Elon Musk says Tesla will raise prices and slow down store closures

Tesla will raise prices and backtrack on closing most of its stores

Tesla caused controversy in recent weeks announcing it would shut its stores and shift worldwide sales to online only. As a result of that decision, the company says it will have to increases prices on most of its models. Because many states mandate that only dealers, not manufacturers, can sell cars in stores, Tesla customers don't technically close the deal at the showroom. In a turnabout from the store-closing decision that caught staff and investors off guard, the company has since chose to keep "significantly" more locations open, according to a blog post.

Tesla also announced Monday that it has purchased car-hauling trucks and trailers from a California company in a stock deal worth about $14.2 million.

The renewed public battle between Tesla's CEO and the SEC adds pressure on Musk, the public face of the electric vehicle-maker who is struggling to make it profitable after cutting the price of its Model 3 sedan to $35,000. The higher prices will take effect on March 18.

Many Tesla sales employees were left wondering whether their stores - and jobs - would be among those immediately cut.

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Price increases will only apply to more expensive Model 3, Model S, and Model X vehicles.

Potential Tesla auto buyers will have a week to place orders before prices rise for the Model S and X, the company said Monday.

The company gave no numbers, but said it would close only about half the stores that it had meant to.

Less than two weeks after Tesla said that it would cut all vehicle prices by an average of 6 percent and shift sales on online only, the electric vehicle (EV) maker is backpedaling on the stores closure plan and is lifting auto prices by 3 percent, except for the $35,000 Model 3.

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The case is the latest major challenge by authorities to Musk's leadership as Tesla seeks to make good on his promises to Wall Street that it will soon by consistently profitable and will not need more capital.

Tesla is in the process of reviewing the performance of its stores, both in terms of sales and foot traffic, to determine which will stay open. The return policy of 1000 miles or 7 days also remains in place.

In announcing the move on February 28, CEO Elon Musk said it was necessary to cut costs in order to profitably sell the mass-market version of the Model 3 sedan for $35,000.

"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.

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