People stand in lines for days to get the latest, greatest version of a new iPhone…they camp out even. Some people get to department stores in the middle of the night on Thanksgiving to grab a bargain on Black Friday and there are always news crews there to cover it.
We saw this phenomenon again recently when people stood in long lines to plop down $1000 for a chance to purchase a Tesla Model 3. Did I say a chance to buy one? Yes, essentially that is what all these folks did. They got caught up in the frenzy, largely avoiding and ignoring, unknown facts.
According to Tesla, 325,000 people gave them possibly the biggest interest-free loan in American history. They needed it, too. They have yet to turn a profit, and according to sources, go into the hole, cash flow-wise, every month.
People put up a deposit on a car that is supposed to be $35,000 with no options. What do you get for that? Nobody knows. Range is supposed to be 215-miles, but since the first car is still a long way from being built, do we really know? Launch is supposed to be in 2017, but given the track record of Tesla launches, 2019 is a much safer bet.
How long does it take to charge the Model 3? Oh yes, we don’t know. Will you need to buy an expensive charger to get a quicker charge to get you back on the road sooner? Probably. What are the crash test ratings? Again, all is unknown given VIN #00001 is still a long way away from reality.
One has to wonder why all those people stood in line to give up a $1000 of their hard-earned money when you could do it all online at the Tesla website. You can go to the website, www.tesla.com to try to find answers, but you’ll only find evasive answers, not unlike a used car salesman in the ‘60s.
For instance, at their website under Q&A, there is the question “what more can you tell me about the Model 3?” Answer: “it will be awesome. We’ll continue to share more about Model 3 with you over the coming months, as we get closer to production. Stay tuned!”
Other interesting tidbits from the Tesla website: “By making your ($1000) reservation, you have secured the approximate priority within your region for taking delivery of your Model 3”. HUH? This is interesting, too: “While this reservation secures the approximate delivery priority within your region, it does not constitute the purchase or order of a vehicle.” Which begs the question, why did I give you my thousand bucks? This deal seems to have more hooks than a trotline.
I also love this from their website: “designed to achieve (then in bold type) 5-Star Safety Rating.” So was the Pinto, but we know how that turned out.
Look, I like Tesla and have strongly considered buying one myself. It is also good to know that America has an appetite for a $35,000 electric car that seats five, has 215-miles of range, and has 5-star safety ratings. The big question is: which car company will eventually build such a car? Time will tell, and I may eat these words, but I doubt it will be Tesla, and can almost guarantee you it won’t be in 2017, or even 2018, and most likely never. I just sincerely hope the company does not go bankrupt and stiff the adoring fans who handed over ten one hundred dollar bills on blind faith.
In the meantime, standing ovation to super-marketer Elon Musk for selling the sizzle with no steak, and pulling off a 325-million dollar cash grab.