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Tesla Motors, Inc.: Model X Test-Drive Feedback Is "Extremely Positive"

By Daniel Sparks – Mar 1, 2016 at 9:30AM

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The consensus at Meet Model X events is that the long wait for the vehicle was well worth it. But will the excitement endure?

As electric-car maker Tesla Motors (TSLA 11.00%) ramps up deliveries of its SUV, the automaker is taking the vehicle to about 30 different locations in North America as part of its Meet Model X tour. The tour, which provides Model X reservation holders with test drives of the vehicle, appears to be convincing reservation holders that the waiting list of about 35,000 customers is worth it.

Tesla Model X SUV. Image source: Tesla Motors.

Customers are gushing
"We're test-driving several thousand reservation holders in nearly 30 North American cities for the Meet Model X tour this season," said Tesla spokesperson Alexis Georgeson in a conversation with The Motley Fool this week about the Meet Model X tour. "Customer feedback has been extremely positive -- reservation holders are thrilled to experience Model X and generally have been very impressed with the vehicle."

Tesla's positive narrative for the Meet Model X tour is also evident by media outlets' coverage of the events. Consider some of these tidbits from different magazines and news sites who attended Meet Model X events:

  • New York Post: Model X's falcon wing doors "drew gawkers at a Chelsea showroom Wednesday morning" and "wowed Tesla-philes by performing surprisingly sophisticated driving tasks on its own."
  • New York Post: "The wait was totally worth it," said one customer to who put down a reservation in 2012 in an interview with the newspaper.

Model X at Tesla's Meet Model X event in Manhattan, New York. Image source: Tesla Motors.

  • Business Insider: "Well-designed cars are often likened to sculpture, but from my perspective, they don't often live up to that billing. The Model X does."
  • TheStreet: "The SUV is everything Tesla has claimed and then some."

Of course, customers may initially be prone to overlook any shortcomings as they gush about the vehicle's new, flashy features. But Tesla isn't your typical auto company. Its Model S continues to score higher than any automaker when it comes to customer satisfaction, according to Consumer Reports.

While investors wait for auto experts to get their hands on the vehicle and share their take, the initial optimism toward the vehicle highlighted by a growing number of media outlets as the company tours the SUV throughout February and March as part of this Meet Model X tour is definitely encouraging for investors.

Can Model X double Tesla's sales?
In 2016, Tesla is expecting to sell about 80,000 to 90,000 of its Model S and X combined. This would represent about 68% year-over-year growth in sales. With only a few hundred Model X delivered in 2015, Tesla is anticipating a jump in Model X production will help contribute to its sales growth during the year.

Longer term, CEO Elon Musk has indicated he believes the SUV will ultimately help Tesla double its sales volume. But it will need to increase production first. The company's guidance for first-quarter deliveries of about 16,000 vehicles, which is lower than its 17,478 deliveries during Q4, signals management's underwhelming expectations for Model X production during the current quarter.

Going into Q2, Tesla appears more confident in Model X production. Musk said during the most recent earnings call that he is expecting to achieve a peak production rate of 1,000 vehicles per week at some point during Q2.

Stay tuned to The Motley Fool for more Model X coverage. We'll be getting our hands on the vehicle this Friday.

Daniel Sparks owns shares of Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla Motors. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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