Is waiting in line such a good idea?

Is waiting in line such a good idea?

The advantage of waiting in line is that you will get the car sooner. But if you look at the history of the Model S and the Model X, the first ones out of the factory were not Tesla's best work. Tesla learned from their mistakes and certainly everything would end up fixed under warranty, but if waiting until the evening to order sets me back a bit, might I be better off?

PhillyGal | March 25, 2016

It depends what you're driving now. The Hyundai I drive 4 days per week is making me batty. It's one of their more "premium" models but it's made like crap and I'm pretty sure the window glass (frameless) is about to fall the heck out. So for me, being rid of it can't come soon enough.

jordanrichard | March 25, 2016

Waiting in line does not get your car sooner, it enables you to configure/order your car sooner. How you option it out ($$$) will determine when you will get it, plus where one lives.

However you are correct about the initial cars. The MS's rolling out the door now are more refined than my Mar '14 built car.

Son of a Gunn | March 25, 2016

I see what you did there, Haggy :)

carlk | March 25, 2016


Son of a Gunn | March 25, 2016

@jordanrichard, so tell me, for people in the West Coast, are current owners, and plan to max out the Model 3 options, who do you think will get the car first, the one reserving in the morning or the one reserving later at night?

jordanrichard | March 25, 2016

Ask Tesla. I am just stating what Tesla has said. In the end, the most optioned out cars will be delivered first, further refining that by saying that those on the West coast will get their cars first. The reservation queue prioritizes who gets to configure their cars first, similar to the MX.

Based on Tesla's method, a present owner living in SF could get their car before a factory employee, if the SF owner optioned their car out more.

dsvick | March 25, 2016

Well played @Haggy

You're absolutely right, no one should wait in line...

Son of a Gunn | March 25, 2016

@ jordanrichard, you didn't answer my question, though.

You've repeatedly asserted that "Waiting in line does not get your car sooner..", so I'm asking you:
Given two people who are exactly the same, both live in SF, both are current owners, both will max the Model 3 options, you are claiming that it makes no difference who'll get the car first if one reserves early in the morning and the other reserves later that night? I'll make that bet 100% of the time.

NKYTA | March 25, 2016

@Son, knowing what TM does and what TM says, why chance it. Go with the best odds, craps. ;-)

SamO | March 25, 2016

Don't throw me in that briar patch . . . Lulz

mclary | March 25, 2016

Speculation Idiots!!!

What is the point to your post again?


Red Sage ca us | March 26, 2016

If you are buying one, you will be 'in line' anyway.

Redmiata98 | March 27, 2016

Mclary, Haggy finally dragged you out of your hole! Welcome back, I missed you.

negarholger | March 27, 2016

I have an early Model S - no complaints, the car is close to perfect.

archvillain | March 28, 2016

@Son of a Gunn: Whoever gets it first will be whoever's specs the production line happens to be tooled up for first. You say they're both maxed out, but I expect many options don't count towards whether its maxed out, for example, perhaps which color the exterior or interior is. A red car isn't any more maxed out than a white car, but white cars might be leaving the production line before red cars.

JuJoo | March 28, 2016


Their new paint shop can paint different colors at a time; they don't need to batch cars by color. But I get your point, in which arbitrary options may (or may not) affect production spot.

Guy2095 | March 28, 2016

I'm guessing the ones that get made first are the ones without backordered parts. ;)

Sudre_ | March 28, 2016

There will be 10,000 employees who will be getting all the cars with the kinks in them.

sklancha | March 28, 2016

I don't know why it is, but I am tempted to 'stand in line' to be at the early end of reception, and I don't even need another car.

Son of a Gunn | March 28, 2016

If person A and B will literally order the same car config and they are the same on every other imaginable variable, and the ONLY difference between person is that A reserved early morning and person B reserved later that night, it's a no-brainer that A will get the car earlier. Tesla said explicitly that they will honor first-come first-served, so if you discount all other differences it follows that first is first. It can't get clearer than that. Go line up to to get your maxima, your personal best, your optimum place. You're only competing against yourself.

