Tesla to power down in Milton Keynes?

1 March 2019, 12:50 | Updated: 1 March 2019, 12:53

Tesla Electric Car

Store closure plans by electric car manufacturer Tesla have raised questions about the future of its site at the intu Centre in Milton Keynes and others across the UK and Ireland.

Tesla announced on Thursday that it will only sell its electric cars online to allow it to market its Model 3 vehicle for 35,000 dollars (£26,335) in the US.

As a result, the Silicon Valley company said it would be "winding down many of our stores" over the next few months, with "a small number of stores in high-traffic locations remaining as galleries, showcases and Tesla information centres".

Details of the number of possible store closures or job losses have not been revealed, but Tesla has 378 stores and locations worldwide.

The firm said it has 18 stores in the UK and Ireland, some of which are alongside service centres.

Store sites include intu Milton Keynes, eight in London and other locations including Bristol, Cambridge, Birmingham, Solihull, Manchester South, Knutsford, Leeds, Edinburgh and Dublin.

There are also five service only locations in Milton Keynes, Bristol, Edinburgh, Weybridge and Dartford, with the latter two for sales or test drives by appointment only.

Aberdeen and Glasgow are contacted through the Edinburgh sales office, while Newcastle is the Leeds sales office. No-one is based at these locations.

A spokeswoman for Tesla was unable to provide details of how the company's plans might affect its operations in the UK and Ireland.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk wants to produce a mass market sedan at the $35,000 price point to help the company reach more consumers and generate greater sales.

The online sales shift will enable Tesla to lower all vehicle prices by 6%, on average, including its higher-end Model S and Model X.

Mr Musk said:

"This is the only way to achieve the savings for this car and be financially sustainable.

It is excruciatingly difficult to make this car for $35,000  and be financially sustainable."

The store closures come on top of a decision to cut 3,150 jobs - about 7% of Tesla's workforce - announced earlier this year.

The Model 3 is currently not on sale in the UK, with right-hand drive markets due to begin in the second half of this year.