Tesla Model 3 Reservations Continue To Climb



Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

Despite a lack of marketing, and attempts to anti-sell the Tesla Model 3, CEO Elon Musk assures that paid reservations continue to climb every week.

The only officially announced “high point” for Tesla Model 3 reservations came a little over a month after the reservation process began, Tesla revealed that it had some 400,000 pre-orders. Since then, Elon Musk has made it clear that he is unwilling to share an actual number. He has said that doing so may cause too much speculation and conclusions.

Though Musk didn’t directly answer the question at the recent Q1 earnings call, he didn’t avoid it. This time, rather than saying that he wasn’t willing to share, he said that despite no advertising, and attempts to anti-sell the Model 3, reservations continue to grow on a weekly basis. Musk’s exact words when asked if he would provide a Model 3 reservation figure (via The Motley Fool, from an S&P Capital IQ transcript):

Tesla Model 3

Tesla CEO Elon Musk (Image Credit; flickr via Brad Holt)

“No. Here’s the problem. If we do that, then people run off and make all sorts of conclusions based on that, that really have — that are not predictive of the future. Because there are no — you can’t test drive a Model 3. If you come to [Tesla stores] and you want to buy a Model 3, we — you might either buy a Model S or X instead. We anti-sell the Model 3. But I mean, that’s reservations continue to climb week after week. No advertising, anti-selling, nothing to test drive, still grows every week.”

Who knows at this point, what that number could be? If the original 400,000 stuck around, and every week there has been continued growth, the figure could be astronomical. Or perhaps a fair amount of the original early adopters have since dropped out, but the growth has brought the number back up near its high point. There is really no way to know for sure.

Tesla’s balance sheet actually reveals a dollar figure for customer deposits. However, it doesn’t discern between models. There is no way to know how many people have placed a deposit on a Model S or X, or cancelled a Model 3 deposit to switch over to a Model S, or even upgraded from an early Model X to a signature model. Regardless of anything, the automaker’s balance sheet proves that there is no lack of demand for its vehicles.

Source: The Motley Fool

Category: Tesla

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64 responses to "Tesla Model 3 Reservations Continue To Climb"
  1. William says:

    If I get a second reservation, can I get in line early for model Y? Or, better yet, a third reservation for a Tesla Truck. Elon has to get these ducks in a row, so we can get our places, and some order to the line.

    1. Nix says:

      Not according to the reservation agreement.

      You can’t even transfer your Model 3 into a Model S reservation, and try to jump in line ahead of folks with Model S reservations that got their reservations after you got your TM3 reservation. You would have to cancel your TM3 reservation and go to the back of the MS reservation list.

  2. Longvsshort says:

    Don’t see other automakers doing this kind of reservation gambit.

    Would like to see a demographic breakdown of reservation holders.

    (Many of whom must have felt like clowns the moment Musk said the M3 is no “next level” Tesla but simply a second rate Model S).

    1. Ziv says:

      L, anyone who can understand that the 3 is going to cost about half what an S costs and DOESN’T understand that the 3 is going be cheaper/simpler than an S in just about every way is too stupid to drive.
      The 3 is going to be a very nice car, but it isn’t going to be everything the S is.

      1. Longvsshort says:

        Many might vaguely have thought that price performance magically improves with any “futuristic” thing and that yes it would be both better and cheaper.

        1. Soakee says:

          It’s similar to the regular Apple iPhone 5S versus the 5C. Idiots think that the cheaper version should better equipped, although I’m not sure where they got that notion.

        2. Ziv says:

          I hear you, but “about half the cost/price” is a big factor in any reasonable expectation. There are always naive sorts that are going to think that new tech is going to fundamentally transform an industry in a couple years, but that much change is going to take years.

          I am still amazed that Tesla is going to deliver the 3 this year and that the base model will probably be close to $35k and will probably be available within a year of the 3’s debut. This is an amazing achievement and a few naifs thinking it is going to have S-like performance won’t cast shade on this truly historic achievement.

