March 11, 2019 — Tesla’s strategy of closing its retail network apparently is a work in progress. After shutting down 10% of its retail locations the last couple of weeks, Tesla announced on its blog last night that it has stopped the process and will evaluate another 20% of its sales locations in coming months.
Some of the locations in high-visible areas that have been closed will reopen with a smaller staff.
The automaker will also raise prices on its vehicles by 3% to accommodate the change to its retail strategy. The $35,000 version of the Model 3 will remain unchanged.
Tesla set off fireworks nearly two weeks ago when it announced it was closing most of its nearly 300 global retail locations as a cost-cutting move to enable it to reduce vehicle prices by 6% along with bringing the long-awaited $35,000 Model 3 to market.
As part of the shift in retail strategy, Tesla also announced it was moving to an online sales model. That part of the strategy doesn’t seem to be changing. According to last night’s blog, Tesla is keeping the online sales model, which means potential customers visiting a retail location will be shown how to purchase a Tesla online via their phone.
Last year, 78% of all Model 3 orders were placed online, rather than in a store, and 82% of customers bought their Model 3 without ever having taken a test drive.
The return policy of 1,000 miles or seven days will continue.