I’ve never ordered a car before. My Dad ordered one when I was a kid, picking out the options at the showroom and then having the car appear a few months later. I thought that was cool and looked forward to the day when I could do that.
Fast forward 40-some years, and I’ve never done that. Instead, I’ve tended to get lots of used cars. I think I’ve owned 30 cars, and while a few were new, all were off the lot. I have gone to a dealer intending to buy and picking from available models. I’ve also gone for a specific car and set of options and purchased that one. In all those cases, I might have some some research, but in a short period of time I had a car I could drive. I think the quickest was about 20 minutes for a lease and the longest for 5-6 hours of waiting and being annoyed at inefficient salespeople and finance managers.
The Tesla Sales Experience
There isn’t a Tesla lot. There are some dealer stores, but they are more like retail stores, where you can see a car, schedule a test drive, but you don’t get a car that day. There are some used Teslas available, but I don’t know how quickly you could get one for yourself.
Instead, you order a Tesla online. You can do this at the store, with a salesperson, or do it at home, but the process is the same. You go to Tesla.com and then pick a model. You click “Order Now” and then decide on your options. This is similar to other car manufacturers, but Tesla has relatively few choices.
This is my process, which I followed from the comfort of my home at 10pm on a Friday night.
To get started, you go to Tesla.com and then pick your model. On every page, and in every section on the car, there is an “Order now” button.
In my case, I wanted a Model Y. For this model, there are only two choices, as of mid 2021. There is the long range version with AWD and the performance version. I was more concerned with range, and could live with a 1s slower 0-60 time.
I selected this car and then the options went to the color. The default white is no charge, but all other colors cost more. I chose, or rather my wife wanted, the dark silver. We live on gravel roads, and white / black cars don’t look good. Something similar to road dust us better Winking smile
Note: Red is $2k more, the others $1k.
Next is wheels. I’m not a big wheel guy. I think some look nice, and the 20” induction ones are good looking and $2k more, but everyone notes they are a stiffer ride and chip/damage easily. I’m find with 19” wheels. Cheaper for tires, and for a second winter set.
The next section asks if you want a tow hitch. I don’t plan on towing, as we have other vehicles to do this. If I need one, I can get a small hitch from a third party for less, and really, I don’t plan on towing anything with lights. Mostly this would be a bike/ski rack, so I’m skipping this option.
The default interior is black, which I am fine with. It will show less dirt. White looks nice, but it doesn’t fit my lifestyle. This is a $1k option. For the seating, I’ve seen 7 seats in many cars, including my X5’s model, and the back seats aren’t usable. Plus, it’s $3k and my dogs won’t like the seats. They prefer the open space.
The last option is Full self driving. I’m not sold on most of this, and it’s $10k. Plus it’s in beta. The recent updates from actual drivers on the latest beta haven’t been great, so I’ll skip this.
Since Tesla is somewhat building to match demand, you’ll likely need to wait a period of time. I caught the beginning of a sales boom, where demand is far outpacing. When I ordered in May, the estimate was July. It’s not late August. Here, for an order shown late in July, it’s December, and my guess is you’d get a car in January.
If you click this, you get a summary, shown below. You also decide whether you want to buy it, get a loan, or a lease. You then can put your $100 down, and your terms are set.
I chose a loan, which defaults to $4500 down. That’s fine for me, and once I paid my $100, Tesla started to send me emails and give me further steps, like filling out the credit app, choosing a delivery location, and prepping for insurance. These were things I needed to do, and I liked getting reminders when I’d forgotten some.
I still haven’t done the insurance, which they note I need to have done to pick up the car. I’ll get that done when they give me an actual delivery date.
All in all, this was a smooth process and I look forward to getting my car. If I don’t back out.
If you are thinking of ordering one, I’ve got a referral code. You get 1,000 free Supercharger miles and so do I. Use: http://ts.la/john92950