          1. Martin Winlow says:

            I can’t see an technical reason why the 3 could not out-perform an S (it that is what you meant). You might not be able to get as many batteries in a 3 but the 20% frontal area reduction will disproportionately greatly improve its drag characteristics which is the main factor in terms of top speed. Furthermore, the diminutive size of the drive trains used would mean much the same power as is available to the S being available for the considerably lighter 3 thereby significantly improving its acceleration, too. I appreciate, however, than Elon has said such variations of the 3 will be only become available some way down the road.

      2. Soakee says:


      3. Paul Smith says:

        If the 3 is half as good as the S, it’ll still be twice as good as most other cars on the road.

        1. Shane says:


    2. Cavaron says:

      German e.Go Mobile AG (fathers of the E-Scooter transport van) announced a similar reservation model for their new NEV with 1000 Euro down per reservation for a 2018 car:


    3. Peetah says:

      i believe Audi is doing reservations on it’s new electric SUV, but outside of that it’s only Lucid and FF which aren’t really companies yet…

    4. Windbourne says:

      I suspect that very few M3 buyers with a base of 35k, really thought it would be comparable to a car with 2 or more times the cost.

      So far, the only idiots claiming that, are ppl like you.

    5. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

      Longvsshort said:
      “Don’t see other automakers doing this kind of reservation gambit.”

      Not true!

      Faraday Future took reservations for 300 FF 91 limited edition cars, which require a deposit of $5,000. LOL!

      Lucid Motors took reservations with a $25,000 deposit for its first 255 Lucid Air EVs referred to as the “Launch Edition,” which are fully loaded an expected to cost around $160,000. That’s quite the bargain considering that Tesla required a $40,000 deposit for to reserve a “Signature Edition” Model S and Model X. If you’re not a baller, for a $2,500 deposit you can reserve a much less expensive version of the Lucid Air with a standard backseat and significantly less options.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Startup auto makers (well, Tesla is no longer a startup, but it’s still growing fast) have used novel ways to raise money. For example, according to Wikipedia, back in 1948 the Tucker Motor Company…

        Another money maker was the Tucker Accessories Program. In order to secure a spot on the Tucker waiting list, future buyers could purchase accessories, like seat covers, radio, and luggage, before their car was built. This brought in an additional $2,000,000.


      2. All-Purpose Guru says:


        I think a couple other companies have done this in the past.

        TOYOTA: The Sienna Minivan in 1998 was so highly anticipated that many dealers took deposits on the car, sight-unseen, most of which were NONREFUNDABLE. (I own one, but bought after the vehicle was generally available.)

        HONDA: I paid $1000 UP FRONT for my Honda Fit EV, and ended up waiting 9 months for Honda to build my frickin’ car. I got to sit in one, but never got to drive one, because the only one available had been promised to a customer.

        VOLKSWAGEN: Routinely took deposits when the new GTI came out but wasn’t available in US-spec yet.

        GM: Took nonrefundable deposits for the next-generation Trans-Am, Corvette, and special editions such as the Indy Pace Car version of the Corvette.
        So, kinda not true. This so-called gambit is pretty much done by MOST vehicle manufacturers.

    6. All-Purpose Guru says:

      By your logic there should be no sales of the Chevrolet Cruze, which sells millions of cars per year– it’s essentially a “second-rate” Chevrolet Caprice. Same for the Honda Civic, which is a “second-rate” Honda Accord, and the Toyota Corolla, the best-selling car for many years, which is a “second rate” Toyota Avalon.

      Not everyone wants a Model S. Not everyone wants to pay the PRICE of a Model S. Musk very carefully stated that the Model 3 is a lower-end vehicle, which is presumably what most of those 400,000+ people actually WANT.

      1. Tom says:

        Stop with your logic. We are in purist country where nobody ever considers anything other than total EV range in their purchase decisions.

  3. Four Electrics says:

    If Elon didn’t want speculation, he should have not released the original numbers. I can only conclude that he talks about the numbers only when it serves his interests. Likely they flatlined (or dropped) for a while, during which time Elon poo-pood them, but they’re now climbing again.

    It’s funny that Elon doesn’t want anyone to draw conclusions from the numbers, when that’s exactly what he did: using the early numbers to justify demands for billions in additional investor cash in order move up production, despite the fact that “you can’t drive a Model 3.” Hypocrite.

