Wanting to "Delight Customers", Tesla Delays Model X Production Again

Ronnie Schreiber
by Ronnie Schreiber

In it’s third quarter letter to investors, Tesla Motors announced that they are pushing back the start of production of their falcon-winged Model X crossover again, this time until the third quarter of 2015. This is the third time that production has been delayed for the Model X, which Elon Musk originally promised for 2013. That was subsequently pushed back to this year, then to late this year and now delayed again. Tesla put a good face on the delay, characterizing it as “a few months”, and attributing the later production start to more extensive validation testing, wanting to “delight customers” when the Model X does start deliveries.

In anticipation of this effort, we now expect Model X deliveries to start in Q3 of 2015, a few months later than previously expected. This also is a legitimate criticism of Tesla – we prefer to forgo revenue, rather than bring a product to market that does not delight customers. Doing so negatively affects the short term, but positively affects the long term. There are many other companies that do not follow this philosophy that may be a more attractive home for investor capital. Tesla is not going to change.

Some folks have questioned whether Elio Motors will ever start production of it’s low-cost high mpg reverse trike because of its repeated delays in reaching production, now coincidentally also schedule to begin in the second half of 2015. One wonders if those same people will be as skeptical about the Model X. Of course, it isn’t a completely fair comparison as with over 33,000 deliveries of the Model S to date, and the Tesla Roadster before that, Tesla has already proven that they can put at least one vehicle into production. Still, Tesla’s announcement of the delayed Model X shows that contrary to what the Elio skeptics would have you believe, production delays are a part of the car biz.

Tesla Motors Q3 2014 Stockholder Letter

Ronnie Schreiber
Ronnie Schreiber

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, the original 3D car site.

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  • Tosh Tosh on Nov 06, 2014

    I'm glad I'm not designing those door seals! I can see them becoming a yearly replacement...

  • Xeranar Xeranar on Nov 06, 2014

    Technically Tesla has released two models, a roadster and the Model S. If anything this is an example of how hard it is to break into a long-term stabilized and monopolized industry. High cost of entry, difficulty in managing long resource lines, delays, it's all part of the program. Ultimately the Model X will show up and sell probably double Tesla's total output. The Elio actually will roll off the production line I'm sure, I'm just not sure it has a sizable enough market to sustain it.

  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys dudes off the rails on drugs and full of hate and retribution. so is musky.