From the Tesla blog:
Last quarter, we introduced two new Model 3 variants with more competitive pricing than ever before – Standard and Standard Plus. Since then, Standard Plus has sold at more than six times the rate of Standard, far exceeding our expectations.
Given the popularity of the Standard Plus relative to the Standard, we have made the decision to simplify our production operations to better optimize cost, minimize complexity and streamline operations. As a result, Model 3 Standard will now be a software-limited version of the Standard Plus, and we are taking it off the online ordering menu, which just means that to get it, customers will need to call us or visit any one of the several hundred Tesla stores. Deliveries of Model 3 Standard will begin this weekend.
It was just a month and a half ago — and at the very same time that the promised $35,000 Model 3 became available — that Tesla said that they were going to shutter virtually all of their physical retail stores. Then, just two weeks later, they halted closure of their retail stores and said that they would increase prices instead.
Now, a month later, they’re announcing that, to purchase a base Model 3, you need to go to one of their stores and do so in person. Oh, and because it’s only an artificially limited version of the pricier Standard Plus, it costs the company the same amount to make it. And they’ve made Autopilot standard across the range, because there’s nothing you want more from a company that doesn’t know what it’s doing than a car that drives itself.
Hat tip to George for this link.