Tesla says it'll keep more stores open and raise auto prices

Jermaine Castillo
March 12, 2019

However, amid recent store closures and related staffing cuts, Tesla announced on Monday that it has chose to reopen some stores that are in high visibility areas.

Tesla said the stores will carry fewer cars in inventory for customers who wish to drive away with a Tesla immediately.

Earlier this month Tesla said it would close an unspecified number of stores to fund a cut in the price of the Model 3 in the USA to $35,000 (£26,400). To pay for this, the EV maker is raising the price of its cars by about 3 percent on average worldwide on March 18. The only auto that will not rise in price is Tesla's cheapest product, the $35,000 (£26,279) Model 3, which the company finally made available as part of the price cut after years of promises. Buyers with existing reservations have a week to place their orders before the new price increases take effect. The company didn't specify on Sunday how many of these it still planned to close or in which markets.

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Tesla notes that all sales will still be made online; anyone wanting to buy in a store will simply be shown how to use the online system. Now, Tesla said, a few from the already-closed group in high-visibility spots will even be reopened.

Model 3 last week, company boss Elon Musk said achieving the long-targeted price for the entry-level variant could only be achieved by cost saving from closing a number of its stores and switching to an online-only sales model. "In other words, we will only close about half as many stores, but the cost savings are therefore only about half".

CEO Elon Musk told employees in an e-mail late Sunday night that the electric vehicle maker would shift its sales plans yet again - raising prices by about 3 percent on most of its cars and keeping more stores open than it had previously planned. Another 20 percent of store locations are under review and have won a reprieve for "the next few months". Physical stores will have a small selection for customers who want to test drive a vehicle or drive one off the lot immediately.

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As a result of keeping more stores open, Tesla is going to raise vehicle prices by about 3 percent across the globe. "It makes it seem like Tesla is making decisions on the fly and reacting to very short-term factors".

Tesla now claims it will only be closing stores that it would have already meant to close, no matter what. The policy allows new buyers to drive the vehicle for 1000 miles or seven days.

In announcing the move on February 28, CEO Elon Musk said it was necessary to cut costs in order to profitably sell the mass-market version of the Model 3 sedan for $35,000.

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