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Tesla promises to keep selling $ 35k Model 3, though claims few are ordering it

Two weeks ago, Tesla removed the $ 35k Model 3 from their website, making it an "off-menu" item. When asked, they couldn't answer how long the model would be available – causing many, including Electrek, to assume that this was an attempt to kill the car. , as today during Tesla's Q1 earnings call, CEO Elon Musk made the promise that the 35k Model 3 will be available for sale for an indefinite time period. the culmination of Tesla's original "secret master plan" from 2006. Since that announcement though, multiple developments happened. Many early customers had their delivery dates canceled with no firm timeline when Tesla would pull through, and some ended up paying their order and buying another vehicle instead. After Tesla we were about it for a while, they eventually listed the car on the website but stated they would continue sales by phone or in person. Finally, the first $ 35k model 3 deliveries started just last week On today's call, Musk mentioned that customers don't need to go through an obstacle course to order the Model 3 Standard Range, which is all it takes is a store visit or a phone call. However, orders have been quite low for the Standard Range Model 3, according to Musk. Instead of the $ 35k Standard Range Model 3, Tesla's website lists the $ 39.5k Standard Range Plus as the base model, which has Autopilot and about 1 0% more than the $ 35k Standard Range car does. The…

Two weeks ago, Tesla removed the $ 35k Model 3 from their website, making it an “off-menu” item. When asked, they couldn’t answer how long the model would be available – causing many, including Electrek, to assume that this was an attempt to kill the car.

, as today during Tesla’s Q1 earnings call, CEO Elon Musk made the promise that the 35k Model 3 will be available for sale for an indefinite time period.

the culmination of Tesla’s original “secret master plan” from 2006.

Since that announcement though, multiple developments happened. Many early customers had their delivery dates canceled with no firm timeline when Tesla would pull through, and some ended up paying their order and buying another vehicle instead. After Tesla we were about it for a while, they eventually listed the car on the website but stated they would continue sales by phone or in person. Finally, the first $ 35k model 3 deliveries started just last week

On today’s call, Musk mentioned that customers don’t need to go through an obstacle course to order the Model 3 Standard Range, which is all it takes is a store visit or a phone call. However, orders have been quite low for the Standard Range Model 3, according to Musk.

Instead of the $ 35k Standard Range Model 3, Tesla’s website lists the $ 39.5k Standard Range Plus as the base model, which has Autopilot and about 1

0% more than the $ 35k Standard Range car does. The $ 35k also has access to various in-car features like music streaming, navigation with live traffic visualization, and heated seats. These are all software-limited features, and customers can upgrade any time they want if they pay the difference in cost

On the call, Musk stated that these features hit the “sweet spot” or good value for customers, and that the Standard Range Plus offers good bang for your buck, when compared to the $ 35k Standard Range car. Customers seem to agree, given that the order rate on the $ 35k car is low.

and a battery pack capable of lasting for a million miles would cost “$ 38,000,” which is not higher than the cost of a Standard Range Model 3.

Electrek’s Take

US. We said Tesla had “killed” the Model 3, and perhaps we overstated it. This was not just the opinion of one of us, but all of us on Electrek staff contributed to the editorial section of that post and we agreed that this move seemed like a clear attempt to kill the car, thus our headline.

The article’s “Take,” we mentioned that the car wasn’t completely “dead,” but that since Tesla removed the model from the website and was never going to produce the base model pack or interior, it seemed like they had killed off any intent to take the building of this car seriously.

We also asked Tesla to comment on how long the Model 3 would remain available “off menu”, and they declined to comment. We’ve heard nothing on that front until today when Musk stated it will remain for sale.

As we mentioned, Tesla has made similar moves in the past with other models, notably the 40kWh Model S. same justification for killing off that model, saying that consumer demand just wasn’t high enough. This was after a long period of Tesla trying much harder to sell higher than the 40kWh, convincing reservation holders to buy 60kWh instead of get the car sooner, etc.

So Tesla: if you really intend to sell this car, why make it harder, why the list and tell people that nobody wants it? It sounds much like the justification you used for killing the 40kWh Model S, and we hope you won’t use it as an eventual justification to kill this model. We like to be proven wrong

The fact remains that even though a call or store visit is a low barrier to entry, it is a barrier to entry. A barrier that means the consumer is unaware of the availability of the model when shopping around (since it is not listed) and which means a customer must talk to a sales person who will make a great case for why all those amazing features are totally worth that additional ~ 12% increase in price.

And it’s true – the Standard Range Plus seems to have a pretty significant jump in value. When it was first announced, many people were holding out for the base $ 35k car jumped in and got a standard range, figuring the splurge was worth it. Especially since, at the time, the comparison was against the eventual “standard” interior, which Tesla had (and still has not) made Tesla’s synthetic leather interior.

If Tesla can’t sell the $ 35k Model 3 profitably, then its very hard to sell to sell it very hard. But in that case, why introduce it to begin with? Why not just wait until you can get costs down? And what does this all offer for the eventual release of an even cheaper car, something that Tesla has claimed they want to do in the future?

If this is just an honest attempt to keep their promise but to direct customers in any way possible to buy higher-end vehicles, then that’s no big deal. Companies want to sell more expensive products, we can accept that as a reasonable proposition.

We just think Tesla has been less than this whole rollout – and rollback.

Regardless, the Standard Range car continues to be available , though perhaps on life support. All be sure to report on any more developments.


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Faela