Elon Musk's late-night announcement to raise prices and reopen some stores

Tesla Changes Its Mind Over Store Closures, Raises Prices By 3%

To soften the blow of the initial announcement, the company used projected savings to reduce prices across its range by around six per cent, while some models in Australia had prices slashed by around $80,000.

Now, however, the company has backtracked, saying in a blog post that it has taken a close look at each of its stores and realized it makes more sense to keep majority open.

Tesla also made a decision to retain some of the physical stores it had planned to close and will reopen some of the closed retail centers. Tesla will offer vehicles for test drives at its stores at the buyer's request, and there will be a small number of cars in inventory for those who want to drive off in their new auto the same day. They will keep a limited number of cars so that customers can drive away with a new vehicle immediately.

Tesla explains that by keeping more stores open, the company will need to raise the price of Model S, Model X and the more expensive Model 3 variants.

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Gartner analyst Michael Ramsey called the move "startling" and said it undermines the credibility of Musk and Tesla's management.

Tesla said on Sunday it has "been closely evaluating every single" retail location. Note, there will be no price increase to the $35,000 Model 3.

A Tesla spokesman declined comment Monday beyond the company's statement.

Last week, Tesla announced it had secured as much as US$521 million in loans from Chinese banks to build a vehicle and battery factory in the country.

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Musk on February 19 tweeted to his more than 24 million Twitter followers that Tesla would make around 500,000 cars in 2019. The tweets initiated an investigation into whether Musk sent the tweets to inflate Tesla's stock price. It also contradicts its intention to give up test drives because of the existing 1,000 miles or 7 days return policy.

Shares of the company, among Wall Street's most volatile in recent months, were roughly flat in early trading on Monday.

As part of the plan, customers will instead have to buy Tesla vehicles online or by phone rather than in person at one of its hundreds of retail outlets. The company hasn't yet clarified why it partly reversed its initial decision, but Engadget has reached out for more information.

Less than a fortnight ago the electric auto maker said it was taking sales nearly entirely online in a move it said would reduce the cost of selling a vehicle by up to 6pc and help lower the cost of its cheapest auto, the Model 3, down to $35,000 (£26,700).

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Tesla spokeswoman Emily Findlay also said there is nothing more to add beyond what the blog post had mentioned.

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