Tesla Model 3 Prebuilt Configs Get Delivery Priority, Custom Orders After

Tesla Model 3


It’s not new to us that Tesla is trying to simplify the delivery process for the Model 3, but we can’t say we saw this one coming.

Tesla Model 3 Spy Photo

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was the first to let it be known that early Model 3s would be of similar configuration, foregoing the dual-motor AWD versions until a later date, but what he didn’t reveal is that Tesla may actually come out of the gate with prebuilt configurations of the Model 3 in what’s being referred to as more of an inventory sales approach.

Based on a “source who has been quite reliable so far,” Tesla Model 3 Owners Club states:

“What I was told is that Tesla will be moving to more of an inventory sales approach with Model 3. This process has already started with Model S where Tesla is getting more and more incentivised for the owner advisors each quarter to hit their goals and to push more inventory cars that are prebuilt by Tesla.”

This approach would allow Tesla to build large batches of basically identical cars, minus some different paintwork. These cars would then be “inventoried” and swiped up by the highest reservation holder willing to purchase the prebuilt configuration.

Model 3 makes an appearance atTesla’s debut party for its “Solar Roof” event

Then another large batch of Model 3s with some equipment alterations would be produced and the process would repeat.

This would certainly speed up production and simplify the process and that’s exactly what Tesla has suggesting as its goals for the Model 3.

Tesla Model 3 Owners Club adds…”I’m told this change is already happening at Tesla stores and at corporate.”

Beyond these pre-builds you’d start to see custom configurations. The custom config orders could certainly be placed well in advance, but the builds likely wouldn’t happen until a later date.

We’re fine with this prebuilt, inventoried approach, as it’s sure to get more Model 3 on the road quicker, but we’d be willing to guess that some reservation holders aren’t thrilled by this new methodology.

Source: Tesla Model 3 Owners Club

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95 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Prebuilt Configs Get Delivery Priority, Custom Orders After"

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Not terribly surprised. Easier for logistics – if a unit has QA issues it doesn’t hold up that buyer you can just get the next model off the line with the same configuration. This should increase their delivery rate.

As long as the prebuilt configurations span the price range (35-60k?) and not just the high end models, that’s going to meet a broad cross section of the early reservation holders.

Of course, they will be high end. Whoever wants to get that $7.5K tax deduction will have to buy a loaded Model 3. Tesla needs to make money, once the demand for loaded cars slows down, people will be able to configure their cars. Sounds perfectly reasonable to me…

Could go either way. Low volume high price options may not be as profitable as increasing early volume sales of lower price configs. Till now Tesla was never working for high volume and relatively lower margin sales, but now they are. It changes the ideal sales model considerably.

Good point. Tesla had already headed this direction, starting with phone offers for inventory cars to res holders, then I was part of the batch of customers for what an SA told me were 1,000 new Q3 16 inventory. But many of those also lingered.

Something unique to Model 3 will be what people will sacrifice, simply to get one. There’s profit opportunity there, too. Like gotta go w/fancy wheels, etc, etc.

Tesla already said neither AWD nor Performance version will be available at launch. So fully loaded will not be available much less required for early delivery.

My guess is neither will base stripper.

$39k cloths seats.

$42.5k with leather seats.

$55k well equipped RWD versions.

It really does depend on what is offered on these “pre-built” Model 3’s. If they are bare-bones $35k entry level models, then I think there will be some backlash, if it is the well equipted “average sale price” $42k version then I think many more would be pleased (plus it adds more cashflow). I guess we will all wait and see. (pre-reveal, on-line reserver)

There will still be plenty of demand for bare bones Tesla 3. Considering 400K reservations, even if only 10% want the bare bones, that’s 40K cars.

Frankly, I hope they roll out the bare bones first so that they keep anticipation high for the upgraded models. If they have hardware built-in for software upgrade later, that would be a great way to get the ball rolling even if the software is not yet ready.

If it’s $42k the press will basically say they lied about the price like they did when the Model X launched.

I do not believe so Zac. With the Bolt there are basically 2 trim levels (basic and LT and Premier) — so what if the initial “standard configuration” for Tesla was the Premier version — with the basic and AWD / performance versions to follow? My bet is that if the early deposit folks were surveyed, more would want the + version versus the basic.

GM does not get any crap for offering the 2 versions — so I see no reason why Tesla would not launch a >$35k upgraded version first if more people actually want that version….

In the case of Model X, they had a mythical base price of $74,000 (before $1,200 destination) for the 60D.

