000.

Several such projects are stuck across the country and buyers are waiting for new developers to take interest and complete them with the hope that their hard-earned money, which has been stuck for years, won’t be lost forever.