Haggy | March 29, 2016

What about the unimaginable variables? And what if they factor in hand size?

jordanrichard | March 29, 2016

Son of a Gunn, sorry, I didn't realize that you were breaking it down to the hour within a given day. Though that answer would definitely be best answered by Tesla because they would know whether or not the method of prioritizing orders is broken down to that finite level.

Theoretically it is possible that reservation number 1 at a particular store that turns into a maxed out car, gets his or her car after someone else on the West coast. Obviously in the beginning of production, Tesla is not going to be able to build all of the fully option cars in the same week. For example take the number of stores on the West coast times the number of "first inline" reservations. If all of those turn into fully optioned out orders, Tesla wouldn't be able to build/deliver all of those at once. So there are going to be a lot of "first to reserve/first to order" people that won't be first to get the Model ≡. Yes, they will be ahead of someone that is on the East coast that waits a week to reserve theirs on line, but my point is that people needn't turn this whole thing into a science. Just because your reservation/configure hour gets time stamped at a given moment and date doesn't mean that is the absolute exact order that the cars will be built/delivered.

archvillain | March 29, 2016

Heh, my current car is a GM production-line car, and it is the only one ever made in its year with the exact (perfect for me) configuration of factory options that it has. I'm not too worried about scenarios where three or four people might have chosen the exact same car config in every imaginable variable as me yet might be ahead in the queue - all four cars would roll off the line within minutes of each other. If I'm going to wait two years for a car, I'm not bothered by ten minutes. :D

I'm going to reserve early because it's part of "being there", it's fun, but I'm not going to sweat bullets or go Black-Friday over getting the very best place in line - a good place will definitely help, but I just don't think it'll matter all that much in the grand scheme of manufacturing. On the bright side, me being relaxed about it means more early-bird placings for everyone else :)

TaoJones | March 29, 2016

So a friend and I call two different stores in SoCal earlier today.

He's told that he can sign up via someone else (specifically an owner in line elsewhere) as long as that owner has all of said friend's credit card and contact info with him at the time. Limit 3 vehicles.

I'm told that anyone else who wants to sign up with me has to be in line with me at the time. And that I may reserve up to a total of 2 vehicles and that they must both be titled in my name, are non-transferable and cannot be sold (heh - who would think such a thing).

Both of these conversations happened within 10 minutes of each other this afternoon with store personnel maybe 100 miles apart.

It's possible that regional managers are setting policy here, but that's just another example of the discordance that is so unfortunate of late as relates to service and now sales.

The point of signing up within the first 24 hours is simple. 2018 production will be sold out thereafter. So it's both a matter of securing the federal tax credit (best odds thereof) *and* a Model 3 in 2018 at all, short of an inventory car.

That said, it is all but an incontrovertible fact that 2020's Model 3s will be decidedly better than those produced in 2018. And in my own case, I'm leaning toward selling my existing car in 10,000 miles, which means whatever I get to replace it will last until that 2019-2020 timeframe, making a 2018 M3 moot.

So waiting in line Thursday at least for me becomes an exercise in futureproofing. To have the option of buying a Model 3 before 2019. And that's it.

After all, Tesla may well hit this out of the park and put forth the best new car debut in history. Including for reliability. Yes, I said it. It could happen.

Or not - but I'd still like a couple of years to think it over - hence my deposit on Thursday, despite the continuing discordant communication foibles above. Caveat being, if you're told something once, you might want to call 2-3 more times and take the average :).

papa.marco | March 29, 2016

It has been widely mentioned that you only get "owner priority" for as many Tesla you currently own. That is, if you own one (1) Tesla Model S, and reserve two (2) Model 3, only one Model 3 will get the "owner priority" schedule.

jordanrichard | March 29, 2016

papa.marco, "widely mentioned", this is the first I have heard about this ratio.

PhillyGal | March 30, 2016

The possible prioritization combinations are infinite and I wouldn't want to be the one deciding it.

Owners get priority. But people who are owners/res holders as of 3/31/16? Where is the cut off? Lots of MS/MX will be configured/sold between now and M3. Do they jump line over the folks lined up at stores right now?

West Coast first. But every single west coast ordered between tomorrow and 2018 before even a single east coast delivery? Doubtful. They'll probably pick some number and cycle the regions.

