Tesla Model 3 Orders Go Unfulfilled; Aussies Get Antsy

“I have no idea if it’s ever going to show up,” says one would-be buyer Down Under.

Alan Harman, Correspondent

August 23, 2018

3 Min Read
Tesla Model 3
“I'm used to waiting with Tesla,” says one of the more patient prospective buyers. “We call it ‘Elon time.’”

Australians who paid A$1,500 ($1,096) deposits for Tesla’s Model 3 back in 2016 are becoming disillusioned, not only with the delays in getting their mass-market sedan, but also Elon Musk's social-media behavior.

Aussies could pay the deposit to save a spot in the queue, and waiting was expected, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reports.

The ABC says it is not known how many Australians placed a Model 3 deposit or how many orders have been cancelled. That’s because Tesla does not release regional reservation or sales figures.

The broadcaster quotes a Tesla spokesperson as saying right-hand drive vehicle manufacturing will begin mid next year, with deliveries expected to begin shortly after that.

It may be too late for some would-be buyers.

Ashley Fanning and her partner signed up in Melbourne for a Model 3 in 2016. They gave it up last month. They had felt they would be contributing to EV progress, but they have had little communication from Tesla about when they would get it and how much it would cost.

“I have no idea if it’s ever going to show up, and if I’m going to be able to afford it,” Fanning is quoted as saying.

Tesla founder Musk’s recent Twitter tirades against journalists, armchair critics and rescue divers made her decision easier. “I'm not at all loyal to the brand like I felt I was when I subscribed,” Fanning says. “You see him call that guy a ‘pedo.’”

That refers to a July incident, in which Musk called a U.K. diver involved in the Thai cave rescue of a young soccer team a slang name for a pedophile.

Musk’s later apologize didn’t impress Fanning. But back to the Model 3 delay. “What are you doing,” she says. “Where's my car?”

A Sydney man, who did not want to be named, told the ABC he canceled his Model 3 pre-order this year after Musk's behavior helped tip the balance.

The consumer says the lack of clarity about release dates contributed to his “general bad vibe,” as well as U.S. media reports that the Model 3 was being partly assembled in a makeshift tent to ramp up production.

“Seeing parts for the Model 3 being built in a tent really turned me off,” he says “If I’m buying a new car … I would like it to be built to the highest possible standards.”

IBISWorld Australia senior industry analyst James Thomson tells the ABC wait times and pricing uncertainty are more likely to influence consumer sentiment than the CEO’s furious tweets.

“For a major purchase like a vehicle, we would expect (buyers) to look past that and focus on the vehicle quality and the level of service,” he says.

That’s true, the ABC says, of Mat Peterson, whose wife Pia Peterson runs an EV chauffeur service in Sydney,

Peterson says he’s vocal with friends and on social media that Musk should pull his head in.

“We'll continue to support the company rather than him,” he tells the Australian broadcaster.

He says he’s prepared to wait for the Model 3, just as he waited for previous models. “I'm used to waiting with Tesla. We call it ‘Elon time.’”

About the Author(s)

Alan Harman

Correspondent, WardsAuto

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