But Tesla never delivered (or finished engineering, for that matter) a single Model X with base suspension. The only vehicles delivered had the $2,500 air suspension “option” along with the $3,000 or $4,000 six- or seven-seat configuration. In fact, the five-seater Model X didn’t come out until the 60D was canned.

Those who ordered a zero-options Model X never got their car, or were forced to upgrade (with some compensation). There was never a $74,000 Model X.

I think the true $35,000 Model 3 won’t be ready for at least another 12-18 months. My hunch is that the launch edition Model 3s will start at $45,000, affording Tesla more time to finish developing equipment on the base car. I don’t blame them — I’d do the same in their shoes.

First no AWD and no performance at launch versions, then news of no HUD, now you possibly won’t be able to configure your Model 3 and will be forced to choose from a pre-selected set of cars.

This is all good news though, right?

First: it is only a rumour, second: where are customers “forced” to buy a car they don’t want?

Tesla never mentioned heads-up display, that was a social media invention. Performance and AWD are coming, if you can wait a bit more. It’s still going to be a cracking car in any configuration, patience, patience.

“that was a social media invention”
Fueled by a tweet that said you will feel like you are driving a spaceship. Now it seems as if you will feel like you are driving a stripped down version of a minimalist’s dream.
Still gonna be cool though.

Shhh, you’ll mess up the anti-Tesla vibe.

It is what it is. Do you prefer riding in taxi’s to driving? See, that’s a positive vibe (for all the taxi riders). It’ll be just like a space ship. You go about the cabin, without need to look outside (accept rain, snow, pedestrians, or when not on highways). Ok, so now I’m not so sure, but I really tried for a minute there?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

“now you possibly won’t be able to configure your Model 3 and will be forced to choose from a pre-selected set of cars.”


But there’s a catch, you can still keep your place in line and configure your “Model à trois”.

But there’s another catch!, later you will be able to configure a dual motor version.

Catch 3???? Also, Battery pack option?????

Catch 4: over the air upgrade to things like enhanced auto pilot.

It’s good news for me, as I only signed up for my reservation in December 2016. Anything that increases the velocity of production means I am that much more likely to get some amount of tax credit. I’m on the West Coast but near the end of the reservation line, so I have no idea what to expect for a time frame. I would take pretty much any configuration/options if it means getting in with the full tax credit.

Don’t worry west coast gets model 3 first even if you reserved in december 2016. I’m in Florida and reserved on Sunday right after reveal day, so I’m planning on delivery being April, May, June of 2018.

bro1999 — how do you like your AWD performance version Bolt?

Oh, right…

FWD is just fine, and is all I’ve ever needed. Even living in an area that gets snow in the winter.

Oh, that must be good news for the Bolt for all the people who prefer AWD in the snow, right?

Not to mention the whole performance situation, that must be good news for Bolt owners like yourself too, right? How are you liking your performance package?

Oh, right. You are complaining about delayed Tesla packages like they are the end of the world (and not just delayed) that will never be available on your beloved Bolt. I almost forgot….

How do you like your Model 3 AWD? Oh, right.

How do you like your Model 3 Performance Package? Oh, right.

How do you like your Model 3?, Oh…Right…

Hope that reservation is tasty.

John Ray — Let me guess, yet another Bolt fanboi whining about the Model 3.

Are you seriously whining about the Bolt having a 1/2 year lead, when it took GM 4.5 YEARS to come up with a pure EV with as much range as a 2012 Tesla Model S 60? Is that really your great GM brag, being only 4 and a half years behind Tesla?

So the answer to your questions is that Model S owners have been enjoying all that for nearly half a decade now. While GM pure EV owners have been stuck with a compliance EV in limited compliance states with very limited range. And no superchargers.

Of course the Bolt isn’t even being sold in every state yet, every one of your comments also applies to people who want to buy a Bolt from their local dealership in states where the Bolt hasn’t been released yet. They are sitting on their reservations just like everybody with a Model 3 reservation.

How do you know an AWD version of the Bolt will never be available? Or that an AWD model based on the Bolt platform won’t come out. GM is revealing their FNR-X concept on April 19th. Maybe we will find out then.

“FWD is just fine”

–Said no car enthusiast ever.

So basically… The same model used by most other car manufacturers for U. S. sales…

Yep, evil greedy Tesla…

Exactly what I was thinking. It’s pragmatic and should result in higher sales.

