Tesla Says, "Where We Are Going, We Don't Need Stores"

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

The shift to online-only sales has allowed the company to lower the price of the Model 3 by about 6% on average, Tesla says, allowing it to reach its goal of introducing the $35,000 standard Model 3 earlier than anticipated.

Traditional auto companies with multiple models and configurations need salespeople to help customers make sense of their wide ranges of offerings.

Tesla's decision to focus on only online sales could face some hurdles. Tesla also operates a network of 79 service centers in 26 states and Musk said the company plans to hire more service technicians.

As for Tesla's profitability, it's retreating from earlier predictions - with Musk acknowledging Thursday the company will remain in the red in the first quarter.

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

Tesla is shifting all of its sales from stores to the internet, saying the move is needed to cut costs so it can sell the mass-market Model 3 for a starting price of $35,000.

Autopilot, which is a fancy name for Tesla's semi-autonomous suite of driver assists like adaptive cruise control, will set you back US$3,000 ($4,220).

On February 19, the CEO tweeted projections for 2019 Tesla manufacturing numbers at around 5,00,000 and hours later revised the estimate to 400,000. At the same time, the moves mean Tesla probably won't post a profit in the first quarter, as the company previously expected, although second-quarter profitability is "likely", Musk said.

"You can now return a vehicle within seven days or 1,000 miles for a full refund", it says in a statement.

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

The "Standard Range" model has 220 miles of range with a top speed of 130 mph and it goes 0-60 in 5.6 seconds.

In December, Tesla touted the opening of 11 more stores.

Tesla had a rough 2018 after months of manufacturing hangups and delays rolling out the Model 3.

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla Model 3 sedan, its first vehicle aimed at the mass market, is displayed during its launch in Hawthorne, California, U.S. March 31, 2016.

As part of the settlement, Musk stepped down from his chairmanship role and he and Tesla agreed to pay $US20 million each in fines. Thinking this way explains why Tesla is willing to absorb the cost of installing full self-driving hardware in all Tesla vehicles, regardless of whether the purchaser buys autonomous driving options.

The brand's former chairman and chief executive, Tony Whitethorn - who was inducted into the AM Hall of Fame at the AM Awards 2019 last month - described manufacturer's development and manufacture of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) as "hugely, hugely expensive", adding that the technology was, as yet "not making any money today".

Coupled with his SEC woes lingering overhead, Mr Musk hasn't exactly lost his investors' confidence, but he hasn't exactly filled them with it either.

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