Tesla to open up Model 3 orders in UK

Tesla is poised to open up orders for the Model 3 in the U.K. by early May, as well as other markets that have right-hand drive vehicles, according to a tweet from CEO Elon Musk.

The Model 3 order page will go live May 1 or 2 in the U.K., followed by Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong. Tesla’s U.K. web page says “deliveries in right-hand drive markets will begin in the second half of 2019.”

The first Model 3 vehicles were handed over to U.S. customers beginning in July 2017 at a splashy event at its factory in Fremont, Calif. Those first vehicles went to Tesla employees and deliveries limped along for months due to production bottlenecks. Deliveries began in earnest in 2018.

The expansion into more right-hand drive markets follows a disappointing first quarter for Tesla.

The company reported Wednesday wider-than-expected loss of $702 million, which included $188 million of non-recurring charges.

Tesla’s Q1 revenues fell to $4.5 billion, compared to $7.2 billion in the fourth quarter, in part due to its failure to efficiently deliver Model 3 vehicles to customers overseas.

About 50 percent of Tesla deliveries in the first quarter occurred in the final 10 days of the period. “That’s insane,” Musk said Wednesday during an earnings call.

Musk said the company is changing how it delivers vehicles as a result of the challenges it faced last quarter. Instead of building cars in batches and sending that dedicated bunch to one region, Tesla plans to blend vehicle production customers throughout the quarter, said Musk, who added this strategy will put less strain on its logistics system.

“We don’t want a situation again like we had in Q1, where essentially, all the cars were arriving to customers worldwide, all at the same time,” Musk said. “So it just makes sense to plan production according to demand moving forward.”