Tesla says it will move to an exclusively online sales model in an effort to cut overhead costs. CEO Elon Musk says the move is intended to allow the company to sell its Model 3 cars for less money.
Musk wasn’t specific about how many retail stores would close, or how many employees would be laid off. But the online-only sales approach will be enough to support a 6% reduction in the cost of a Model 3, the company says, bringing the price for a new low-end version of the car to $35,000. Tesla will also use some of the savings to hire more service technicians.
But what about test drives? Musk says the company is extending the period in which buyers can return a car for a full refund. A buyer, Musk says, will be able to drive a Model 3 around for a full week and put up to 1,000 miles on it, and then bring it back. “And we’re going to make it super easy to get a refund, like one-click refund,” he said.