Tesla makes it tougher to buy the standard $35 000 Model 3

Tesla announced a series of changes to its vehicle lineup and pricing, including making it tougher to buy its newly available entry-level $35 000 car.

All Tesla vehicles now come with the Autopilot driver-assistance system as standard, the company said in a blog post late Thursday.

The Model 3 with Standard Plus battery range used to cost $37 500, plus $3 000 for Autopilot. It now costs $39 500 with Autopilot included.

And a standard Model 3 costing $35 000 just became harder for customers to actually order. Deliveries of the vehicle at that price point - the big promise of the Model 3 when it was first unveiled in March 2016 - are just beginning this weekend. Customers who want this version from now on won’t be able to get from Tesla’s online ordering menu - they’ll have to call or visit a store instead.

Tesla’s constantly shifting approach to its lineup and retail strategy has rattled investors and stoked confusion. Ten days after signaling an almost complete withdrawal from physical stores, the company backtracked and said more locations would stay open than planned. The carmaker is now backing away from its online-only ordering approach with the standard Model 3.

“This latest announcement is further evidence that 2019 will be a bumpy year for Tesla,” said analyst Gene Munster of Loup Ventures. “They’ll eventually get the formula right.”

Leasing, Sharing

Tesla is also offering a Model 3 lease for the first time, though with a big caveat. Customers won’t have the option to buy the car at the end of the lease because the company plans to use the vehicles in a forthcoming Tesla ride-hailing network, according to the blog post.

On its ordering website, Tesla’s default options are for customers to make a $3 000 down payment and spend a total of $4 199 at signing of a three-year, 10 000-mile annual lease. The monthly payment due on that basis is $504.

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk first talked about his vision of a Tesla shared-vehicle fleet when he unveiled his Master Plan Part Deux in July 2016. After the company scheduled an event later this month for Musk and other executives to tout Tesla’s self-driving technology, the CEO hinted at the plan again.

In responding a follower on Twitter encouraged Tesla owners to buy a product that covers up a camera over the rear-view mirror of their cars, Musk, 47, confirmed for the first time that the purpose of the camera was to record video when owners put their car on the network.

Tesla shares rose 0.6% to $269.98 as of 08:50 Friday in New York, before the start of regular trading. The stock was down 19% this year through the close Thursday.

ZAR/USD
17.42
(+0.10)
ZAR/GBP
22.77
(+0.02)
ZAR/EUR
20.59
(-0.00)
ZAR/AUD
12.46
(+0.38)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+0.28)
Gold
1952.30
(+1.67)
Silver
27.44
(+7.13)
Platinum
960.00
(+3.27)
Brent Crude
45.32
(+2.09)
Palladium
2175.50
(+1.97)
All Share
57419.46
(+0.00)
Top 40
53082.08
(-0.08)
Financial 15
10227.06
(+0.86)
Industrial 25
75743.15
(-0.61)
Resource 10
59161.88
(+0.29)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Do you think it was a good idea for the government to approach the IMF for a $4.3 billion loan to fight Covid-19?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes. We need the money.
11% - 989 votes
It depends on how the funds are used.
74% - 6590 votes
No. We should have gotten the loan elsewhere.
15% - 1382 votes
Vote