Some of the forums are indicating that some of the larger service centers are selling their loaner cars at a reasonable clip. Meaning, one center had 12 loaners but sold four recently. It makes sense to thin inventory toward the end of the quarter for a good sale count for the quarter. No waiting for web site ordering, production and delivery. One guy bought a loaner with 700 miles on it and it broke down on him the first week, needing it to take it back to the SC. The number of posts about people having problems is higher than I would expect.
I figure that with a 500-600 build rate ending Q2, first week of July off at the plant, then 550-600 builds/ in Q3, if not more, and selling loaners and trying to get the european shipments done, sales will be in the 5500-6000 range for Q3. This is in line with estimates but may not be indicative of future sales. I suppose one sign will be if guidance is raised for 2013 Q4 or not - above 21500 for 2013. If Vin # assignments include european sales and the delays involved there, it may not be easy to hit 5500 in Q4.
People are ordering online and having a delivery date set as soon as 3 weeks for US sales. European production and delivery is still a few month process. If the US sales slow enough where it settles into a rhythm of under 1 month from order to delivery, loaner sales used to clear inventory monthly, European sales relying on Norway and any other incentive rich countries for strength; i have to wonder if the current build rate can continue into 2014. China is not solved just yet.
I hope to talk to people at the national plug in day events that I go to in order to see what their feelings on EVs are and how they view a Tesla purchase over the growing competiton. Is the speed and size worth the extra money? Can people afford it or do they need the leasing deal and trade back to stretch their finances to get in one? Would they buy a large sedan like it if competitors offered the same style but lower range
" It makes sense to thin inventory toward the end of the quarter for a good sale count for the quarter."
There are roughly 25 service centers. If EVERY one of them sold 10 of their loaners, that would be roughly $25 million in revenues, roughly 4%. Is that a big deal?
"The number of posts about people having problems is higher than I would expect."
Where are you seeing this? On the Tesla Forum, complaints are much lower after resolution of several common issues.
"... the growing competiton."
What do you consider competition?
Competition is not just EV. It is every other car company. A Model S buyer is not always green but a luxury car buyer who has money to try new things. Mercedes is competiton, as is BMW. Some who want electric may see the price and say lets be more realistic and buy a Volt. Volt sales have grown recently and visitors to tesla showrooms may have gone to chevy to save $50k and not require SCs. For peace of mind, they know there are 1800+ dealerships in the network.
((( . One guy bought a loaner with 700 miles on it and it broke down on him the first week, needing it to take it back to the SC. )))
There are no backorders in the US. Tesla is building some inventory and calling them loaner cars. If you special order a car from tesla it will be delivered in about 2 months. If you special order a car from GM or Ford it will be delivered in about 2 months.
This was expected. There is always pent up demand for a new product. Tesla was selling the Sedan for 3 years. They had thousands of back orders prior to production. The production launch was a disaster and they could only make a few cars. In Q1 2013 they were finally in production and running at rate. They filled all US backorders and now they are filing US orders as they come in. Following the intial surge in sales the orders died down and Tesla had to offer incentives (aka the 'lease' deal). Now Tesla has cars available for immediate delivery in the US and also takes special orders.
BTW Tesla is a scam. They refuse to reveal actual sales numbers, actual reservation numbers, or other information that investors would need to know in order to judge how sustainable the demand for it's products are. The media is screaming about Norway and making it sound like 133 sales is meaningful.
Note, though, that the one who mentioned they sold 4 out of 12 in a week does not mean much in the grand scheme of things. But a service center keeping 12 loaners around is indicative of the amount of service needed for the fleet and a desire to also be able to sell units when necessary. A loaner sells for MSRP minus $1 per mile on the odometer.
((( But a service center keeping 12 loaners around is indicative of the amount of service needed for the fleet and a desire to also be able to sell units when necessary. ))
Twelve cars is $1.2 million of inventory that is not on the books. Tesla can't push the inventory on to dealers because they do not have dealers so they call them loaners.
This is a scam. They are just hiding the inventory.