Elon Musk's late-night announcement to raise prices and reopen some stores

Elon Musk's late-night announcement to raise prices and reopen some stores

Elon Musk's late-night announcement to raise prices and reopen some stores

What is clear is that Tesla sales in 2019 have been disastrous.

Tesla now claims it will only be closing stores that it would have already meant to close, no matter what.

Tesla will increase the cost of its vehicles by an average of about 3 per cent after rethinking a plan announced just 10 days earlier to wind down all but a small number of its stores.

Just two weeks after Tesla announced it would close most of its stores and move to an online sales model, the electric auto maker has reversed course.

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The news reads more like a stay of execution than a pardon, but surely comes as welcome news to the thousands of retail employees staffing its stores around the world that were left not knowing if they would even have jobs in the coming days or weeks after the company made a decision to close most of its stores.

Tesla made a controversial decision last month when it announced that it would be closing all of its stores and going online only for sales of its EVs.

Despite keeping more stores open, Tesla will still use an online only sales model worldwide, with all vehicle sold with a seven-day or 1000-mile return policy. Additionally, a week from now, there will be price increases on all of its vehicles with the exception of the standard range Model 3. Pricing will increase by about 3% globally.

At the end of last month, CEO Elon Musk said that only a small number of stores in "high-traffic locations" will stay open as galleries, showcases and Tesla information centers.

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Until recently, Tesla's store strategy seemed to be one of expansion.

It will now close "about half as many" stores - making half the cost savings.

Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said it would also be hard to achieve the cost savings needed to lower the price of the Model 3 through store closures alone.

Tesla is still sticking with its plan for all orders for its vehicles to take place online - even in its brick-and-mortar outlets. The 7-day/1,000 mile test drive policy will still apply as well, though test drives will still be available in stores.

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Barclays analyst Brian Johnson cut his price target for Tesla shares to US$192 from $210 on March 5, citing concern that the company's ability to sell electric cars at high volumes with strong margins would be undermined by the store closings. Though the company noted that most orders occur through the Tesla website, that's probably a function of eager Tesla buyers willing to pull the trigger with not so much as a test drive.

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