Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, announced that US customers will be given a one-month free trial of the company’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology. This comes as the company faces softening demand and increased price competition, putting pressure on sales and margins. Musk promoted the FSD software, priced at $12,000, as a potential source of profit for Tesla. However, achieving full autonomy has been a challenge due to regulatory and legal scrutiny of Tesla’s safety and marketing practices.

In a post on the X social media platform, Musk announced that all US cars capable of using FSD will have the feature enabled for a month-long trial starting this week. He directed Tesla staff to provide FSD demonstrations to new customers and owners of serviced vehicles, in an effort to demonstrate the technology’s capabilities. Despite Musk’s enthusiasm for the software, FSD adoption rates are declining in North America, with just 14% of customers purchasing the suite in the third quarter of 2022, down from a peak of 53% in 2019.

Tesla’s margins were affected by a price war with competitors and lower FSD take-up rates. The company warned of slower shipment growth this year as it focuses on production of its next-generation electric vehicles. Analysts believe Musk’s recent push to demonstrate FSD is aimed at boosting shipments and revenue, in line with past quarter-end tactics. The FSD software, which requires active driver monitoring, is also available as a subscription for $199 per month.

By Samantha Johnson

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