Some Tesla Model 3 reservation holders are claiming stores are not only pushing them to buy an inventory Model S, but also providing misinformation about EV tax credits.
It's no surprise that Tesla store reps are trying to get Model 3 reservation holders to give up their place in line and buy a Model S instead. This could be appealing to some since they could have the Model S now and it may be months or years before they get their Model 3. This is especially true if the Model S is already in inventory and available for immediate delivery, or even a deeply discounted CPO vehicle.
Once an eager and impatient Model 3 reservation holder walks into a Tesla store, sees the Model S and is told that he/she can potentially drive it away today, the prospects may improve. However, the prospects may not improve very much once the customer is reminded that the transaction is going to be considerably more expensive than that of the Model 3. How then can the Tesla employee make the deal more appealing?
Well, if you get a $7,500 rebate on a lower-end Model S, but may not be able to get the rebate by the time your higher-end Model 3 comes along, then the price difference becomes less of an issue. According to several sources, Tesla store employees have utilized this math. One Redditor, dntbevl1, explained:
"This happened to me as well (day 1 reservation CA). They implied that there was only a $3k difference in price between the models (comparing fully loaded 3 vs. base S w/ tax credit). I told them this was very misleading and corrected their understanding of how the tax credit works."
Now, let's take it a step further. What if a Tesla store employee told you that you may not only miss out on the rebate for your Model 3, but if you don't buy a Model S right now you could miss out on the rebate for that transaction as well? So, hypothetically, your chances of getting a Tesla could disappear. Here's hoping that these salespeople are simply confused, or the customers making the reports misunderstood the context of the discussion. Reddit user Turtlesz shared:
"I have been interested into going for a new Model S after realizing the config of the Model 3 I wanted was $56.5k vs $79k for a Model S of my choice."
"The store reps were trying to sell an inventory model and said if I didn't act quickly I would miss out on the full tax incentives, which I knew was complete BS. They even said if I custom built a Model S with delivery of late September it also might be cutting it close and not guaranteed to get all credits. The inventory model was more expensive then the new 75 build I wanted and didn't have the air suspension and new faster drive unit."
"The 3's longer range, newer computing power (less UI lag), and similar interior storage makes it tough to spend on the S, just disappointed that I got the grimy salesperson feeling that traditional dealers are known for."
Tesla has only sold about 135,000 vehicles thus far in the U.S. Based on the language associated with the federal EV credit, once the automaker hits the 200,000 mark, six more months pass before the credit is cut in half. Six months later the credit is halved again and then six months after that, it expires. So there's no way possible that the credit could expire before the end of September. Perhaps the store reps were talking about state incentives or confused the information between the Model 3 and the Model S, or they were talking about the potential of the new administration banishing the rebate altogether.
No matter how it played out, it's definitely not good business and Tesla is apprised of the situation. The automaker is fully aware of inconsistencies and confusion among salespeople and is working to put a stop to such tactics.