Crowds Throng to Tesla Store as Model 3 Goes On Display

January 13, 2018, 9:38 PM UTC

On Friday, Tesla’s Model 3 went on public display in only the second of its showrooms, attracting a crowd of gawkers big enough to generate long lines out the door.

The showroom, in Los Angeles’ Century City, follows a Model 3 going on display in Tesla’s Palo Alto showroom, reports to the Los Angeles Times. The Model 3 has been trotted out at car shows and Tesla events, but so far it’s been hard for the public to get up close. Tesla now says display Model 3s will be spreading to showrooms around the country in the “near future.”

Technology reporter Brooke Crothers posted two brief videos of the excitement at the debut, and compared the line snaking out the door to the ones that form when Apple launches a new phone.

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The difference, of course, is that the people lining up at Apple stores are usually there to buy something — but there’s no chance anyone in the Tesla crowd was driving home in a Model 3. Tesla has received more than 450,000 preorders for the Model 3, and production bottlenecks meant manufacturing got off to a slow start last year. More recent anecdotal evidence suggests things are picking up, but anyone ordering a Model 3 today could still end up waiting years to get it.

So, it’s no surprise the Model 3 hasn’t gone on wide public display — it’s more important to get cars to the people who’ve already payed for them. In fact, it seems there might be more demand to just get close to the thing than Tesla can easily accommodate: the Century City store reportedly wasn’t even offering test drives, and staff were described as anxious as visitors swarmed around the car.