Tesla backtracks, plans to keep open some stores, but prices will rise

2018 Tesla Model 3 3/4

Late last month, Tesla announced that it was moving to an online-only sales model and that it would be closing many of its factory-owned stores, a move designed to reduce costs and allow it to lower prices significantly on many of its models.. We were told that savings from those closings was going to be the basis for reducing Tesla vehicle prices by about 6 percent.

Well, that didn’t last long. Tesla says via its blog that it is changing that strategy (again) and fewer than one-third of its retail locations will be shuttered. As a result, previously announced price drops are being partially reversed. Except for the recently-introduced $35,000 version of the Model 3, prices will go up about 3 percent across the entire Tesla line. Those increases take effect on March 18. Current prices will be honored until then, so if you want one, hurry.

Customers will still order cars online, even at the Tesla stores, where Tesla employees will assist with those orders via the firm’s website. (That is how those showrooms have sold Teslas in the past, so there is no change there.) The newly announced 7-day/1000-mile, no-questions-asked return policy will also remain. Vehicles will be available at the stores for test drives, and for those customers who simply cannot wait for their new Tesla, a small inventory of vehicles will be kept in stock.

Tesla’s multiple direction changes have left some industry analysts scratching their heads about the chaos at the Silicon Valley automaker, even more than usual. Still, the move (for now) represents a glimmer of hope for employees who thought they were out of a job, although Tesla plans to operate the reopened stores with a leaner staff than before.