Elon Musk tries to ‘anti-sell’ Tesla’s Model 3

Two months before the electric-car maker plans to begin production of its first vehicle to sell for near mass-market prices, CEO Musk told investors he’s concerned expectations are too high.

An unlikely naysayer has emerged as Tesla prepares to market the all-important Model 3 sedan to consumers: Elon Musk himself.

Two months before the electric-car maker plans to begin production of its first vehicle to sell for near mass-market prices, the chief executive officer told investors he’s concerned expectations are too high.

Tesla will be “anti-selling” the Model 3, offering no test drives or advertising for six to nine months, Musk said

“We’re doing our best to clear up that confusion so people do not think that Model 3 is somehow superior to Model S,” Musk said Wednesday on a conference call to discuss Tesla’s quarterly financial results. “Model S will be better than Model 3, as it should be because it’s a more expensive car.”

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The Model 3 is the linchpin in Musk’s plan to bring electric cars to the mainstream. Tesla is targeting output of a million cars per year by 2020, a sharp rise from the roughly 84,000 the company produced in 2016. Reaching that ambitious goal will require ample sales of lower-priced vehicles like the Model 3 rather than the pricey luxury autos it’s offered so far.

Tesla stock fell 5 percent to $295.46 Thursday, a day after it reported a quarterly loss, excluding some items, of $1.33 a share. Analysts had expected a deficit of 82 cents a share.

Scheduled to start at about $35,000 before options or incentives, the Model 3 will be capable of driving roughly 215 miles between charges. The cheapest version of the Model S starts at around $70,000.

Model 3 will have less range, acceleration, power and room than the Model S. But because the “3” moniker conjures the impression of a next generation to buyers used to…

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