Tesla’s French Connection: Model 3 Reservation Holders Invited to Paris Motor Show

Tesla France Paris Motor Show

In preparation for its imminent Model 3 launch in Europe, Tesla will showcase the Model 3 to French reservation holders during the Paris Motor Show to be held between October 4 and October 14.

Also called the Mondial de l’Automobile, the Paris Motor Show 2018 promises some stunners from the houses of Lamborghini, Daimler Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar. We’ll be seeing the Audi e-tron’s pricing and release date revealed for the market, and also on display will be the new-generation BMW 3 Series that’s built on the new, light platform aimed at reducing gas consumption.

As part of this eclectic mix of gasoline and Lithium, the Model 3 will be showcased officially for the first time on French soil. Reservation holders aren’t being given a personal invitation as such, but their email e-vite says that those with IDs and reservation numbers will be allowed to “skip the line” and later told the price of their upcoming acquisitions. Let’s hope we don’t hear too many cries of “Mon Dieu!” when that time comes.

The most realistic timeline for a French Model 3 launch is around mid 2019. The largest chunk of reservations came from the United States, followed by China. That means their first overseas launch is very likely to be in Hong Kong or Shanghai, the latter of which is also where Tesla will be building Gigafactory 3. Europe necessarily has to come third on the list because reservation volumes are comparatively the lowest among the three regions, and Chinese reservation holders will certainly have something to say if Europe gets the Model 3 first.

But there’s also the question of supply from just one factory meeting global demand. The launch of the base Model 3 at $35,000 is now slated for sometime around May 2019, by which time Tesla should be making no fewer than 10,000 cars a week on a consistent basis at their Fremont factory. That would give them a half-million cars a year supply base from which to go to multiple markets. Even at that rate it will take them the better part of a year to fulfill existing pre-orders.

That means Tesla will have to move slow with new markets. Simultaneous launches might be logistically impractical because of supply constraints, so a staggered move in Europe is what we’re expecting, starting with the markets with the most potential, such as Scandinavia and the Netherlands, where the Model S and Model X already top the sales charts.

Tesla will most certainly have graded its potential markets based on reservation levels and projected new order volume, so a stage-by-stage rollout would make the most sense. That way, reservation levels can be brought down evenly across multiple markets, and Tesla will have some breathing space before it has to ramp up Model 3 production once again – this time doubling it to 20,000 cars a year. Musk’s original goal was a total of a million cars by 2020, but it looks like Tesla might be making that many cars annually by that time.

Of course, they may complement that with the Model Y based on demand. This will allow them to spread consumer focus on two models instead of just one. The Chinese factory is the chief suspect for Model Y production, as we’ve discussed earlier. It will also be timed in a way that Musk’s promise of making 1 million EVs by 2020 could prove prophetic.

So, when will France get the Model 3? Tesla could start a dribble of deliveries within six months from now, which is very likely given their choice of the Paris Motor Show to unveil the Model 3. Also pointing to the same conclusion is the fact that Tesla recently registered its first Model 3 VINs in Europe, sparking rumors of a rushed international expansion schedule.

The timing would allow for a late Q1-19 to early Q2-19 delivery schedule for the Model 3 to be shipped out to one or more markets, including China, Australia/NZ and several countries in Europe in slowly growing volumes of shipments.

Most French reservation holders will give their right arm for a private glimpse of their future possession, so it’ll be interesting to see the cult-like gathering at the Tesla stall contrasting with the typical floating crowd at the supercar and other stalls.

See you there, mon ami!