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Tesla begins sales of cheapest yet Model 3 auto variant in China

Tesla begins sales of cheapest yet Model 3 auto variant in China

A longer range and additional features will be switched on in the $39,500 auto, known as the Standard Plus model. They'll have to call or visit a store instead, and the vehicle won't come with Autopilot.

In addition to the Model 3 trim changes, the company said Autopilot is now standard on every vehicle it sells.

Previously, the starting price for a Model 3 in China was 407,000 yuan for a rear-wheel-drive long range version with no Autopilot.

Tesla unexpectedly delivered a lot of major news this evening, mostly centered around the Tesla Model 3.

Anyone looking to buy the "Standard Range" Model 3 will now have to do so at a Tesla store.

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After the federal tax credit available on its cars halved January 1, Tesla has dropped prices, added features, streamlined its model lineup, and introduced new lower-priced options for the Model 3, including the long-promised $35,000 base Model 3 Standard Range. It will be software limited to a 220 mile range, and music streaming, navigation and heated seats will be software disabled. The blog post said Tesla was making the changes to "simplify vehicle choices and to make Autopilot more affordable". Customers who want this version from now on won't be able to get from Tesla's online ordering menu - they'll have to call or visit a store instead. A challenge to vehicle demand has been the lowering of a USA tax credit on Tesla vehicles to $3,500 from $7,500 previously. The company pitched the change as an added value since, for example, the $37,500 Model 3 Standard Plus required an extra $3,000 to add Autopilot.

To make that easier to stomach, Tesla has also introduced leasing.

Lessees can choose leases at 10,000, 12,000, or 15,000 miles per year. Deliveries of the vehicle at that price point - the big promise of the Model 3 when it was first unveiled in March 2016 - are just beginning this weekend.

Apparently addressing controversy over Autopilot price cuts, Tesla has chose to simply bundle the feature as a standard safety feature across its entire lineup. Notably, leasers won't have the option to purchase their auto at the end of the lease as Tesla aims to repurpose them for its future ride-hailing network. The minimum deposit is $3,000, but the payment due at signing will vary from $4,199 to $4,584 depending on the variant.

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