Tesla’s Model X SUV is one of the most anticipated cars on Earth right now.
It’s due to arrive in 2015, and Tesla recently retooled its assembly line in Fremont, Calif. to be able to build it.
Customer interest is high. But that doesn’t mean Tesla is trying to satisfy it.
During Tesla’s second-quarter earnings call on Thursday, CEO Elon Musk told JPMorgan’s Ryan Brinkman that the company actually steers buyers away from the Model X (this is from the Seeking Alpha transcript):
There are no cars available for a test drive. There is no information about the cars in our stores because we’re only selling the [Model] S. In fact, if somebody comes in who wants to buy the X, we try to convince them to buy the S. So we anti-sell it.
Obviously, it’s great for Tesla if it can sell another Model S, a car that starts at $US70,000 (before federal and state tax incentives). And the company is taking $5,000 reservations for the Model X. But it’s fascinating that the automaker isn’t really trying to preemptively generate big demand for its falcon-winged SUV-minivan mashup. As Musk told Goldman Sach’s Patrick Archambault:
We can drive demand up at will. But if drive it up too much, then people would get upset with us because they waited too long for their car….[W]hen I was visiting in China, the only unhappiness I saw was…because customers were upset about waiting too long for their car. So it’s like, boy, we better not stoke demand in that situation.
Anti-sell and avoid stoking demand — it’s a remarkable way to run a car company.