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A few stores in high visibility locations will be reopened with smaller crews.

Tesla had closed 10 percent of stores recently. The ones that remain open will act as information hubs for potential buyers, but will also carry cars in their inventory to be used for test drives and even sales. The return policy of 1000 miles or 7 days also remains in place.

The company stressed that its lowest-priced EV, the $35,000 Model 3, will not get a price hike.

Tesla is "clearly in need of a stronger middle management layer", Ellinghorst said. Ramsey asked. "It's nearly as if the decision was announced and made without any analysis of what the outcome would be".

Tesla on Sunday walked back its previous decision to close its retail outlets and move to an online-only model, but it's not business as usual for the electric-car builder's showrooms.

In late February Tesla boldly stated it would be closing its physical retail location in favor of an online ordering system. If a buyer must have a vehicle at the exact moment they're interested, some stores will also have a handful of cars for immediate delivery. The dispute arose after Musk tweeted that he was taking the company private at a price of $420 a share, which the SEC considered false and misleading, and looked to sue Musk for securities fraud. He was also required to step down as chairman of the company's board and pay a $20 million fine.

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Tesla is clearly iterating wildly as it attempts to find the balance of retail store spending and non-value-add overhead on a vehicle purchase, but these wild shifts in employee placement strategies leave their own employees, both former and current, up in the air.

A Tesla spokesman declined comment Monday beyond the company's statement.

The settlement between Musk, Tesla and the SEC resolved an SEC lawsuit over claims Musk had made on Twitter previous year that he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private at $420 per share.

Tesla has never really let up since then, with the company seemingly moving even more vehicles this Q1 2019 as the Model 3 started its European and Chinese push. That's a price point needed to reach more consumers and generate the sales that the company needs to survive, Musk has said. So that makes models S, 3, X and Y.

Less than a fortnight ago the electric auto maker said it was taking sales nearly entirely online in a move it said would reduce the cost of selling a vehicle by up to 6pc and help lower the cost of its cheapest auto, the Model 3, down to $35,000 (£26,700).

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