Tesla unveils $35,000 standard Model 3, shifts worldwide sales to online-only

Tesla (TSLA) just made good on its promise to offer a standard Model 3 vehicle with a $35,000 price tag.

The electric carmaker on Thursday launched a Model 3 at a before-savings price of $35,000. The company advertises on its website that that price is brought down further to $24,450 when including gasoline savings and incentives. Earlier in the day, the cheapest version of the Model 3 was available starting at $42,900.

The Standard Range base model starting at $35,000 offers customers a top speed of 130mph and can accelerate from 0-60mph in 5.6 seconds, the company said in a blog post. Tesla also now offers a Model 3 Standard Range plus at a starting price of $37,000, which has 240 miles of range, a top speed of 140mph and 0-60mph acceleration in 5.3 seconds.

Tesla also announced that it is shifting sales worldwide to online only to “achieve these prices while remaining financially sustainable.”

“Shifting all sales online, combined with other ongoing cost efficiencies, will enable us 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,” the company said in a statement.

“Over the next few months, we will be winding down many of our stores, with a small number of stores in high-traffic locations remaining as galleries, showcases and Tesla information centers,” the statement continued. “The important thing for customers in the United States to understand is that, with online sales, anyone in any state can quickly and easily buy a Tesla.”

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FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2019, file photograph, buyers look over a Model 3 in a Tesla store in Cherry Creek Mall in Denver. Tesla is shifting all of its sales from stores to the internet, saying the move is needed to cut costs so it can sell the mass-market Model 3 for a starting price of $35,000. The Palo Alto, California, company announced the change Thursday, Feb. 28. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE- In this Feb. 9, 2019, file photo, a sign bearing the company logo is displayed outside a Tesla store in Cherry Creek Mall in Denver. Tesla’s top lawyer is leaving the company after only two months on the job. Tesla said in a prepared statement Wednesday, Feb. 20, that General Counsel Dane Butswinkas will return to a legal practice in Washington, D.C. He’ll continue to work for Tesla as outside counsel. No reason for the departure was given. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE--In this Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, file photograph, buyers look over a Model 3 in a Tesla store in Cherry Creek Mall in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
FILE--In this Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, file photograph, buyers look over a Model 3 in a Tesla store in Cherry Creek Mall in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)
Cars are driven past a Tesla showroom, as Tesla announces it would close many stores and its sales would now be online-only around the world, in west London, Britain, March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A Tesla Model 3 car is displayed at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
A Tesla Model 3 car is displayed at the Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
SHANGHAI, CHINA - FEBRUARY 22: More than 1,800 Tesla electric cars, including over 1,600 Model 3 from the United States, arrive at Pudong Waigaoqiao Port on February 22, 2019 in Shanghai, China. Freight ship 'Morning Cindy' carrying more than 1,800 Tesla electric cars, including over 1,600 Model 3 from the United States, arrived in Shanghai on Friday. (Photo by Zhao Yun/VCG via Getty Images)
SHANGHAI, CHINA - FEBRUARY 22: More than 1,800 Tesla electric cars, including over 1,600 Model 3 from the United States, arrive at Pudong Waigaoqiao Port on February 22, 2019 in Shanghai, China. Freight ship 'Morning Cindy' carrying more than 1,800 Tesla electric cars, including over 1,600 Model 3 from the United States, arrived in Shanghai on Friday. (Photo by Zhao Yun/VCG via Getty Images)
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The company said that it will allow customers to return a car within 7 days or 1,000 miles for a full refund, in lieu of a test drive prior to purchase due to the new online-only system.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased in a series of Twitter posts Wednesday that “some Tesla news” would be released Thursday at 5 p.m. ET. Shares of Tesla popped in anticipation of the announcement, closing higher by 5.67% on Wednesday and 1.63% as of market close Thursday.

Trading of Tesla shares was halted around 4:58 p.m. ET ahead of the news. Shares declined 3.4% to $309.00 each as of 5:44 p.m. ET after trading resumed.

Tesla on Thursday afternoon paused all orders of its vehicles on its website before the announcement. When users clicked through the website, a Tesla logo appeared onscreen with a message reading, “The wait is almost over” at the URL “www.tesla.com/soon,” adding to the suspense of the undetermined impending news.

Analysts considered a slew of potential subject matter to be addressed ahead of Thursday’s news. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas, who rates shares of Tesla as Equal-weight, wrote in a note Wednesday that possible topics included news about Tesla’s convertible bond repayment, a new strategic partnership or an unveiling of the Model Y or pickup truck.

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