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Tesla Model 3 hits showroom for first time ever - in Palo Alto

12 January 2018

Tesla said its primary focus is increasing production of its Model 3 sedan.

Starting Friday, people will be able to sit in the cars, kick the tires, and learn about the features and equipment from Tesla staff, but test drives aren't happening just yet.

Well, the 3s aren't there quite yet, but starting in a few hours the cars will be on display.

It marks the first time the Silicon Valley-based electric carmaker is bringing the Model 3 to its retail store for public consumption, a sign that Tesla is prepared for the expected increase to its already sizable preorder count for the electric compact. With customer deliveries officially underway, the company says it wants to give some of its roughly 455,000 reservation-holders and potential customers a chance to see the auto in the metal for the first time inside its stores.

A Tesla Model 3 at the company's retail store at Westfield Century City.Bryan Logan/Business InsiderThe first Model 3s will show up at Tesla locations in the Los Angeles area, beginning with its Westfield Century City store.

It's like that Tesla will begin displaying Model 3s at sites where initial interest was high on reservation day.

Since the auto first hit the market, almost a half million cars have been reserved, according to Tesla, but far, far fewer have hit the roads, thanks to production problems. On Jan. 3, the Palo Alto company said it wouldn't make that target, but would by the end of June.

A Tesla spokesperson stated that Model 3s will gradually make their way to showrooms across the US, though no timeline or rollout schedule was announced. Still, Tesla said it had delivered only 1,550 Model 3s to customers in the fourth quarter of 2017 - but the company added that it made nearly 800 of the vehicles in the last seven working days of the fourth quarter, and in the final few days of the quarter had hit a production rate that extrapolated to more than 1,000 Model 3s a week.

Incidentally, Tesla also says Panasonic's Heterojunction Intrinsic Thin Film (HIT) PV modules have been being made at the site since last summer.

"If we get another date pushback, it'd be disappointing since Elon is constantly over-ambitious", said Lopez, a tech marketer.

It's no secret Tesla has encountered some Model 3 production challenges in the early going. Musk even noted that he would continue driving his Model S long after the Model 3 is released.

Tesla Model 3 hits showroom for first time ever - in Palo Alto