    1. Moose says:

      Of course. Everything that benefits his companies. That’s why he’s running several multi-billion companies and you don’t.

    2. Rightofthepeople says:

      Sounds to me like a CEO who is very wisely managing the PR aspect of his business.

      1. Lou Grinzo says:

        Exactly. I will never understand the demands of many people online who seemingly want Tesla and Musk to be purer than pure. That company and he personally are doing far more than the overwhelming majority of corporations and business leaders to hasten our transition to electrified vehicles and thereby address climate change. Isn’t that enough?

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “Four Electrics” said:

      “I can only conclude that he talks about the numbers only when it serves his interests.”

      No doubt you, as a serial anti-Tesla FUDster, would prefer he talk about the number only when it didn’t serve his interests. 🙄

      “Likely they flatlined (or dropped) for a while, during which time Elon poo-pood them, but they’re now climbing again.”

      Or more likely, that’s just the latest bit of FUD from a serial Tesla hater and troll.


      …says the troll who pretends to drive a Tesla Model X just so he can post Big Lies about it.

  4. Kdawg says:

    “Tesla’s balance sheet actually reveals a dollar figure for customer deposits.”
    What’s that number?

    1. Jay Cole says:

    2. Doggydogworld says:

      Customer deposits were $616 million on 3/31/17, down from $663m on 12/31/16.

      Customer deposits includes the $1000 reservation deposit for Model 3 plus all deposits for Models S and X. The problem they had getting S/X delivered at the end of 2016 caused deposits to be higher on 12/31/16 than they otherwise would have been.

      Customer deposits typically ran $260-290m prior to taking Model 3 reservations. The best possible guess is that they’re at similar levels today, and Model 3 reservations are around 350,000.

      1. Kdawg says:

        Seems reasonable.

      2. bro1999 says:

        If reservations were at some crazy number (500k is nice and round), I’m sure Elon wouldn’t miss an opportunity to brag about it.

        So reservations are still likely not too much higher than the last official count.

        Makes sense, since Elon has pretty much been screaming “The 3 is inferior to the S/X!!” the last couple of months.

        1. ffbj says:

          They are probably close to 500k.
          Your describing Musk’s motivation, are speculation.

          1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

            I still think they will sell only half of whatever the total is.

            1. ffbj says:

              Yeah, there will be some drop off, (25%) but more orders will be coming in too.
              I think it will take them years to clear the backlog of orders, say till they get them down to 3-4 months to deliver. Maybe by 2019.

            2. Priusmaniac says:

              You mean reservations represent only half the orders they will receive once people see the cars on the roads driving around 🙂

        2. Mil says:

          Elon has previously mentioned that the current reservation count is already more than the first year’s worth of production (keeping in mind that the first 6 months will be a slow ramp up so they won’t produce 500k cars in the first 12 months).

          Given they’ve already got the first 12 months covered, there is no point in Elon trying to sell more of the Model 3 which is why he anti-sells. There is very little benefit trying to promote the Model 3 more because more reservation holders for cars produced 12 months after production starts isn’t very helpful.

        3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          bro1999 posted more anti-Tesla FUD:

          “…I’m sure Elon wouldn’t miss an opportunity to brag about it.”

          I’m sure what a serial Tesla basher says he’s “sure” about has little to do with reality, facts, or logic.

      3. Nix says:

        Doggy — It really isn’t possible to compare pre-Model 3 reservation $$$ with now. There are 2 confounding variables that screw up the math:

        1) Tesla took a ton of Model X reservations, so you would have to go back to before they started to take Model X reservations.

        2) Between the time that they started taking Model X reservations and now, Tesla has cut the reservation price down from $5000 for the S and X, down to the current $2500.

        I suppose if you found the exact dates for both of those confounding factors, and reversed out those changes, you could come up with a comparison. But that’s not the number in your post….

        1. Doggydogworld says:

          I think the bulk of S/X deposits are actually fully paid-for cars that were in transit at end-of-quarter. Growth of in-transit cars the past year tends to offset reduction in the Model X backlog and the change to $2500. I agree it’s guesswork, though.