Yep. Tesla is growing up, and realizing why the big players do business in a certain way. Next you know, their going to announce an innovative way to sell more cars faster. It will be amazing. The best. Independent Tesla Store Franchises. You’ll be able to walk in, choose a Tesla from stock on hand, and drive away with your new car that same day.

As long as my pre-built Model 3 has a glass roof, larger battery, and RWD – in blue – I’m good. 🙂

Any color will do.

Sounds like a great reason to survey reservation holders to find out what key elements the majority would want/require. They could state that they are looking to see if the 80/20 rule can be applied to standard off-the-shelf offerings.

Agree – I will check my inbox.

Sounds like Tesla is becoming a “traditional” manufacturer.

Just call it learning from the experts in a natural “maturing” process.

I believe the term is “Economic Darwinism”.

Reads like Tesla is becoming a semi-traditional manufacturer.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

So this method, if from the list of the claimed 400K peeps, if 150 people from all 40-50 states jumped out of line and purchased one of these pre-configured TRIM models, that would make this a Nationwide rollout and not an initial CARB state rollout.

How does anyone expect Tesla to end up producing 500,000 cars per year of they don’t start producing ”standard” inventory to move just like all other manufacturers? Anyone who thought that they could custom build all the time and produce volume has a misconception of how mass manufacturing works. This was to be expected and takes nothing away from Tesla.


Exactly correct. When you have 400K customers, you can build a set of pre-configured cars that will meet the desires of a significantly large number of customers.

Some percent of customers will have either exact matches or close enough matches to what they would custom order. There is nothing wrong with building cars for those customers in the most economic way possible. It keeps costs down for customers who will want to custom order their dream Model 3.

Hey Nix,
Do you think Tesla will let us know what that configuration to be built is???

I would think they would.

I have no idea.

But for everything I’m betting on the least amount of info being released as possible until as late as possible. That seems to be the pattern so far.

They really have no reason to release anything to the public until they are done with Tesla/SpaceX employee orders, and they are ready for non-employees to finalize their reservations.

Hmm good thinking Nix.

That would make a lot of sense to just give the employees a quick to manufacture configuration so they could get the cars on the road ASAP.

This is probably one reason that all Teslas have the full sensor suite. Less variation = less chance for error = faster production.

That and they like to take base cars in in trade, change a few software flags and then sell them as higher end models. It’s like free money for them in CPO sales.

Jean-François Morissette

I think that what they will do is open up the configuration process, and produce batches corresponding to what is asked for, but instead of doing sequentially, they will just look at what is the most common configuration with the better margin, built it first, or a part of it, then move on to another configuration and so on. And they will start again after that. The great benefit of having a significant backlog.

So, like making cookies! Chocolate Chip Cookies on the line Today, Oatmeal Raisin Tomorrow!

“What I was told is that Tesla will be moving to more of an inventory sales approach with Model 3. This process has already started with Model S where Tesla is getting more and more incentivised for the owner advisors each quarter to hit their goals and to push more inventory cars that are prebuilt by Tesla.”

In the past, Pu-Pu has jumped up and down screaming that Tesla doesn’t sell any inventory cars, and berated/insulted anyone who even suggested that they do sell inventory cars. Now he’s proven wrong. It just goes to show that InsideEVs’ loudest and most obnoxious Tesla fanboi/shill is full of it.

“Now he’s proven wrong.”


They still don’t sell inventory cars, but they might start for the Model 3. Seems very easy to understand.

They absolutely do, and have forever. They even show inventory cars when configuring an S or X.

Four Electrics — In the early years, Tesla “Inventory” cars were demo cars and service loaner cars. These were technically new, but they were not what ICE car dealerships would call “Inventory”.

They were not cars that would sit on lots doing nothing while waiting until a potential driver would do a test drive, like typical ICE car dealership inventory.

Sorry Nick, but reading comprehension is not your strong suit. 😉 The quote above clearly stated the following:

This process has already started with Model S where Tesla is getting more and more incentivised for the owner advisors each quarter to hit their goals and to push more inventory cars that are prebuilt by Tesla..”

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. 😀

Or a mountain in Alaska.



Tesla currently has 682 Inventory Model S/X cars for sale in the US:


There is an addition 471 Inventory S/X cars available globally.

This current inventory represents roughly 1% of Tesla’s projected 2017 S/X sales numbers.

