Instead of picking options and waiting a few weeks for delivery of a custom-configured Tesla, buyers can now browse Tesla’s inventory of new Model 3s online and find cars available for immediate delivery (within a few days).
Typically, Tesla uses a “reservation” system to get in line to purchase a car, then allows buyers to pick the options they like and have a specific car configuration delivered to them. Due to this system, there’s often lead time to buying a Tesla. At first, for the earliest reservation holders, the wait can be a couple years before the car comes out, they’re invited to configure, and their cars are built and delivered.
Once production numbers get higher, this usually reduces down to a lag time of a few weeks between configuration and delivery. But for some buyers, that’s just not fast enough.
So Tesla started letting customers buy new and used inventory cars with much shorter delivery timelines. Depending on if the car is local, cars can be delivered in a few days or less. This would be good for customers who need a car more quickly than Tesla could build it, and also has been used to boost sales at the end of a quarter.
At first this information was only available to Tesla sales personnel. A buyer would configure a car, then if they seemed concerned about having to wait or if Tesla wanted to get them in a car sooner, an employee could check the system to find a similar configuration available on a shorter timeline. Soon Tesla decided to list these cars online – both new and used.
Until today, this was only available for Model S and X. There still aren’t any used cars listed for Model 3, but Tesla’s new inventory is accessible for anyone to browse online. Also cars are only appearing in some geos like California.
One of the nice things about Tesla’s inventory cars is that occasionally one can snag a “deal.” Tesla often states that they don’t do discounts like traditional auto dealers (though recent wild price changes belie that assertion). But for cars which serve as a floor model, as test drive cars, or otherwise see some use in Tesla’s fleet, it’s reasonable that a buyer wouldn’t want to pay full price. So Tesla applies standard price reductions based on mileage and length of time in the fleet, which can result in “deals” for buyers who don’t mind lightly-used inventory cars.
While we don’t have that yet for the Model 3 – none of the vehicles we could find on the site had any discount compared to buying a new car – this gets us one step closer to that.
Also, depending on what happens with the Standard Range Model 3, this might be one of few ways to get your hands on one. While Tesla says they are still taking “off-menu” orders for Standard Range cars, we don’t know how long that will last. We did notice at least one Standard Range car available on the website, though, so who knows what else might crop up on there.
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