This is often called "the Osborne effect" and can affect the sales of a product unless the company producing it takes corrective action. This usually means incentives or price cuts to make the old model more attractive, which is why people panicked when Tesla adjusted the Model Y price in the US. It was a modest $1,000 price drop on the Model Y RWD and Model Y LR variants, but that was enough to make people think Tesla was already clearing inventory in preparation for the refreshed Model Y launch.
The price cut will only last through February 29 and, as Tesla said, was meant to move more vehicles in a period of the year known as the worst for car sales. It is the first time Tesla has cut prices in the middle of a quarter. However interesting this strategy is, it still gives people the impression that demand for the Model Y is not as strong as Tesla would want. This might have to do with people waiting for the facelifted model, considering that the Model Y has grown a little long in the tooth.
Earlier rumors indicated that the refreshed Model Y might be closer than people thought, with mass production expected to start mid-summer at Giga Shanghai. After completing the work on the Model 3 Highland, it shouldn't be as hard to transplant the modifications on the Model Y. However, this doesn't mean that the revamped crossover will start sales in the US anytime soon. Tesla wanted to clarify this to its sales advisors after many reported to the mothership that customers postponed the purchase of a Model Y and waited for the Juniper refresh.
In a letter shared online, Tesla appears to respond to feedback regarding "customers waiting to place their Model Y order as they anticipate a refresh similar to Model 3." The information in the email sent to its workforce was meant to be shared with the customers. The message officially confirms that there is no refresh for the Model Y launching this year. Tesla also emphasized the $7,500 federal tax credit and other incentives it offers to Model Y buyers.
While the Model Y will not be replaced in the US and Canada this year, it doesn't mean it won't arrive in other markets. Reports from China indicate that Model Y Juniper production is expected to start later this summer at Giga Shanghai. If the Model Y will follow the same timeline as the Model 3 Highland, we'll have to wait about six months after Juniper launches in China. However, there's a big unknown this time, as the Model Y is also built at Giga Berlin and Giga Texas. Tesla would not want different Model Y variants produced at Giga Shanghai and Giga Berlin. Likewise, Fremont and Giga Texas must be on the same page in the US.
We wanted to share this to help correct some misinformation we’ve seen the last few weeks that the refresh was expected just months from now.— Teslascope (@teslascope) February 11, 2024
Our own timeline continues to confidently note that a refresh is not expected until the very end of this year, going into Q1-Q2 of 2025.