Tesla will begin Model 3 production with batches/blocks of identical build configurations pre-planned, with custom orders only following at a later date, according to an unnamed “source who has been quite reliable so far” quoted on the Tesla Model 3 Owners Club forum (h/t InsideEVs).
Considering that Tesla has in recent days been securing leasing contracts for huge warehouse storage spaces, the news isn’t too surprising — especially when you consider how much easier it likely is to get production running smoothly when all of the units begins produced are identical (other than with regard to paint jobs).
We were already informed by Tesla CEO Elon Musk that those who wanted all-wheel-drive (AWD) variants would have to wait until next year, as the company is seemingly prioritizing the delivery of “cheap” vehicle configurations. (A good plan, in my opinion.)
The unnamed source mentioned above stated: “What I was told is that Tesla will be moving to more of an inventory sales approach with Model 3. This process has already started with Model S where Tesla is getting more and more incentivized for the owner advisors each quarter to hit their goals and to push more inventory cars that are prebuilt by Tesla.”
Given the reservation numbers for the Model 3, and the company’s expectations for future numbers, the inventory approach seems to have a lot of merit — many people aren’t all that particular about the options they purchase (with a few exceptions — AWD, cold-weather package, etc.) — especially as model prices approach the lower end of the market.
So, to reiterate the points made above: the rumor is that Tesla will be manufacturing batches of basic configuration option groups of the Model 3 to start things off, before then moving on to highly specific custom jobs as the reservation backlog is worked through.