The Curious Case of the Missing Model 3

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
the curious case of the missing model 3

Few — if any — journalists cover Tesla with the same dogged determination as former TTAC managing editor Ed Niedermeyer, and he’s just shed light on a perplexing mystery: The case of the missing Standard Range Model 3.

We’re talking about the base, $35,000 Model 3 promised at the model’s launch three years ago. The vehicle Tesla finally opened orders for in February, apparently after working some magic that made the long-awaited variant’s appearance financially viable. It seems that not only are would-be owners still waiting, but Tesla is doing its damndest to sway them from the purchase.

You can read more at The Drive. The Standard Range Model 3, accompanied by a “Plus” model that boosts range from 220 miles to 240, was expected to begin reaching customers in two to four weeks after Tesla’s announcement, but those deliveries were later pushed back.

Amid a flurry of across-the-board pricing changes, workforce culls, and general retail confusion at Tesla, customers have taken to numerous online forums to complain of further delays sent to their phones via text message. These ones come without a specific date or timeline attached. On top of that, some customers report Tesla attempting to upsell them to a pricier model over the phone.

disappoints again. I downloaded twitter just to post this. My family put down a $1,000 deposit the first day Tesla took money. We put down $2,500 as soon as they accepted money for the. We got a message…delivery Friday!Then 2 days latter told JK :(

— Eric Paoli (@ericedwardpaoli) March 25, 2019

Given the company’s current state of flux, one wonders just how financially viable the Standard Range Model 3 actually is. Doubts existed before this, what with the model’s release coinciding with the move to an online sales model and subsequent retail store closures. While those closures were soon pared back, the subsequent price increase applied to all Tesla models omitted the Standard Range Model 3.

As more and more customers take to forums and social media to vent their frustrations, it appears as though literally no one has taken delivery of a Standard Range model. Standard Range Plus, yes, but the cheapest Tesla — the EV for the masses — remains a ghost. Some customers call the automaker’s actions a “bait and switch.”

It’s possible there’s a delivery jogjam in need of clearing, or, just as possible, the company has yet to build any of the Standard Range models. At some point, it has to, regardless of what it anticipates the demand will be.

[Image: Tesla]

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  • Rickkop Rickkop on Mar 26, 2019

    After looking at all the options and choices, I can't understand why anyone would want a base Model 3. You seem to get so much more by stepping up a bit

    • See 2 previous
    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 27, 2019

      @JohnTaurus "Lol, why does anybody buy a $35k car?" That happens to be the average transaction price for a car these days.

  • Bluegoose Bluegoose on Mar 27, 2019

    How many base models do you find at any dealership? Very few. The more expensive models are ordered first. The same thing is going on here. The base model seems to exist only to justify the bait and switch $110 Lease!! ads you see on dealership TV commercials. Yes, the base model exits. Good luck finding one.

    • See 1 previous
    • HotPotato HotPotato on Mar 30, 2019

      @ToddAtlasF1 Years ago my old boss insisted on seeing the loss-leader car from the ad, hidden behind the service center under a tarp. It was a black Camry, plastic wheel covers on steelies, no options. She wanted leather and a sunroof but was too cheap to step up to a better trim like a good consumer, and finally the dealer relented and agreed to install an aftermarket sunroof and leather with an out the door price still way less than anything else on the lot. I still don't know quite how she pulled it off, but imagine Matlock in a dress and you've got her basic MO.

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