Tesla To Shut Most Stores Worldwide

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The manufacturer announced on Thursday that it would be selling its Model 3 electric cars for $35,000 (€30,000), having promised in 2016 to deliver a more affordable option.

While plans to streamline the sales process in the USA "makes a lot of sense", Vinkhuyzen told DW, "In most of Europe, the Tesla brand is not known well enough to sell only by word of mouth".

Tesla debuted the $35,000 Model 3 almost five years after the firm first announced it would offer an affordable version of the luxury sedan.

While reaching the final step of his "master plan" with the Model 3, a standoff between USA stock regulators and the flamboyant Musk has taken a dramatic turn over a tweet that could cost the entrepreneur his job at Tesla.

The Model S Performance loses a little range in comparison - sliding to 315 miles - but gains on speed, with 0-60 mph coming in at 3.0-seconds.

"Ultimately this will be a very strong competitive strength for Tesla", he said on a conference call on Thursday. Numerous company's existing stores will be re-purposed to act as showcases for Tesla products, but some will be closing with job losses.

When Tesla unveiled the Model 3 in 2016, it stunned the automotive industry as customers lined up around street corners at stores to plop down $1,000 deposits for the vehicle. In North America, customers can buy a vehicle via their phone in about one minute, Tesla said.

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The company will wind down many of its stores over the next few months, Mr Musk said.

Critics are skeptical with Tesla's decision of bringing the price range of the Model 3 much lower compared to other models and how it could affect profits. "There's no other way for us to achieve the savings required to produce this auto and still remain profitable".

Cutting prices has put further strain on Tesla's finances, however.

Mr Musk reiterated that improving service in 2019 is Tesla's top priority and said the company will be adding jobs worldwide to address what's become one of the biggest concerns of new customers.

To get "full self-driving", buyers will need to stump up $5,000 extra, which enables "automatic driving from highway on-ramp to off-ramp including interchanges and overtaking slower cars", auto-parking, and "summon", the feature that makes a parked vehicle find the owner. This substantially opens up our ability to buy cars.

Some stores with high turnover will remain as galleries, the statement said. The automaker now also offer full refunds if a vehicle is returned within a week or reaching 1,000 miles. Auto companies and customers have shied away from electric cars in the past in part because of the added cost that batteries bring to the vehicle. As for test drives, Tesla will offer buyers a seven day, or 1,000 miles, return period after taking delivery. But it's been impossible to actually buy the long-promised, $US35,000 ($49,006) base model of the auto that so many were hoping for to help them enter the electric future. "And we expect to make somewhere between 70,000 to 100,000" Model S sedans and Model X crossovers.