  5. Doggydogworld says:

    The last official number was 373,000, not 400,000. The “customer deposits” amount on the balance sheet jumped roughly $375m at that time, which makes sense. It has since held fairly steady. Model S/X sales grew since then, which would normally imply S/X deposits also grew. Offsetting this is a likely backlog of X orders last year (including some Signature Series) which were worked down as Model X volume ramped up.

    The most reasonable interpretation is that Model 3 reservations peaked around 373k, drifted downward slowly as Tesla upsold people to the S60 and are now growing slowly as Model 3 production nears.

    1. TomArt says:

      Seems reasonable to me. +1

    2. realistic says:

      You beat me to it, and with fewer words (especially misspelled ones). Very rational and neutral perspective.

    3. Mark.ca says:

      I think you are right about this.

      Imagine how huge this will be for evs if only 200k of these reservations end up sales in the next 2 years.

    4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Doggydogworld said:

      “The most reasonable interpretation is that Model 3 reservations peaked around 373k, drifted downward slowly as Tesla upsold people to the S60 and are now growing slowly as Model 3 production nears.”

      Thanks muchly, Doggydogworld, for your attempts to analyze the situation using actual facts, rather than the speculation everybody else is using.

    5. Gazza says:

      @doggydogworld Model 3 reservations are much higher than 373k. The amount on deposit is in US currency. There are at minimum 60k Cdn reservations at $1,000 Cdn which is approx 720 USD.

      The resevations # is well past 500,000

  6. pjwood1 says:

    It’s also hard to put a finger on those with reservations, not intending to execute. An interest-free $1,000 is something many can spare, as they wait and see if arbitraging demand, or demand & the tax-credit, could be worth it. A lot of Volt dealers initially played the tax-credit to their advantage. That was before it was about to expire.

    As a former TDI owner, arbitrage with those cars was rampant before the buybacks started. Mostly it looked like dealers, but I suspect some will recognize Model 3’s built-in resale value, today, once 2019 rolls around.

    1. ffbj says:

      Well when 60% don’t have 1k in an emergency fund, saying 1k is nothing smacks of an unrealistic view.

      1. Lou Grinzo says:

        The comment was that forgoing the interest on $1k was something many can spare, which is undeniably true, not that it was “nothing”.

        1. ffbj says:

          Interest on a 1k is nothing.

      2. pjwood1 says:

        60%? From the general population?

        A substantial number of Model S owners have reservations (plural) on this car, almost as a matter of duty. That’s the sense I get, from TMC and people I know. I’m sure $1,000 isn’t easy to come by for everyone on the list, but considering new car buyers are a “wealthy” cohort to begin with, I don’t think standard demographics apply.

        1. Charles Jutkins says:

          People to who a 1000 dollars is significant probably aren’t putting 1k down. There are probably 1 to 10 people interested but sitting on the side for every 1k reservation they have.
          I am exited by the car by I’m show me kind of person at this point in my life. Surely a lot of the stuff that they learned in the S and X go into the 3.

        2. ffbj says:

          True that still leaves millions with more than 1k in savings. But many people live paycheck to paycheck.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            People living paycheck to paycheck never buy new cars, only used ones. So they wouldn’t be in the market for any new car, Model 3 or otherwise.

        3. Nix says:

          Just the numbers (no commentary)

          Typical brand new ICE car buyers have a median household income of around 70K/yr. New car buyers are a subset of all car buyers (both new and used), which is a subset of all American households.

          So typical buyers likely have less problems coming up with $1K than the median household.

  7. Loboc says:

    These reservations can be cancelled with no penalty (other than losing a small amount of investment interest). Point is that actual sales of M3 are way more important than the ‘yeah, I want one’ folks.

    1. Bacardi says:

      There’s three additional datapoints…First is you could get credit card points, while most only “earn” you 1%, when it comes time to redeem them, especially with travel card you can often get bonus redemptions often 3%…

      Next is if you got in early enough, you will get the $7500 tax credit, an amount worth far more than interest on $1000…

      Lastly is an investment, if you get one of the first 100K cars, you probably would have no problem selling it for a four digit profit…

      A thousand is quite a bit, I believe a lot of folks are serious yet the question is how many got them with the intention of “flipping”?

