Remember when you couldn’t buy a Toyota Prius to save your life? Demand was crazy, spotting one was akin to reading ‘Where’s Waldo?’, and the waiting list was depressing. Think of the Tesla Roadster having the same effect on the very rich — but in even more limited quantities.
This is what Tesla Motors is facing as it prepares to place the final touches on its all-electric sports car. All in all, when the first units roll out in late summer, the last person on the waiting list –with more than 380 ordered — won’t be cruising in this red beauty until June of ’08. So, as you can imagine, where you are on that list is very, very important.
Lawrence Ulrich of the NY Times has the opportunity a few weeks back to take the Tesla for a spin. He also managed to squeeze out of company reps who the first fortunate few will be to land a Tesla in their driveways. From the article,
“Beyond that, Tesla is being somewhat coy about the public run. But George Clooneyâ€™s cleft-chin credentials â€“- Hollywood superstardom, passion for green issues, decent checking balance -â€“ got him all the way to No. 8 on Teslaâ€™s list. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, whoâ€™s been wielding his regulatory pen against carbon-dioxide emissions like it was Conanâ€™s mighty sword, couldnâ€™t get higher than No. 10. The Governator, however, only asked for his car two weeks ago, and was almost immediately slotted into the Top Ten.
Will.i.am of the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas, expressed his interest in the Tesla and is now hovering around No. 59. In a hip-hop universe that exerts enormous cultural influence, having an owner-advocate in the community could create even more buzz for electric cars, Mr. Siry said.”
I think Tesla is playing their cards right with this roll-out. Celebrity influence is incredibly inportant — even more powerful than any marketing budget — and getting these vehicles into the hands of people who will really show them off is key.
And for the rest of us on the outside looking in, fret not. The article also revealed that Tesla is working on a sedan (codenamed White Star) that will have increased room and offer a more practical alternative to the roadster. They expect to produce almost 10,000 by 2009 — so here’s to hoping the price is considerably lower.
So tell us, where are you on Tesla’s golden list?