Tesla Announces Store Closings As EV Maker Launches $35k Model 3

Mar 1, 2019

Tesla, which has a store at the St. Johns Town Center, is moving to an online-only sales model and closing many stores with word it has introduced the long awaited $35,000 version of its Model 3.

An employee at the St. Johns Town Center Tesla store declined to say Friday whether the Jacksonville store would remain open or how many people are employed there. 

"We will be closing some stores, some reduction in headcount as a result, there’s no question about that. I wish there was some other way," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a press call regarding the news, The Drive, an automotive website, reported

Gina Antonini, a corporate Tesla spokeswoman, also would not comment on whether the St. Johns Town Center store would close but did tell WJCT News that the transition to online-only stores will occur over several 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," Tesla said in a statement.

Telsa also operates a service center in Jacksonville on Philips Highway and has Supercharging locations in Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Those will be unaffected. “We will be increasing our investment in the Tesla service system," said Antonini.

Tesla says it's making the move to online-only sales so it can reduce the price of its cars "while remaining financially sustainable." 

The move comes as Tesla announces its $35,000 Model 3 is finally going into production. Some Telsa customers have been waiting almost three years for the car after putting down online deposits beginning on March 31, 2016, according to Electrek, an EV automotive website.

Tesla says by moving to an online-only sales model, combined with other cost efficiencies, it can "lower all vehicle prices by about 6% on average."

Bloomberg reports that Tesla has forecasted it will build between 350,000 and 500,000 Model 3s this year. To date, all have been the higher priced versions.

According to Bloomberg, Tesla no longer expects to turn a profit in the first quarter but quotes Musk as saying, "We do think that profitability in Q2 is likely.”

Telsa has posted a blog with additional information about the store closings and price reductions.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.