Tesla Model 3 Order Process – Why In-Store First Makes Perfect Sense


Tesla Store

Tesla Store


Tesla Store

Tesla Store

Tesla will take Model 3 orders in stores first, followed by online orders the second day. Why? People are speculating that Musk et al want people to line up at Tesla stores, or even camp out, as a PR spectacle. TeslaMondo sees other angles to this story.

  1. Personal contact. For many folks, this will be their first interaction with Tesla. It behooves them, and behooves Tesla, to have face-to-face contact. Orders made in person probably will stick better than impersonal click-to-order business.
  2. Logistics. Customers will learn where exactly their closest store is located, where to park, how the store operates, store hours, financing process, “trade-in” process, and with any luck, they will get to know Tesla personnel. All the better for a smooth relationship going forward.
  3. Peripheral sales. Tesla sells other stuff, you know. And you just know that many customers will take home souvenirs. This spreads brand awareness to family, friends. Major automakers also benefit from in-store traffic, even from recalls. Some people end up buying a new car, or opting for more elaborate service work, or picking up some all-weather mats on the way out.
  4. Spill-over traffic. Mall-based Tesla stores will win kudos from neighbors, for pulling in customers. Tesla, a good neighbor? Another boost to the brand.
  5. Possible paradox. A cattle-house atmosphere tends to hurt CSI (customer satisfaction index). TeslaMondo is writing this post on residents’ Day, when car dealers tend to sell a ton of cars — and suffer a knock in CSI. People don’t like to feel like livestock.
  6. Exposure to Model S/X. Too expensive for you? That’s okay. Just marvel at them in person anyway. Gets you pretty excited about Tesla, no?
  7. EV education. People will have questions about EV ownership. With any luck, they’ll leave the store feeling much more comfortable with the idea, having been set straight by a Tesla representative who, with any luck, reeks of credibility.

Brick and mortar stores do have a role in the marketplace, especially when your brand, retail model and proposed lifestyle are all novel. TeslaMondo thinks that anyone seriously pondering an in-store order should make a practice run beforehand, to get some preliminary questions answered. Anything to help the flow when those floodgates open.

*Editor’s Note: This and other Tesla-related posts appears on TeslaMondo. Check it out here.

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92 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Order Process – Why In-Store First Makes Perfect Sense"

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I can’t wait to wait in line lol it’s funny because it’s true

I’m with you. It’s kind of exciting to go wait in line for a product that will absolutely change the car market and speed us to a lower carbon future.

I imagine in my city at least 1,000 people will want to order in the first day. I am planning to do a drive by when the mall closes on march 30th and be prepared with sleeping bags, coffee, snacks etc to spend the night if needed. I could care less about an iphone, but a car is a different story. Just hope Tesla doesnt disappoint me with the design.

Lol I have a big family and we are good at waiting in lines for roller coaster and yep what ever new Apple product there is it seems like but this is the line I have been waiting for more then all combined

I live in NYC and hate waiting on lines. It’s been 3 years since the Cronut debuted ($5 each, limit 2 per person), and the Cronut line is still around the block every morning!!! I refuse to wait in long line to buy a Cronut, especially when you can order them online albeit 2 weeks in advance, but you can order 6 instead of being limited to 2. But I do admit that back in the day, I often waited on line to buy soup from The Soup Man (Soup Nazi from the Seinfeld show), and I didn’t like soup. His soup was fantastic.

I’m still debating whether to put down a deposit on the Model III on March 31.



I forgot to mention, if you want to order a Cronut online you must do it at 11am sharp on Monday morning two weeks before the week of pickup on the bakery’s website:


Also, you can buy soup from The Soupman online:


Are you debating on putting down a deposit at all? Or debating 31st in store vs. 1st online?


It also will reduce the number of scalper Model 3 registrations.

“It also will reduce the number of scalper Model 3 registrations.”

