Published: Mon, April 15, 2019
Money | By Arnold Ball

Tesla to stop selling $35,000 Model 3 online

Tesla to stop selling $35,000 Model 3 online

Tesla is also offering a Model 3 lease in the United States for the first time, though with a big caveat.

Tesla is apparently moving to retire the $35,000 entry-level Model 3 before shipping the first units, though Autopilot comes standard and customers can now lease the auto. All Model 3 configurations are available, according to Tesla, and the price obviously varies with each.

On its ordering website, Tesla's default options are for customers to make a US$3,000 down payment and spend a total of US$4,199 at signing of a three-year, 10,000-mile annual lease.

This means that the car's hardware is exactly the same Standard Plus, but it's missing features like "onboard music streaming service, navigation with live traffic visualization, and heated seats".

The new Standard will have a software-limited range that's 10 percent less than the Plus.

The cheapest version of the Model 3 has become part marketing ploy, part afterthought for Tesla.

Autopilot now comes bundled as a standard feature for less than the prior cost of the option. As a result, the vehicles will be somewhat cheaper: For example, the Model 3 Standard Plus in the US previously cost 37,500 dollars and the Autopilot option 3,000 dollars - now it costs 39,500 dollars including the Autopilot.

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Tesla's $35,000 Model 3 is no longer available for order online. Customers in the USA can choose from 10,000, 12,000 and 15,000 mile annual usage options, depending on your driving needs and budget. The automotive company has begun leasing its popular vehicle in an effort to start a Tesla Model 3 taxi service.

But along with those adjustments, Tesla is de-emphasising the US$35,000 price point promised when it first unveiled the sedan in March 2016.

Tesla said now people must order the base Model 3 vehicle as an "off-the-menu" item.

A higher variant to the base version, Model 3 Standard Plus begins with a price of $37,500. Now, the vehicle will cost $39,500, effectively making Autopilot a $2,000 premium built into the price.

Tesla now imports all the cars it sells in China. However, there's a catch - buyers will not get a chance to own their respective Model 3 at the end of their lease.

However, unlike other leasing programs, Model 3 customers will not be able to buy their vehicle following the conclusion of the leasing term, as Tesla plans to use these vehicles in its upcoming ride-hailing network in conjunction with full autonomy.

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