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Elon Musk Shrugs Off Wave Of Tesla Customers Deserting Their Model 3 Orders

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Friday that more than 60,000 customers have canceled their pre-orders for the moderately priced Model 3.

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Total orders for Tesla’s Model 3 tumbled to 455,000 from a high of 518,000, Musk told reporters, but the news of the defections didn’t seem to bother the billionaire tech entrepreneur. He compared the dropped orders to customers at a fast food restaurant that drop out of line because they’re tired of waiting for their orders to come.

“It’s like if you’re a restaurant and you’re serving hamburgers and there’s like an hour-and-a-half wait for hamburgers — do you really want to encourage more people to order more hamburgers?” Musk said. Customers who put down a deposit probably won’t see their Model 3s until the end of 2018.

Tesla is in a fight for its life as the automaker tries to satisfy the massive amount of orders for the vehicle Musk fans are calling the car for the everyman.

Production on the highly touted vehicle is expected to expand from 100 cars in August to 1,500 in September, and plateau to 20,000 per month in December. Musk plans to eventually build 20,000 cars per month.

The Model 3 sedan, which was unveiled July 30, is priced at $35,000 before incentives or options but could increase if customers waiting on backorder prefer a model with a larger battery. Tesla produced roughly 85,000 vehicles in 2016 and plans to make half a million in 2018.

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