Not transferable

More precisely, a reservation is transferable only with the approval of Tesla. For instance, “Bonnie”, a popular member of the Tesla Motors Club forum, was able to transfer her reservation for a Signature Model X to someone else, after she… won?… a Founder’s edition MX.

Actually Bonnie took delivery of a white signature #2 and kept it for a short time before she sold it. I will agree with what you said about transferring a reservation though.

Ack! My apologies to everyone for spreading misinformation.

And my thanks for your correction.

That makes sense, the first time I climbed into a Model S was at the Houston TX Galleria Mall store while visiting family. After that, they built a “dealer” right here in Charlotte NC where I test drove one. The worst part of that test drive was going back to my Volt…

Tesla store. They don’t have dealerships. They own all their locations.

Hence the quotes.

I don’t think actually own the space in their mall locations.
To explain putting something in “”
(similar to putting something in parenthesis). It’s like a nod and a wink, to use a British expression. We all know they are not dealers so the in quotes is sometimes used like sarcastic shorthand, that, in this case, requires a long explanation.

A joke explained, is never funny.

maybe we’ll see you there with our Volt, we did a couple trips to the Raleigh store and managed to happen by the Matthews (Charlotte) Store at closing one day.

It’s a fairly long drive as SC is marked in red on the can I buy a Tesla in my state map. We’re trying to decide between Factory Delivery and a road trip, or drop off at home/work or wherever the closest store is at the time.

I think the “in store” ordering period should last longer, perhaps several days to a week or more? before opening up online reservations, ( I doubt they will be actual orders but like in the past just keeping your place in line until you get an invitation to configure ) The thing is not going to be available until late 2017 or probably beyond that so bringing people into the stores to place their orders might be a good thing.

I am in the market for a model S right now But might wait until March either way I’m still gonna put $1000 down on the model three in March The only thing is if I’m buying two model threes or one basically I have four kids so they can’t fit in a model three but we could fit them all in a model S and have my wife drive the model three

The model S would be from the CPO program
Looking to spend around 50 I am not rich lol it’s just time to replace two cars at my house

I thought about Tesla too (I have 4 kids as well); however in central arkansas, there is no Tesla that can make it to the nearest supercharger, and we take several trips each year. It will be a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid for me. It pairs well with my Volt that I have had for 5 years.

We have a town and country now and a leaf the leaf is a 2011 so it needs replaced I live in Ohio 20 min away from a supercharger so I think a model s would be more then good enough for family trips we really only go to Tennessee in the Wisconsin dells

I have 3 young kids “Now” and will want to replace my 05 Prius with something that can take the whole family if we get bigger. I’m looking at either a Pacifica hybrid or a Used X/S with jump seats. Who knows, if the Model 3 can ramp up real quick and be very compelling at 35K maybe used S/X’s won’t hold their value as well and I can pick one up in the $30K range in 2 years.

I agree that’s is another reason I think a wait to buy a model s. Would be smart. I too really want to see what it does to the price of the model s

It’s idiotic with “in store first”. Tesla are claiming to be progressive, then such cheap tricks shouldn’t be used.

Do it properly, let people order online in the cosyness of their home. Just like I don’t like dealers I don’t like waiting in line outside for days.

It makes no sense at all…

So you are too lazy to go to the store, got it.

Lazy? So having to go out of my way 40 km to stand in line to order something that I can order from my couch is lazy? More like efficient.
No energy wasted driving my Leaf there.
No money wasted paying for parking.
No time wasted travelling and standing in line.

So wait a day and order online. There will be others that are willing to be more pro-active in order to be first. Better that the people that care most are first IMO (better than random chance anyway).

40 km!!! We have to go over 200 miles

jelloslug said:

“So you are too lazy to go to the store, got it.”

If you’re trying to give a bad image to Tesla fans, you’re certainly going about it the right way. 🙁

I’ve already visited my local Tesla store. I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. I certainly wouldn’t want to fight crowds and stand in line to talk to a Tesla rep. Also, I think anyone who would literally camp out in order to be at the front of the line, is more than a bit fanatic.