Sven, you are behind the times on your childish bickering. For a long time Tesla indeed did not sell new “Inventory” cars outside of service loaner cars and demo cars. Times have indeed changed since then. At that point, an “Inventory” car simply meant that you could buy a car that had been used (for demos or service loaner) that still was technically “new” for purposes of registration and for getting federal and state tax incentives. Those are not the same as having brand new cars just for inventory with zero miles. For a long time, Tesla did not have any of those cars. And any comment made by anybody stating this fact, was 100% correct at that time. Anybody suggesting otherwise was simply an ignorant fool. Even today. roughly 200 out of the 682 “Inventory” cars have 1,000 to 8,000 miles on them. Another roughly 150 have 51 to 999 miles on them, making roughly half the “Inventory” cars demo or service vehicles that are for sale. It is unfortunate that Tesla uses the same “Inventory” label for both service loaners and demo cars that are for sale, and for pure inventory cars that have never been driven and… Read more »

They’re already pushing this for S/X. You are directed toward inventory items before ordering and even while ordering they show a inventory item.

Slowly but surely Tesla is finding out that sometimes there are things to learn from those who have been building cars 100 years longer than you have.

This should help Tesla move a lot more cars without having to staff up sales/delivery logistics proportionally.

If you have 400 000 orders and a car with only 2-3 trim levels and 2 battery sizes you could cover most of the “custom orders” with large pre-built batches.

Jean-François Morissette


It is likely that the Max Available 75 kWh Battery will be one of the included 1st ‘Options’ in the ‘Batch’ run mode; Nicer Seats, and Full Self Driving, are likely other ‘Options’ for a set Batch! From that, built in a few 100 of each selectable color, and away they go!

Likely easier to switch paint shop colors than battery sizes, with each car coming down the line, for instance!

“Full self driving” is just a software license key. All have same hardware standard.

anon – The fact that they will all get the hardware, would actually make it more likely that if you buy an early car that you would be required to buy the full functionality of that hardware.

In other words, Tesla would maximize the value of that hardware by selling it to people who actually want to use it first. Sell it to people willing to pay for it first.

Elon Musk has been talking smack lately telling shareholders to buy Ford if they don’t like it. Telling investors’ to short the stock if they don’t believe the goals will be achieved.
I love it I think he’s feeling really confident that things are going along better than even he anticipatied.

The Ford thing is a reference to the Ford family having much more control over Ford than Musk or his family members have control over Tesla.

For example, the Ford family holding “a special class [Class B] of supervoting shares that gives the Ford family more sway over the automaker’s direction.” where “Class B shares make up less than 2 percent of outstanding Ford shares, but hold 40 percent of the voting power.”


Speed and silver exterior for under $50k.

Next up: partnering with local automobile dealers to scale up sales and service.

Ha ha ha! That might be your dream, but more likely that will not be an American thing for quite some time!

More likely, partnering with Big Box Stores for mire Tesla Pop Up Store Spaces!

This is very similar to the way cars are built and sold in the USA and makes sense.
Pick a good package of options build a couple thousand in various colors (grouped for the paint shop ) and move on to the next build package.

With so many reservations, they could let people do their custom configurations out the gate then produce in batch.

Anyone here who does a custom built can be sure that 1000+ other people will do the exact same configuration.

So, do the unveil, let people do their configurations (including dual motor). Then they can chunk up the production into batches of same configurations.

It’s the color combo choices that make things hard now. If they go with Ford’s (every color as long as it is black) interior, perhaps, for the first say 40,000 units, they can super-simplify things. People may have believed they would have full customization choices when they put in their order, but then again, how does a company “typically” handle hundreds of thousands of custom builds? They don’t.

I believe that anybody can still go into a dealership (Ford, Chevy…) and order a car. It probably has to be done prior to the beginning of the production of the new year, but you can still order a custom car.

Anybody know if that has changed?

I ordered a custom Audi from Germany and had it in 90 days.

No it hasn’t changed. The big boys would just sequence it when they are building other like cars.

Yes, custom orders are rare but they do occur. Dealers rely on the “monster lot” to offer customers various choices that they cave-in to buy right now, right here. Consumers demand ease-of process and as such, custom ordering a Chevy (like my parents did in the 1970s) doesn’t really happen much now except special cases. During a “new phase” – filling a lot with cars and letting people pick and drive is good for volume sales rushes.

One idea I thought of for Tesla is that they ship 100 cars to their sales locations all at the same time and let the fish jump into boats. If you hold a low enough reservation, you can pick up from the lot and they can have an enormous wave of sales which can lead to massive press coverage and interest.

