Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) must have had recent success producing its new Model 3. It has enough of them to distribute to stores for potential customers to see and drive. Tesla does claim to have several hundred back orders for the vehicle expected make it a mainstream car company, so visitors to its stores may be disappointed.
The Tesla announcement may be just a way for the car company to signal it can actually produce the car in numbers that are more than very modest. Founder Elon Musk said that by now he would be able to build 5,000 a month.
As Tesla said the Model 3 will be available in its stores, it also said people can order them online, sight unseen. In an email to potential customers, company’s management wrote:
Model 3 is coming to a Tesla store near you. Join us for the opportunity to get inside the car of the future and experience our most refined design and engineering ever. Product experts will be available in the showroom to answer any questions you have, or to help place your reservation.
The company posted about 100 locations potential customers can visit in the United States and Canada.
The ability to show the cars is actually a major step forward. The Model 3, with a price tag of about $35,000, should allow Tesla to sell more than several thousand cars a year. This would lift it from its position as a niche luxury car company to one that can post U.S. sales to middle-class buyers and reach the point where its sales can move into the high six figures per annum.
The mass sale of the Model 3 is also considered Tesla’s only path to profitability. It needs to run its manufacturing facilities at scale to justify its large R&D and product development expenses.
The Tesla Model 3 is coming to a store near you. You can’t take one home, but at least you can see it.