We're not going to see Tesla's production version of the Model X SUV until customers get them

Tesla model x detroit auto show naias 2013Alex Davies / Business InsiderWaiting. Waiting. Waiting.

On a Wednesday conference call with analysts after Tesla reported earnings, CEO Elon Musk was asked if the electric car-maker’s new Model X SUV would be showing up at any events or auto shows this year, prior to delivery to customers in late 2015.

“We’re not going to show the X until it’s delivered,” Musk said.

We have seen a prototype Model X …

… and a pre-production version at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show …

… and more recently a “test mule” at an abandoned Navy base in California …

Typically, an automaker would choose a big, flashy moment to reveal its new car, especially one as important to its future as the Model X is for Tesla.

After all, Tesla pulled out all the stops when it debuted the all-wheel-drive version of its Model S sedan last October.

But if Musk is to be believed, Tesla is going to play it very cool with the Model X debut.

There are two ways to interpret this.

First, Tesla doesn’t need to showcase the car. Thousands of people have already put down deposits. That’s publicity enough.

Second, Tesla won’t be ready to show the Model X in a production version until quite literally the cars start rolling off the assembly line. The launch has already been pushed later in the year than Tesla originally planned. And if the company makes good on its promise to built a combined 55,000 Model S’s and X’s, it simply may not have any X’s that are ready for prime-time — that it can spare.

For Tesla, the customer comes first!

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