Tesla Inc. stopped online sales of the $35,000 base version of its Model 3 car weeks after introducing it, the latest shift in sales tactics as the company struggles to deliver long-promised affordability and avoid losing money.
The company’s TSLA, -2.77% announcement late Thursday said customers can still order the $35,000 version of the car by telephone or in its network of stores. But it effectively raises the minimum price of the Model 3 by nearly 13% for online shoppers, after announcing in late February that it was shifting its sales to the internet as it began making the $35,000 “standard” version available for order.
In a blog post Thursday, Tesla said the move was to “simplify our production operations to better optimize cost, minimize complexity and streamline operations.”
The announcement marked the fourth change to the compact car’s starting price this year, and followed worse-than-expected deliveries of Tesla vehicles in the first quarter, which raised questions among investors about demand for the company’s electric vehicles.
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