"We're gonna need a bigger boat." | March 30, 2016

I heard that they have a chimpanzee in a back room in Fremont doing the prioritization. :-))

Note: no primate was harmed by this post.

jordanrichard | March 30, 2016

PG, exactly!!!! My remarks and others are basically saying that to spend this much time to strategize the when, where and how to place one's reservation is unnecessary stress. It's almost like trying to figure out which convenience store to buy one's lottery tickets.

The only thing that is know for sure is that Tesla employees deservedly got to reserve their cars already. Next is existing owners. That's it, over and out.

Red Sage ca us | March 30, 2016

I know that I want to get a Coupe. I know that Tesla Motors is unlikely to offer a Coupe before 2019. I know that the Federal Tax Credit will likely be entirely gone by 2019. But, I might well get so excited that I go ahead and make an attempt to get a Sedan sometime in 2018 to tide me over until a Coupe arrives. If it is a Model ☰ Coupe -- cool! But I would get a Model S Coupe if that comes out first. So, whether I put in a deposit tomorrow or not, I'm still going to be at the back of the line.

SamO | March 28, 2017


And you may not have all options available when first deliveries happen . . . but YOU have the option.

Red Sage ca us | March 30, 2017

We're still waiting...

4fishtankz | March 30, 2017

That's why I'm going to lease :). Also, waiting in line gives a better chance at the last of the tax incentives. Reserving early isn't new, though there wasn't a line back then, I put down a deposit to reserve and buy the first Prius in the US.

SamO | March 30, 2017

Maybe I'll do a 2 year lease on Reservation #1 and buy outright, a P75DL when they are available in 2018.


Carl Thompson | March 30, 2017

@4fishtankz , @SamO

It's unlikely you'll be able to lease the Model 3 for quite some time. (But Tesla does do things differently so you never know.)

Also when you lease you do _not_ get the tax credit. The leasing company does because they're the ones that own the car. However, you may get lower lease payments because of it if they choose.


SamO | March 30, 2017

For someone with three electric cars you seem both woefully ignorant of the implications of the tax credit on leases (duh, it lowers your lease payment) but Tesla has the highest resale value in its class, so Model 3 lease payments will be even lower. Coupled with revenue from the Tesla Network, and Model 3 could almost be free.

Secondly, Model S and X are available to lease right now. Why would I (or anyone) have to wait to lease?

Carl Thompson | March 30, 2017

"For someone with three electric cars you seem both woefully ignorant of the implications of the tax credit on leases (duh, it lowers your lease payment)"

How am I "ignorant?" I said it _can_ lower your lease payments. And you are incorrect to state categorically that the EV credit lowers your lease payment. If you are smart and observant they should. But leasing companies are under no obligation to pass the savings on to you and most don't give you the value of the full credit.

"Secondly, Model S and X are available to lease right now. Why would I (or anyone) have to wait to lease?"

I hate it when people try to change what they're saying in mid-conversation and hope no one will notice. You weren't talking about the S or X. You said

- "Maybe I'll do a 2 year lease on Reservation #1"

which clearly implies you were talking about the Model 3.


4fishtankz | March 30, 2017

Carl, when I leased my electric RAV4 EV, it came off the price of the car so my lease amount was lower, does Tesla do it differently?

Carl Thompson | March 30, 2017

"Carl, when I leased my electric RAV4 EV, it came off the price of the car so my lease amount was lower, does Tesla do it differently?"

I don't know what Tesla does if you lease directly from them. (Does Tesla finance leases directly or do the use a leasing company?) I'm just saying that as with any contract _make sure_ you get what you should. Some leasing companies will try to keep that extra $7,500 dollars all to themselves without sharing if you let them.

The person who leases the car probably won't get the full discount of the credit. They are only renting the car for a few years so they should naturally share it proportionally with the car's owner (the leasing company). But you should make sure the leasing company factors it in and gives you a fair portion of the credit.


SamO | April 13, 2017

Looking back, I think it was a good idea to wait in line. Line waiters got original artwork and a lottery ticket to the Tesla Network.

And so it goes.