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Musk: Shipping base-price Model 3 at this point would cause Tesla to lose money

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Enlarge / Elon Musk, Chairman, CEO, Tesla. (credit: Getty Images)

After announcing a $78,000, performance version of the Tesla Model 3 on Saturday night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk again took to Twitter over the weekend to say that it may be months more before customers will be able to buy a base-price Model 3. Thus far, all Model 3s delivered have been $49,000 models, according to The New York Times. On top of that, Consumer Reports released a review of the Model 3 that pointed out issues with its braking. Musk admitted the issues on Monday and said he believes they could be fixed with a firmware update.

On Sunday, the CEO tried to explain why people who want base-price Model 3s are still waiting. “With production, 1st you need to achieve target rate & then smooth out flow to achieve target cost. Shipping min cost Model 3 right away wd cause Tesla to lose money & die. Need 3 to 6 months after 5k/wk to ship $35k Tesla & live,” Musk tweeted.

The $35,000 Model 3 has long been billed as a more affordable take on a luxury brand. The lower price would popularize electric vehicles (EVs) among more middle-class consumers, and promises of high-volume purchases have kept investors optimistic. Still, Tesla has struggled to push out significant numbers of Model 3s due to bottlenecks in the manufacturing process.

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