- Some Tesla customers who put down a deposit for a Model 3 are getting restless and asking for their money back.
- Production delays have pushed back initial delivery estimates.
- Other customers have found advantages in the long wait.
Some Tesla customers who put down a deposit for a Model 3 are getting restless and asking for their money back.
In 2016, when Tesla first unveiled the Model 3, CEO Elon Musk said deliveries of the $US35,000 vehicle would begin by the end of 2017. So far, there have been over 450,000 reservations for the Model 3.
Tesla delivered 1,764 Model 3s in 2017, and after the first quarter of 2018, Tesla had delivered a total of 9,946 – indicating that many reservation-holders could face a significant wait for the vehicle.
And the most affordable version of the car won’t become available until sometime between September and December, according to a timeline Musk gave in May. Rebecca Lindland, an executive analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said she didn’t think Tesla would meet that timeline.
“I don’t believe that for a second,” she told Business Insider.
Lindland said she reserved a Model 3 in part because she admired Musk and his ambitions to improve the auto, energy, and space-travel industries.
But as production delays pushed back delivery estimates for the vehicle, Lindland canceled her reservation, nearly two years after she made her deposit. She said she was unsure of when less expensive versions of the vehicle would become available with an all-wheel-drive configuration.
“I like the idea of having a hybrid or electric, but I’m not going to break the bank on one,” she said.
A Tesla representative told Business Insider that all Model 3 reservation-holders in the US and Canada are able to order the rear-wheel-drive (which starts at $US44,000) and all-wheel-drive ($US48,000) versions of the Model 3 with a long-range battery, as well as the performance version ($US64,000). The $US35,000 base model is not yet available to order, the representative said.
Some customers have grown tired of waiting
The extended wait for the vehicle also made Tim Knight, a financial journalist and stock trader who lives in California, second-guess his reservation.
“In my head, I began to kind of talk myself out of it,” Knight said.
Knight owns a Model S, which he called “terrific and flawless,” and he said he believed the Model 3 would provide a similar value at a fraction of the cost. He made his reservation close to the first day orders opened up, but he said he became concerned about the Model 3 as the wait dragged on.
Knight said he figured the delay meant the vehicle would have problems once it was shipped, and realised that after paying for the upgrades and optional features he would want, the vehicle’s price would resemble that of a used Model S, which Knight decided he’d prefer when he was ready to buy another car.
After over a year on the waitlist, Knight canceled his reservation.
“I see them pretty frequently now, and I’ve really never regretted at all ditching my place in line,” he said.
For some customers, like Charles Tam, a regulatory liaison for a medical-device company who lives near Toronto, the wait for the Model 3 left enough time for him and his wife to have their third child and decide they would need a larger vehicle. Over a two-year period, Tam would reserve a Model 3 and take himself off the list twice.
In early 2018, Tam said he and his wife decided a Model X would suit their family better than the Model 3, but after they realised they wouldn’t be able to get a Model X within a month, they opted for a Honda Pilot Touring.
“It wasn’t questioning the technology or the design or anything – the cars are fantastic,” Tam said. “We needed something more immediate.”
Tesla declined to comment on how many cancellations they have received.
The wait has brought advantages for other customers
For other customers, the extended wait for the Model 3 has made them more excited about the vehicle or given them time to prepare for its financial impact.
Erwin Lara, a fire safety and training consultant who lives in California, has waited over two years for the Model 3. That has given him plenty of time to decide which features he’ll want and allowed him to finish paying for his wife’s car.
“For my situation, it’s worked out perfectly,” he said.
Lara configured and ordered his Model 3 on Wednesday and was told by his local delivery center that it will arrive in around two months, he said.
Jonathan Wei, who works in the tech industry in Texas, reserved a Model 3 in March 2016 and said he had become more excited about the car after watching YouTube videos made by people who have received their Model 3s. He got his invitation to configure his Model 3 in April, and, after Tesla missed the delivery timeline it gave him and made a mistake on his paperwork, is set to receive the vehicle soon.
The various delays have left an impression on him, but he said he thinks the car will justify his frustration.
“It’s a hate-and-love relationship. It’s very frustrating to wait this long,” he said. “I think when I get it, I’ll be very happy. I think it’s a great car.”
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