Tesla is moving away from its controversial retail model and will close many of its stores across the United States as it looks to sell vehicle exclusively online.
The electric automaker currently operates roughly 120 stores across the United States, many of which are in malls and shopping centers. For years, Tesla has battled with regulators and supporters of traditional franchised dealerships in order to expand its footprint of stores across the country.
In a statement issued alongside confirmation that the long-promised $35,000 Model 3 is now available to order, Tesla said that closing its physical locations will allow it to reduce the costs of its vehicles.
“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.
“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.
As Tesla winds down these stores, it will make purchasing its vehicles online much easier. A new car can be purchased in North America on a mobile device in roughly 1 minute, and soon customers worldwide will be able to order a Tesla just as easily, the firm revealed.
In a bid to encourage buyers to shop online without test driving it at a physical location, the automaker is offering a seven day, 1,000-mile return policy.
“Quite literally, you could buy a Tesla, drive several hundred miles for a weekend road trip with friends and then return it for free. With the highest consumer satisfaction score of any car on the road, we are confident you will want to keep your Model 3,” Tesla said.