Tesla Motors isn’t rolling its $35,000 Model 3 electric car off the factory floor anytime soon, but the Silicon Valley automaker has offered some advice to eager early adopters who want to be among the first to own Tesla’s electric people’s car.
The best way to get one is to go to the front of the line, either by showing up at one of the company’s retail outlets or by signing up online when reservations begin at the end of the month, the company said Monday.
And it helps to live close to the company’s factory in Fremont, California.
"It is not possible to ship to all regions simultaneously because regulators in each part of the world have slightly different production requirements," the company said in a blog post. Tesla added it plans to stagger deliveries, saying doing so would allow the company to "provide the best possible customer experience."
Reservations can be made online or at Tesla retail outlets beginning at 8:30 p.m. California time on March 31. That’s when the company will show to the world the first working prototype of the Model 3. Production of Tesla’s most important model —which is priced lower than a high-end Toyota Camry after U.S. federal tax incentives — isn’t scheduled until late 2017. Most customers can expect their cars well into 2018, especially if they live abroad.
Production constraints have vexed Tesla ever since the 2013 release of the Model S. U.S. customers were left waiting longer for the luxury electric sedan when Tesla began staggering deliveries to Europe and Asia. Production of the Model X was delayed numerous times, in part because of the technical challenges to the vehicle’s articulated “falcon wing” doors.
While it’s safe to assume the company has learned from past mistakes and worked out kinks to its supply and production chain, Tesla could still face industrial-startup birthing pains as it juggles three automotive production lines from one factory, something even major automakers with dozens of plants worldwide have grappled with on a much larger scale.
Tesla offered special advice for anyone who really, really wants that Model 3 ASAP.
“As a thank you to our current owners, existing customers will get priority in each region, meaning that the fastest way to buy a Model 3 is to buy a Model S or Model X,” the company said. So the fastest way to get that Model 3 is to spend $75,000 on an entry-level Model S.
Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) shares rose nearly 3 percent Monday after investment adviser Argus boosted its ratings to “buy” from “hold” and set a 12-month stock price target of $333, which would put the company’s share price solidly into record-high territory. Most analysts still have a “hold” or lower rating for Tesla’s stock, citing slower-than-expected Model X production. But more recently some advisers have been upgrading their assessments.
Tesla’s share price is almost flat for the year and up almost 21 percent over the past 12 months. The stock has risen more than 560 percent over the past three years.