Automaker reverses course, but the entry-level US$35,000 ($50,000) Model 3 remains, as does its generous returns policy.

Just two weeks after Tesla announced it would close most of its stores and move to an online sales model, the electric car maker has reversed course.

To soften the blow of the initial announcement, the company used projected savings to reduce prices across its range by around six per cent, while some models in Australia had prices slashed by around $80,000.

The move also allowed Tesla to introduce its much-anticipated US$35,000 ($50,000) entry-level Model 3 variant.

In a post on the company's website, the automaker stated it has now "decided to keep significantly more stores open than previously announced as we continue to evaluate them over the course of several months".

As of today, Tesla says it "will only close about half as many stores, but the cost savings are therefore only about half".

From March 18, at least in the US, prices will rise by around three per cent on the Model S and Model X, as well as the more expensive variants in the Model 3 range.

The price of the entry-level Model 3 remains unchanged at US$35,000, and Tesla is keeping its new return policy, which allows owners to return their vehicles within 1000 miles (1600km) or seven days, whichever comes first.

Despite the about-face, the company claims it is still moving to an online-only sales model, with store staff instructing buyers how to purchase their new car online.

Some stores will keep a small inventory of cars on hand so purchasers can drive away in a new car immediately.