I guess you think that makes me “lazy” too.

It really doesn’t make any difference. Simply wait 24 hours and then reserve online. It isn’t first come first serve for delivery. They have already stated that they will deliver fully optioned cars first. So when you configure your car get everything and you will get your Model 3 among the first delivered.

It is first come, first serve for fully optioned Model 3s.

“It’s idiotic with “in store first”.”

It is free marketing.

When local or national TV news stand outside their stores to cover the long lines of people “camping out” for the chance, it gives Tesla free coverage and it is also taking a page out of Apple marketing book.

It is okay to be progressive. But making money out of idiots are still far easier than making money of genius.

I never get the idea why people would line up just to get a latest iPhone either….

Anyone remembering “The Announcement”, in CA, will see the humor in Tesla being sensitive to:

“A cattle-house atmosphere tends to hurt CSI (customer satisfaction index).”

Also it will be covered by the media, so an event that acts as an advertisement. Plenty of good reasons to do it this way as indicated by the article, but I think the prospect of seeing loads of people across the country at the Tesla store, on the six O clock news, was a boon Tesla could just not pass up.


I agree with this mostly.

There is a practical side, it gives Tesla a lower volume day to stress test the new reservation system.

Not sure what time the first “store” opens but there can’t be a lot of difference between that and the online availability in places like Australia given the time differences ?

Easy to compensate nowadays with those things call networked computers.

Are you saying that it is okay that East Coast stores would get priority over West Coast stores as they open first?

I said “compensate” ie: input a delay of a hour for each time zone. Basic computing.

But if you live in Hawaii, you are basically ordering it at the same time as people who live in UK online?

This is completely for the PR hype. They want the free advertising. They are thinking that the news agencies will pick up on the huge in store lines and run them that evening on TV and as a result, this will drive more online orders the next day from consumers who weren’t originally intending to do so. Keep in mind that the more orders they take, the bigger the loan they get from these customers and the bigger the hype becomes. If they get 30K orders in those two days (which is likely) this will mean $300 million in cash that Tesla doesn’t need to deliver a product for until 18-24 months later. That’s a zero interest loan!

…and that makes me happy. Why should they spend millions for advertisement when they can get it for free…

I really hope they get 100k in the first week. That would make a nice follow up headline: 1 billion free loan. If they can hold up the hype long enough people will call it “THE TESLA WEEK”

In the following week they can then raise additional capital… How much? 2 billion of course!
3rd week? Announce 3 billion investment in something.

1-2-3 billion Tesla weeks!!!p

“I really hope they get 100k in the first week. That would make a nice follow up headline: 1 billion free loan. If they can hold up the hype long enough people will call it “THE TESLA WEEK””

$1000 x 100K = $100 Million, not a Billion.

I guess Tesla are counting on people who can’t do math to show up at the store.

I will just do it in the comfort of my own house. LOL.

Thanks. I too was uncertain about Heisenberght’s Theory.

🙂 Love it.

just remember that if they get that magic 100,000 orders (to add to the 100,000 that they have already had ), it is the last of the incentives that you will see the government gives to Tesla customers

And thus, yes I will be in line. I want the incentive before the last one is handed out
I went to the store tonight and the sales lady almost had me talked into a S 70D….
Oh so tempting, but I’m holding out

Double checking your math…I get $30 million from 30k reservations. It is $1k each, not $10k each.

Tesla Motors delights in free advertising, and having the nightly news show people lining up for your hotly anticipated product is pure gold.

I agree that seeing large numbers of reservations and the publicity from crowded stores will help drive more online reservations. People love a winner.

I think that’s a masterful analysis, Jonathan!

Tesla has become expert at getting free publicity from the media, and you give some insight into how they are able to achieve that.

I don’t see anything wrong with using the media for free advertising. Sounds like a smart business decision to me.

