Tesla's Model X Has 20,000 Orders, Still Hasn't Hit Production

Feb 16, 2015 04:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Tesla is still the most popular automaker at the party, but fervor for the innovative company could cool if it can't make good on certain promises--such as the Model X, which still hasn't appeared after two years of delays.

Company filings show that the Palo Alto-based carmaker has 10,000 outstanding orders for its electric Model S sedan along with 20,000 reservations for the elusive Model X sport-utility vehicle, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A Model S takes around five work days to build, far longer than options like the Ford Fusion or Toyota Camry, which each take about 20 hours to manufacture.

Tesla recently reported a $107.6 million loss for the fourth quarter, but CEO Elon Musk doesn't seem discouraged. In its latest letter to shareholders, the company forecast that vehicle deliveries would increase more than 70 percent this year.

Barely managing to reach a production goal of 35,000 vehicles in 2014, Tesla is now aiming for around 55,000 Model S and Model X deliveries for this year. While it's been touted as an auto industry game changer, Tesla is as of yet losing money, and Musk has said it likely won't become profitable before 2020.

Offering only the $70,000 Model S and comparably priced Model X won't get it there, which is why Tesla will have to deliver when it comes to the affordable Model 3. When it joins the Tesla lineup, the Model 3 is expected to cost around $30,000, possibly less after government subsidies.  

"Model 3 is essential," Thilo Koslowski, vice president of automotive for Gartner Inc., told the Times. "No car company can survive when their lowest-priced vehicle costs $70,000. Even Porsche and BMW offer vehicles at $50,000."

Tesla will have to hurry. General Motors recently unveiled a Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle concept that is already being eyed as a Tesla competitor since it will purportedly sell for around the same price and offer a similar battery range.

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