"Bait & Switch": Tesla Reportedly Delaying $35k Model 3 Deliveries, Trying To Upsell Customers

Forging a path forward for Tesla seems to simply be getting harder and harder. After what can only be described as a disastrous and forgettable Model Y event, it is now being reported that the company is delaying deliveries of its standard range $35,000 Model 3 – a car that some reservation holders have been waiting to receive for nearly 3 years.

Customers are reporting that Tesla is delaying scheduled delivery dates and then trying to upsell them to more expensive versions of the vehicle, according to a new report at The Drive. 

Citing reports at various internet forums for Tesla owners, it's being reported that Tesla has been texting customers to delay scheduled deliveries on its long awaited $35k base model Model 3. Some of these messages state: 

"Our apologies, we will need to reschedule your delivery appointment to a later date. A Tesla representative will reach out when we have a better estimate of your delivery timing from Tesla." 

Some customers are stating that delivery of their vehicles is now set to take place in 6 to 8 weeks, but Tesla employees have disputed these claims and stated that these are automatically generated estimates, and not commitments. Initial estimates had been set for 2 to 4 weeks for customers who ordered as soon as the $35,000 Model 3 announcement was made on February 28.

Elon Musk came out during the February 28 call and said that delivery priority would be for those who have had reservations for a while, while also noting that deliveries could be pushed back until "the end of June".

"Well the priority is for longtime reservation holders so we would first need to assess how many of the long term reservation holders want the $35,000 car. So it really depends on on that on that and obviously this news has been embargoed until now so we first need to assess how many of the reservation holders wish to buy that car. They will get priority and then it will be new new orders. But I do. But I should say that it is very likely that someone who orders will get the car in the US by the end of June, let's say - before the before the next tax credit cliff."

We ask: if that's the case, why make the announcement on February 28th?

To make matters worse, there have been reports of "bait and switch" style behavior from the company, with some customers claiming that Tesla attempted to upsell them to more expensive versions of the car.

One customer reportedly said:

 "I just got a call from someone at Tesla asking me to pay more for the longer range [M]odel 3. Otherwise, my configuration won’t be ready until the end of June. This is after telling me my car would be ready by the end of March and having me cough up more cash when I ordered." 

It is possible that these delays could be the result of a delivery bottleneck, which has been a problem for Tesla in the past. Deliveries have been emphasized as being of the upmost importance at Tesla this month, especially heading into the end of the quarter. The company has apparently been asking Tesla employees to "volunteer" to help deliver vehicles, which we reported on days ago.

As The Drive notes, not a single standard range vehicle appears to have been reported as delivered or seen on the road yet.

That leads to the obvious question: is it possible that this means Tesla hasn’t built any yet?