They also haven’t set a time for the announcement and subsequent orders but my guess is that it will be early rather than later. Tesla is a West Coast company so if they run a 10:00 AM call PST, they can start taking orders at 1:00 PM in the East Coast, and 7:00 PM in Europe. They want to give the news media the whole day to ride the hype train. Elon’s big keynote in the morning and then tons of customers in line in the afternoon.

“Major automakers also benefit from in-store traffic, even from recalls.” So recalls are profitable, that’s a strange marketing method.

Makes you almost wonder if the many repairs on the Model S is a related to that marketing strategy. 😉


Well, if that’s Tesla’s goal, then they have done a very poor job of execution! 😉 (Yes, I do see you were joking.)

1. Tesla advertises the fact that they will pick up your car from home or work, and deliver it back to you, so you never need to visit the service center.

2. In many or most places, the Tesla service center isn’t co-located with the Tesla showroom. So visiting the Tesla service center likely won’t put a Tesla showroom within easy walking distance.

Remember we are NOT the customers, average Joe is.
Number One reason must be to turn curiosity into sales by debunking individual ev myths and misunderstandings.

It also gives Tesla physical control over the order entry system, greatly reducing the chances of a first-day order crash of their ordering system.

The different store opening times will also work as a natural ramp up for their ordering system.

If the internet ordering portal still goes down, it won’t be such a big story, because the big story of people putting in orders in person will already be out there.

Does the in-store preorder open on the same day they present the car? I think it would be pretty stupid to wait in line without even having seen the car and learned at least some real specs …

Nope. Reveal on March 31; in-store ordering on April 1. (Cue April Fools’ jokes.)

This says in store 31st, and online April 1st. No word on when/where/what the reveal will be:

According to this earlier article it will be revealed on March 31st as well:


Well, that’s what I get for posting without checking my facts. *sigh*

Thanks for your correction.

I saw it was in-store ordering March 31st and on-line ordering April 1st.

You got to give credit to Tesla for amazing capability at capturing media attentions without spending a dime on ads.

They spend more money on buying press coverage on the financial channels. Real advertising budgets are very large and would eat up tens of millions. Why not just do a “store-front line” stunt and get tv channels around the country to cover it for free? People will be putting deposits down on cars they have only heard about and not seen.

I have so many questions
1. can I put down more then 1000
2.if so will I be able to keep adding to that deposit that way my actual car note will be less
3.will there be a way that u can change this from a hold to a order (like what is going on with the x) that way u can get yours sooner
4.when do you get the federal text credit when u have the car or car loan

1. Why would you want to? 2. You know, banks have these things called “savings accounts”. You could even set one up just for saving for your Model ≡! And that way, you’d even get paid interest… which you wouldn’t get from Tesla. 3. No. The chance to change from reservation to order will come at the time Tesla decides, with those ordering the highest trim levels served first. If you want to make sure you’re one of the first in line to actually place an order (and not just a reservation), then order the highest possible trim level. 4. You get the Federal tax credit when you get your income tax return from the government. Be warned that Tesla will likely run out of its share of the full Federal tax credit early in Model ≡ production, if not before; but partial (1/2 or 1/4) credit will quite possibly still be available. Tesla has no influence over whether or not the government gives you a tax credit. Tesla expects full payment at time of delivery, either from you or from a bank making you a car loan. I suppose it’s possible that some banks may have some sort of… Read more »

I have never heard of a bank loan giving you the tax credit “up front”.

If you are unsure if you will qualify for the full tax credit, lease the vehicle (it gets rolled into the lease). You can always purchase the vehicle at the end of the lease for the residual amount.

Thanks for the help
When I finance something I’m always trying to pay it off asap by making more payments or by overpaying on payments to the principal plus if I did this on my actual car note would be a lot less
I know that you get your tax credit on your W-2s I am just expecting the car to take more than a year to produce so I didn’t know if I would get the tax credit before it was made if I ordered it A year early

“so I didn’t know if I would get the tax credit before it was made if I ordered it A year early”

Tax credit comes in the year you take delivery of the car with an actual VIN number.