Carnivals are more attractive than libraries. Let’s see how this plays out. Carnivals also do a much better job of taking money out of peoples’ pockets than libraries. I’m sure we all have spent far more at an amusement park (fleeting fun) than giving donations to our local public library (long-term educational benefit0.

Bonaire is correct. And if the dealership doesn’t have the exact car on their lot, and they can’t convince the buyer to take what they have in stock, they simply search other dealership’s inventories. Then they do a swap with the other dealership.

There is rarely any need to special order a car from the factory. Unless you are building an complete unicorn. Like an AWD wagon with a stick shift, cloth seats, and sunroof delete….

I had a near unicorn once. Mazda6 manual trans, sport wagon. Was a demo unit and got a good deal on it. Fun car at the time. Would love to see an electric Model6.

“Anyone here who does a custom built can be sure that 1000+ other people will do the exact same configuration.”

Hmmm, no. Let’s try a little simple math, shall we?

Start with 400,000, and assume any given option will have three evenly distributed choices: Then we only need six choices to get to <1000 apiece.

Of course, that simple math won't reflect reality; many options will be far more popular than others, and many choices (i.e., paint color, interior color/upholstery) will have more than 3 options; others will have only 2.

But still, I think it's a good reality check on your claim that any possible configuration will have thousands of people choosing it.

Many high volume, mid-priced vehicles (Accord, Camry, F150, etc) come in just a handful of flavors (LX, EX, XLT, Lariat…) out of the factory. To get started and up to stated volume this seems both logical and practical for Tesla. I would expect three basic configurations in just a few colors will sell as fast as they can make ’em.

Tesla would be smart to hold back on Dual Motor and other advanced options and custom configurations until after the production line is up to speed and defects are minimized.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

EM has already stated dual motors will be a year out…….roughly.

He later stated that AWD would likely be out before the end of 2017

Tesla seems to be sending very mixed signals here; on the one hand it’s “The Model 3 isn’t as advanced as the Model S, and only a few options will be available for those placing early orders (…so wouldn’t you rather buy a buy a Model S or X right now!)”

…and on the other hand saying “The Model 3 will be the most advanced car ever made, forward-looking and designed for self-driving!”

I certainly understand the need to anti-sell the M3 at this time, but in the long run that’s a pretty poor sales strategy. It’s tempting to say Tesla should just keep mum on the Model 3 until they need to start creating more demand for the car, but unfortunately Tesla has the competing marketing need for getting potential sales of the Bolt EV and other cars to wait for a Model 3.

Therefore I do understand the competing motives here, but nonetheless I think Tesla should pick one coherent sales strategy and stick to it. As it is, they’re just creating confusion.

My Magic Eight Ball Says?

$42,495 ‘pre-configured’ with base paint and wheels.

And they should. With 7500+2500(in CA) on the hood of every car, they really should charge 42k plus for the initial year’s builds. Once the Fed tax credit wanes, the prices should come down as scale ramps up. They have a lot of pre-orders and if customers want one – they will buy one almost at any price. If the first wave goes to employees, then that is $10k off the top right away (for those who can take the fed credit and living in CA).

How does this work with the “special” item that day one orders will receive on their cars? Are they assuming that all pre-configured cars will be day one reservations, or is that special something an easy to add item to these configurations, such as wheels?

Are you talking about the special gift that Elon promised for day 1 reservation holders? That was a high quality print of the Model 3.


No. He also said that day 1 reservations would get cars that would be distinguishable from other M3s on the road. I’m not sure what this would be but it has to be something physically different on the car itself.

Anything more than a special badge or flair on the car (rear?) would be a surprise.

Interesting! I must have missed that bit of news. Thanks for the info. I will research and see if I can turn up anything on that.

The more the facts come out, the more I think it’s time to pull the deposit and wait for the dust to settle. Understand the business side and that I probably had unrealistic expectations but this feels like a car to buy once they’ve built it for a couple of years.

I’m pretty sure YOU should pull your deposit.

For everybody else, there is still time for a lot of dust to settle between now and when anybody will be allowed to finalize their reservations.

You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black…

75kWh versions first, just to beat Chevy Bolt on range…


The larger battery would also fit the requirement that the first cars would be simple. There is very little extra complications for simply building larger battery packs. No additional outside contractors to worry about, and it raises the profit margin for Tesla.

The big battery and requiring people to buy the autopilot options for hardware that will be installed in every car anyways seem to be no-brainers. Besides, the big battery first matches how they rolled out the Model X and S.