Here’s Everything That Just Went Down at Tesla
Six Versions of the Model 3, Plus Big Price Cuts
- Tesla introduced its long-awaited $35,000 Model 3, fulfilling a decade-long goal. It will come with a glass roof and some other features that weren’t originally planned, along with 220 miles of range on a single charge.
- That’s just one of 6 versions of the Model 3 that Tesla will now sell. There’s also the “Standard Range Plus” for $37,000, with 240 miles of range and options such as premium seat materials, heated seats and upgraded audio.
- Next comes the Mid Range version, which dropped in price to $40,000 from $42,900. It has a range of 264 miles and Tesla’s full suite of premium features.
- Tesla also brought back the long-range, rear-wheel drive Model 3, which originally sold for $49,000 before it was temporarily discontinued. It’s now available for $43,000. Tesla boosted this vehicle’s range by 15 miles through a software update to 325 miles.
- The price of the dual motor all-wheel drive version dropped to $47,000 from $49,900.
- The top-line performance Model 3 price declined to $58,000 from $60,900. That’s $20,000 cheaper than when it was first released last year. It’s also a bit quicker, going from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds and having a top speed of 162 mph.
- Musk told reporters that making these final price cuts has been “excruciating,” and there will be no future price reductions to the Model 3. He declined to answer a question about the base model’s profitability.
- The standard-range Model 3 goes on sale immediately in the U.S., and all back orders will be delivered before federal tax incentives decline July 1, Musk said. He later tweeted that it will be available in Europe in about six months and in Asia as soon as Tesla’s Shanghai factory begins production, which he estimated will be within six to eight months.
- Tesla also reintroduced a lower-priced Model S sedan, which now starts at $79,000 with 270 miles of range. There’s also a long-range version starting at $83,000 with a 335-mile range, and a performance version starting at $99,000.
No More Stores—All Sales Move Online
- In order to achieve these dramatic price cuts, Tesla is eliminating in-store sales. All sales will now be completed online.
- Some stores will be shuttered, and some jobs eliminated. This results in a 5 to 6 percent decrease in the average vehicle cost, Musk said.
- Tesla will still maintain some galleries in key locations and will be increasing its service centers and staff worldwide.
- “My top priority this year is making service amazing,” Musk said, addressing a key concern of customers.
- Musk said the online sales model will enable Tesla to sell cars in U.S. states that have franchise laws blocking Tesla stores.
- Tesla also will be “significantly reducing” spending on sales and marketing, Musk said in an email to employees.
- It’s unclear what will happen to Tesla’s solar sales, as the company has eliminated its door-to-door sales model in favor of in-store sales.
- Customers now can return a Tesla within 7 days or 1,000 miles of driving for a full refund.
Autopilot—Price Changes and New Features
- Tesla restructured its two Autopilot plans. Basic Autopilot will now cost $3,000, compared with $5,000 for the previous “Enhanced Autopilot” package, but it also has fewer features. It’s now mostly adaptive cruise control with auto steering.
- The other features were pushed into the “Full Self Driving” feature package, which costs $8,000. With that comes Autopark, “Navigate on Autopilot” and a new feature called “Summon,” where your car will come find you “anywhere in a parking lot.” That feature will debut “imminently,” Musk said.
- Tesla now advertises on its website that, later this year, the Full Self Driving option will be able to recognize and respond to traffic lights and stop signs, and be able to “drive automatically on city streets.” Musk is two years behind in his promise for Full Self Driving features.
- Musk said the developer version he drives already does these things and also make its own turns.
- Some self-driving safety advocates will take issue with Tesla calling its feature set “Full Self Driving” since active driver supervision still is required.
Musk Adjusts the 2019 Production Forecast—Again
- Responding to a question about whether Tesla will be able to increase production for its most affordable car, Musk said Tesla will make between 420,000 and 600,000 cars this year.
- Musk repeated his forecast from the Jan. 30 earnings call, when he said Tesla would build 350,000 to 500,000 Model 3s this year.
- Musk also issued his first forecast for Model S and Model X production, which he said will add another 70,000 to 100,000 cars to the year’s total.
- “So the lower bound would be 350,000 plus 70,000, and the upper bound would be 500,000 plus 100,000,” Musk said.
- Here is a timeline of Musk’s 2019 forecasts.
- Tesla no longer expects to turn a profit in the first quarter of 2019 due to “a lot of one-time charges” and “challenges getting cars to China and Europe,” Musk said.
- “We do think that profitability in Q2 is likely,” he said.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.