Tesla Flings Incentives, Builds Volunteer Army in End-of-Quarter Push

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Tesla Motors is currently offering up a bevy of incentives, even a few it once discontinued, in order to maximize deliveries before the end of the quarter. The brand has also reached out to enthusiastic owners who may want to help during its time of need, creating a weird sort of volunteer army for itself.

The company is desperate to prove to investors that Model 3 volume is making meaningful headway before its next shareholders meeting. As you’ll recall, the Department of Justice opened a criminal investigation after the Securities and Exchange Commission began a civil probe into Elon Musk’s August tweet about possibly taking Tesla private. The automaker also fired more than 3,000 employes over the summer and lost several important executives. It’s been a rough year for the brand, which makes having a good quarter all the more important.

While a significant portion of that battle is being waged at the factory, helped by simplified paint options and new car carriers, Tesla thinks it can move enough extra metal at its delivery centers to make up some of the difference.

Musk was at the automaker’s delivery hub in Fremont, California, on Saturday, Bloomberg reports, while Tesla fans picked up slack at other delivery centers. The company is offering $100 credits toward charging, and even free charging, in some cases. While the brand officially ended free Supercharger access, based on its referral program, Elon Musk said he would extend it through September.

The outlet reported that Tesla’s sales staff are authorized to offer 1 year of free Supercharging to those buying non-performance Model 3 inventory vehicles if they’ve purchased it with a referral code and take delivery by the end of the month. However, unlimited charging is only available to those purchasing the Model S, Model X, or the dual-motor Model 3.

Earlier this month, Tesla held an event in which it encouraged customers to come in and nab same-day deliveries with inventory Model 3s, rather than wait months for a custom order. It’s all part of a big push to cull the company’s sizable backlog and finalize as many sales before the quarter wraps.

From Bloomberg:

Musk alluded to the pressure the company is under in an email to employees published as a blog post on Sept. 7. Tesla “is about to have the most amazing quarter in our history, building and delivering more than twice as many cars as we did last quarter,” he wrote. “For a while, there will be a lot of fuss and noise in the media. Just ignore them.”

In the August letter to shareholders, Musk said the automaker expects to become both sustainably profitable and cash-flow positive in the second half of 2018 for the first time in its 15-year history.

Tesla delivered 18,449 Model 3s in the second quarter, according to the shareholder letter, and said in July that 11,166 were in transit to customers. Goldman Sachs analyst David Tamberrino, who has a sell rating on the stock, estimates third-quarter Model 3 deliveries of about 52,000.

While Tesla’s volunteers cannot directly help with those sales, the automaker tapped them to assist shoppers with any questions they might have. Omar Sultan, a Model S driver who intends to get his son a Model 3 and is already married to a women that drives a Model X, recently lent a hand at the Tesla store in Rocklin, California. “We’re complementary to the Tesla employees,” he said. “A lot of people getting the Model 3 are buying an electric car for the first time, and they have a lot of questions about charging that we’re happy to answer.”

[Image: Tesla Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Civicjohn Civicjohn on Sep 26, 2018

    That’s it! Blunts at every SC station, they can book some revenue from those who forgot where they parked, dude, it’s like so hard to remember...

  • Eliyahu Eliyahu on Sep 26, 2018

    Fleet sales to Uber will save Tesla, no blunts required.

  • Lorenzo It's an election year, and Biden will drag down enough democrats without the state going deeper in the budget hole than it is now. Newsom isn't the smartest guy, but he has smart guys to tell him the state is running out of other people's money.
  • MaintenanceCosts The symbol is the standard international sign for "controlled access highway." Presumably they are trying to evoke the Autobahn.
  • MaintenanceCosts Absolutely. Most old classics are not Boss 429s or Busso Alfas. Most of them have powertrains that are just crap by modern standards. I'd love to have a classic without the pre-emissions stinky exhaust or the need to futz around constantly with points and jets to maintain drivability.
  • Ravenuer No, I wouldn't be interested in doing this at all. Seems like it would be quite expensive.
  • Tassos Why buy either when you have two matching 2007 diesel e-classes with combined over 950k km. NO ONE SHOULD WANT MORE THAN I HAVE SETTLED FOR.