A day after a potential contempt charge from the SEC and a day before the company must make a $920 million cash bond payment, Tesla stopped taking all orders on its website in anticipation of an announcement at 2 p.m. Pacific time today.
And the announcement is....
As of now, consumers may place orders for a standard Model 3 with a regular interior and a 220-mile battery pack for $35,000. Additionally, Tesla is "shifting all sales online."
That means the company is shutting down "many of its stores" and keeping a "small number of stores in high-traffic locations remaining as galleries, showcases and Tesla information centers."
Tesla claims that shutting stores and other operational efficiencies will result in the ability to "lower all vehicle prices by about 6% on average, allowing us to achieve the $35,000 Model 3 price point earlier than we expected."
Here are some specs on the basic model:
- Top speed of 130 mph
- 0-60 miles per hour acceleration of 5.6 seconds
- Also newly priced is a Model 3 Standard Range Plus, which offers 240 miles of range and a top speed of 140 mph at $37,000 before incentives
The Tesla blog post claims that the company "will be increasing our investment in the Tesla service system, with the goal of same-day, if not same-hour service, and with most service done by us coming to you, rather than you coming to us. Moreover, we guarantee service availability anywhere in any countries in which we operate."
The real question is, can Tesla make a profit selling a car at $35,000?
There's a press conference in the works, and we'll report on any developments as they happen.
It's been an eventful month for the wildly popular electric vehicle maker.
- The SEC asked a judge to hold Tesla CEO Elon Musk in contempt for reckless tweeting and violating the settlement stemming from Musk’s “420-funding-secured” episode. (Contempt filing here.)
- Tesla announced plans to acquire Maxwell Technologies, an established, 380-employee ultracapacitor and storage materials firm for $218 million in an all-stock deal.
- Tesla has a convertible bond that will need to be settled with $920 million in cash tomorrow.
- Consumer Reports dropped its recommendation on the Model 3 (and a number of other auto models), citing a lapse in reliability.
- Tesla’s general counsel resigned after only two months on the job.
- There are continued reports of customer service hell in the U.S., Germany and Austria.
- Enormous cash penalties could be imposed if employment targets aren't met at Tesla’s Buffalo factory.
- Tesla had layoffs affecting 7 percent of staff across the company in January.
Tesla will need some stellar sales performances in Europe and China this quarter to deliver on Musk’s promise of 50 percent growth in 2019 and quarterly profits.