Tesla closes all its stores as they shift their sales strategy to going in an all-out online purchase.
Nearly three years after unveiling its original reproduction to the public, Tesla has announced that it will begin selling a lower-priced version of the Model 3 sedan in the United States. Simultaneously however, the controversial automotive company has declared a shift in its sales strategy to support the vehicle’s production.
In a significant milestone for its founder, Elon Musk, Tesla announced on Thursday that it will begin selling the Model 3 at a long-awaited base price of $35,000, three years after teasing the idea of making the vehicle affordable to mass-market consumers.
Delivery time for the vehicle is set to take two to four weeks, with priority given to early reservation holders. Tesla’s return policy has been extended to allow customers one week to obtain a full-refund within a week or after 1,000 miles of driving.
The newly affordable version of the Model 3 boasts a number of features including a top speed of 130 mph, 220 miles of range, and acceleration ranging 0-60 mph at 5.6 seconds. Its release, however, is not without its setbacks.
In order to support additional production of the Model 3, customers are now only able to purchase vehicles online, a move that has entailed the closing down of a number of Tesla’s retail stores some of which are set to be turned into service centers and showrooms. Inevitably, an unspecified number of retail employees are set to be laid-off as a result of the move.
“It is a hard decision but I think it’s the right decision for the future,” Musk said.
Despite the publicity surrounding the announcement, Musk has said that the prospects of Tesla earning a profit in the first quarter of the year are unlikely citing one-time charges and difficulties in overseas shipping. Tesla’s shares fell three percent during after-hours trading on late Thursday after the projection.
The release of the new version of the Model 3 comes a few days after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asked a federal judge to cite Musk in contempt for violations against a settlement agreement reached last year wherein he agreed to have his tweets pre-approved by an attorney before posting.
The alleged violation involves a tweet made by Musk on February 19 wherein he stated that “Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500k in 2019.” He later corrected his tweet saying that the company would actually deliver 400,000 cars.
He has been given two weeks for explanation.