  8. james says:

    I believe it. I went to our mall the day reservations opened and I left sad because I didn’t have time to stand there for 4 hours in the massive line. Now I’m moving to Cali and will put down my $1K when I get there, hoping to move forward in the line. I just test drove a Bolt, and while it’s a great car, it’s just not a Tesla. Had it come out 4 years ago, I would’ve jumped on it.

    I think there’s a ton of untapped demand for the Model 3 still out there, and a lot more folks like me who will buy one if given the chance.

  9. Serial anti tesla troll thomas says:

    But if people switch from S or X to M3 at least profit will be lower in future. Other way reservations are not raising. So bad news in both cases

    1. Mark.ca says:

      Why would you expect reservations to rise? If you get on the list today it will be 2019 the earliest you will get your car…I will probably get on the list later this year as i will be needing a car in 2019.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Hmmm, well it’s always interesting to speculate whether or not you actually mean anything you say in your posts, Thomas, since you’re labeling yourself a troll. But on the assumption that you are trying to make a real case here…

      That’s like arguing that BMW shouldn’t have started making the 2 Series (predecessor of the current 3 Series), because that would have undercut sales of its existing luxury cars.

      On the contrary, if the Tesla Model 3 is a success, that will attract more people to the Tesla brand, which will almost certainly result in more demand for the Model S and Model X. That’s how it generally works in the automobile market… just in case you didn’t already know.

  10. James says:

    Such an interesting topic.

    Speculation runs rampant.

    It all just adds to the mystique of Tesla.

    I can say one thing – I am seeing tons of new Model X in my area. We had one in my town in Washington State, for months…Then, suddenly, I began seeing them two, three, four and more – in the supermarket parking lot – at my child’s school… They’re multiplying folks. And I marvel – because I don’t live in a “rich” area – and these are $120,000 vehicles, folks!

  11. James says:

    Tesla is the iPhone of cars.

    There is no doubt.

    Throw everything you know about consumer habits out the door.

    You and I are familiar with the past, not the future. We know trends and how car companies have sold cars on TV and radio – the newspaper and dealers ever since we were in diapers.

    What we don’t know is this new era. The path was paved by consumer electronics and the desire to have the latest, best gadget in hand – to stand in freakin’ line for the latest version of Halo or the new iPhone.

    It’s a new world, folks.

    These are consumers born and bred into this kind of world.

    I’m sure some new Model 3 bandwagon buyers are climbing on the pile. As I’m also sure many will fall off when time comes to write the actual check for the down payment and delivery.

    All in – I think the most important issue is for Tesla to get the quality right – right off the bat – and not have failures, problems and horror stories so that the first cars delivered don’t scare off the multitudes waiting in line.

    1. TomArt says:

      Good point.

  12. James says:

    There isn’t one carmaker on earth who does not show pretty photos of it’s upcoming new model in it’s top trim level – the fancy wheels, the optional features…And in bold letters state: “Starting at $________ , a number sounding very reasonable and competitive.

    In truth, the car in the picture costs $10,000 more – especially with Apple Carplay, Android Auto, ACC, and nav this and that…. It’s just how it works. No need to knock Tesla for showing us pictures of what would be a $50,000 Model 3, when we know there’s stripper models with 17” wheels rolling around testing now.

    I look around the web and see people nearly in shock – saying: “ARE THOSE 17″ WHEELS?!!! WHAT A RIP OFF!”…etc. etc.

    L 🙂 L

    There will be a $35,000 steel roof, 17” wheeled entry-level 3. There has to be. Especially since Musk nearly saved the company by announcing that price. He also wisely told us the average 3 will probably go for more like $42,000.

    I can see 100,000 Model 3 sold per year even if people get sticker shock and drop off the preorder list in droves. Why? Because of pent-up demand and anticipation. And because I think the Model 3 will be a car that revolutionizes the industry.

    1. TomArt says:


    2. Windbourne says:

      Uh, they expect to sell between 500,000-1,000,000 M3 / year by end of 2018. And that is just with the American plant.
      Supposedly, Tesla has picked sites elsewhere and are quietly gearing up for 1-2 new factories by end of 2018.