Tesla Raising Prices, Keeping Stores

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One problem in writing about Tesla is that there’s a good chance that everything you wrote about on Monday will change by Wednesday.

Case in point: Days after announcing that it would close most of its showrooms and cut prices of most models by an average of 6 percent, Tesla now says it is raising prices by 3 percent and will keep most of its stores open.

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No reason was given for the about face – although it is likely that the company, a whiz at technology but apparently no so phenomenal at the mundane day day-to-day stuff, realized too late that it would cost a boatload of cash to get out of all those real estate leases. There are about 120 Tesla stores and galleries in the U.S. And it couldn’t afford to cut car prices if it still had to pay for most of the stores and the people it takes to operate them.

Tesla store in Washington, D.C./Wikimedia Commons

On the bright side, the price hikes won’t affect the $35,000 base Model 3 that Tesla has finally started selling almost two years it was after first promised.

The price increases, CEO Elon Musk wrote in an e-mail to employees and a post on the Tesla blog, well affect the Model S and the Model X crossover as well as higher trim levels of the Model 3.

As for Tesla stores – the company already has closed about 10 percent of its locations worldwide and those will remain shuttered, Musk said. An additional 20 percent are under review and some -or all – of those could be closed on ver the next half-year.

Even though quite a few Tesla locations will remain, all sales still will be done on-line. Tesla employees at the showrooms will show customers who need the instructions how to do so on their smartphones or other electronic devices,

Some of the locations also will keep a few Tesla models out back for anyone who can’t wait and just has to drive away right now (and is okay with whatever color and equipment combos are on the “lot”).