One week after Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Model 3, the company’s first mass-market car, hundreds of thousands of people have paid $1,000 to reserve the car despite its expected late-2017 launch.
That reservation figure totals to $14 billion (theoretical dollars) in sales, or 325,000 cars, with one big caveat: With only $1,000 down, some — perhaps many — of these orders will inevitably be adjusted or canceled over the next few years. In any event, that’s $325 million paid in preorders to date for a car that basically doesn’t exist yet.
Over 325k cars or ~$14B in preorders in first week. Only 5% ordered max of two, suggesting low levels of speculation.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 7, 2016
Because we’re not talking about true preorders — Tesla fans aren’t putting $35,000 down, so these cars are certainly not yet purchased — it’s important to approach Musk’s announcement with skepticism. That said, these numbers are pretty incredible, according to Green Car Reports’ John Voelcker on Monday: “Not all of those reservations will convert to actual orders, of course. But even if only half of them do, 150,000 Model 3s would amount to more plug-in electric cars than General Motors, Toyota, Ford, BMW, or VW Group has sold in more than five years. Only Nissan has sold more (slightly over 200,000 as of last month).”
Correction 10:06 a.m. PT: Orders “hit” $14 billion, said Musk. They didn’t “surpass” them.