Also, deposit only allow you a spot to order the car, it is not actual money for ordering until you confirm your order when Tesla ask you for confirmation.

Ok thanks for the info

Banks paying interest? What a novel concept.

1. You can’t. About the only reason I can think of to do this, reduce the note, as you say, would be that you believe that interest rates will skyrocket. If you think that will be the case, simply just take out the loan now, when rates are at rock bottom.

The best thing I think would be to try and grow whatever money you have now by simply investing in solid dividend payers in the market. Contrary to what many say the stock-market is for poor people. What Bernie forgets is relative benefit. The most needy benefit the most from the least.


Symbol Qty Last Price Chg $|% Mkt Value Total Chg $

TSLA 10 168.68 +8.71% 1,686.80 +135.10

Bought it at 147., so when it hits, a gain of 1g, 247. I will order one, the stock pays for getting on the list.
May be a long wait, but so far it’s moving pretty good.
I think it will hit $200 in fairly “short” order, as we move towards the reveal date.
I still advise shorts to cover, if you haven’t already.
No chance for the tax-credit for me anyway so no worries on that front.

Why do you say no chance of text credit for you just curious

Pirates don’t pay taxes or he’s retired.

Correct on both counts.

Retired or not, you will still pay capital gains on that stock transaction. So figure you need about $1200 in appreciation to net out $1k in cash.

As a stockholder – how many fully refundable reservations will you put in? You could do maybe 10 and if all stockholders do 5 to 10 each, that could be a good 200,000 orders on day one. Easily supporting your stock purchase and fluff up the price per share so they can issue a new bond or something to keep the thing afloat.

I’m no lawyer nor a legal expert, but it looks to me like what you’re suggesting is that Tesla stockholders should commit wire fraud in order to practice stock manipulation. (The “wire” fraud would be using the Internet to make reservations while having no real intention of making a purchase.)

If it’s not illegal, what you’re suggesting is at least highly unethical.

I am surprised people are not already waiting in line. Of course, place in line does not mean anything in terms of if they get the car first…

I see that Tesla-hating Bonaire has come over here from GM-Volt.com to spread his anti-Tesla FUD.

Fact of the matter is that GM would not have built the Bolt at this time if it hadn’t seen the threat that Tesla poses.

If he’s a Tesla hater, that would explain why he’s apparently suggesting Tesla stockholders should commit stock fraud. Trying to stir up legal trouble for Tesla and its stock holders.

Seeing as their KOP store is right next to an Apple store, it probably won’t turn any heads.

In fact, I could imagine a few Apple fanboys getting in line by mistake, thinking that a new iDevice is being released.


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Yes the buzz will be unprecedented. What other car company can claim that people have camped overnight in the streets to order their car?

Except that his is going to cost me at least $170 for the two way ferry trip to the Tesla store

Actually, it will educate people on which state will let them buy – the Tesla Motors galleries here in VA will not be able to accept orders, nor are permitted to discuss purchase-related topics. Those of us in the northern/central part of VA will need to find stores in MD and DC if they want to do this in person.

Sure in store is great but there is no Tesla store in Lausanne… strange because I see so many Teslas on the roads around here. Apparently there’s just a sales agent but no store. That’s laughable, they should do something about it especially with the Model 3 and Model X their sales will increase dramatically. Come on Tesla, what are you waiting for? Open a store/service center in Lausanne. It’ll be well worth it, trust me. Sucks that I have to wait the next day and maybe even then the orders will be for california only…

Still a little confused if the unveil will likely be in the evening and they will allow people to put a down a deposit that day in store? Either way I will be there that day to put down a deposit on 2. (His and Hers). One will be highly optioned so being early will help for earlier delivery.