$35,000 Tesla Model 3, "Full Self-Driving" returns, BMW-Mercedes vehicle sharing

Tesla shares are well below the equity conversion rate

Tesla also operates a network of 79 service centers in 26 states and Musk said the company plans to hire more service technicians.

On Thursday, it abruptly said it was closing virtually all of its stores to cut costs and transitioning to online-only sales instead.

Tesla is shutting down all of its retail sales operations, so if you want to buy its cars, you'll now have to do it online. This week, the Securities and Exchange Commission petitioned a judge to hold Musk, who also founded SpaceX and co-founded PayPal, in contempt for posting misleading production statistics on Twitter last month, as per the Wall Street Journal.

Tesla opened the 100 Lake Destiny Drive dealership in 2015 after relocating from a smaller facility in Longwood.

Tesla has been gradually releasing cheaper versions of the Model 3 over the past year, but it has never been able to bring the price down to $35,000 - the mass market price that they have been promising.

For existing Tesla customers, maintenance would shift to mobile fix crews.

It's not now clear how long it would take online vehicle orders to reach worldwide customers, or if the returns policy will be the same.

The Tesla brand, and its ramped up production capabilities, make it likely the cheap (er) Model 3 will turn out to be a popular proposition.

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Autopilot, which is a fancy name for Tesla's semi-autonomous suite of driver assists like adaptive cruise control, will set you back US$3,000 ($4,220).

With the more affordable price point finally reached, Tesla made another announcement: all vehicle sales will now happen online. But CEO Elon Musk affirmed this was the only way for Tesla to meet that long-promised price point on the Model 3 and remain financially stable.

To get "full self-driving", buyers will need to stump up $5,000 extra, which enables "automatic driving from highway on-ramp to off-ramp including interchanges and overtaking slower cars", auto-parking, and "summon", the feature that makes a parked vehicle find the owner.

Investors also were skeptical, in part because Musk predicted a first-quarter loss after pledging to be profitable every quarter.

The store closures will come on top of a decision to cut 3,150 jobs, or about 7 percent of Tesla's workforce, announced earlier this year. It said that customers will be able to purchase a auto via a phone in about one minute and that they'll be able to return them for a full refund after driving them for up to seven days and 1,000 miles.

According to chief executive, Elon Musk, the self-driving software will get an upgrade later this year which will allow it to navigate in more complex city environments.

As Tesla winds down these stores, it will make purchasing its vehicles online much easier. In a conference call with the press, Tesla said online sales circumvent franchise laws, which have dogged the company ever since it first rolled out its direct sales approach.

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