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Tesla's $35,000 Model 3 just got even harder to buy

14 April 2019
Tesla's $35,000 Model 3 just got even harder to buy

Tesla has been adjusting prices of its USA -made cars in China to remain affordable in the country, a move also aimed at fending off competition from a swathe of domestic EV startups such as Nio Inc, Byton and XPeng Motors.

Tesla's announcement also said it would begin leasing the Model 3, but would not offer customers the option to buy the cars after their leases expired, a departure from the typical industry practice and its own policy on other models. A challenge to vehicle demand has been the lowering of a United States tax credit on Tesla vehicles to $3,500 from $7,500 previously.

The Model 3 with Standard Plus battery range used to cost $37 500, plus $3 000 for Autopilot. The carmaker is now backing away from its online-only ordering approach with the standard Model 3. Ordering one requires a call or visit to a Tesla store.

Autopilot now comes bundled as a standard feature for less than the prior cost of the option. The blog post said Tesla was making the changes to "simplify vehicle choices and to make Autopilot more affordable". More changes happened this week and it's now no longer possible to buy the $35,000 Model 3 online. Yes, these are the same stores that the EV company announced it was scaling back when it first started selling the low-priced Model 3.

Anyone who buys this vehicle now has the option of paying an additional cost once they get their auto to have these features unlocked.

Tesla shares were little changed as of 2:30pm Friday in NY.

However, unlike other leasing programs, Model 3 customers will not be able to buy their vehicle following the conclusion of the leasing term, as Tesla plans to use these vehicles in its upcoming ride-hailing network in conjunction with full autonomy. The lease runs for 36 months, and lessees can choose from three annual mileage allotments - 10,000, 12,000 or 15,000 miles per year. The monthly payment due on that basis is $504. The stock was down 19% this year through the close Thursday.

On Twitter, Musk recently confirmed that the objective of the cameras built in above the rear-view mirror of the Model 3 is to record video when owners put their vehicle on Tesla's future network, which he said would compete with Uber and Lyft.

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk first talked about his vision of a Tesla shared-vehicle fleet when he unveiled his Master Plan Part Deux in July 2016.