Tesla's best Model X and Model S vehicles receive major price cuts

Elon Musk Moves Tesla Shares With Cryptic Tweeting About News To Come

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On Tuesday, in a string of vague tweets, Musk said: "Thursday 2pm", then "California", then "Some Tesla news".

Tesla has finally delivered on its promise of an electric vehicle for the masses, announcing deliveries of the more affordable US$35,000 Model 3 "Standard Range" will start in March.

"Over the next few months, we will be winding down many of our stores, with a small number of stores in high-traffic locations remaining as galleries, showcases and Tesla information centers", a company blog post read.

Production issues, higher prices and other delays have blighted the delivery of the Tesla Model 3 since 40,000 customers pledged an interest to buy the vehicle following its official unveiling in 2016.

Many have said Tesla was able to discount all vehicle models as a result of its decision to shutter physical stores.

To help lower the price the firm plans to close showrooms and is switching to an online-only sales model.

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Investors also were skeptical, in part because Musk predicted a first-quarter loss after pledging to be profitable every quarter.

"You can now buy a Tesla in North America via your phone in about one minute, and that capability will soon be extended worldwide", the statement said.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk explained during a conference call with the press that eliminating the retail sales portion of its business would represent a significant cost savings, allowing the long-awaited $35,000 Model 3 to come to market.

However, Musk pointed out in the email that 78 percent of all Model 3 orders were placed online and 82 percent of customers bought such models without ever taking a test drive.

Tesla will only sell its electric cars online as it accelerates its cost cutting so it can realize its long-running goal of selling a mass-market sedan for $35,000. (TSLA.O) unveiled Thursday is either a desperate move or a remarkably savvy strategy to adapt to a hard market - depending on who you ask on Wall Street.

Tesla executives have previously said they were unwilling to launch a $35,000 Model 3 unless it could be sold profitably on a gross margin basis at that price.

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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. What's more, Tesla says it will allow customers to return their auto, free of charge, if they decide it's not for them in the first seven days and 1,000 miles of ownership, instead of the usual awkward test drive around the block.

The cheapest Model 3 on sale before Thursday was $42,900.

Tesla also said that it's introducing a new version, called the "Model 3 Standard Range Plus", which will give an extra 20 miles of range and an additional 10 mph to the top speed.

The $35,000 version of the Model 3 was supposed to roll out around the time it was revealed in 2016, but in order for Tesla to maintain production, the company focused on higher-priced versions of the auto.

"Given its seeming abruptness, it does not appear that yesterday's announcement was made from a position of strength", Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi Jr said in a research note entitled, "The $35k Model 3 - Genius or Desperation?"

Tesla pointed to its overall customer satisfaction rating from the magazine and said it has corrected numerous problems found in the survey.

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