It’s a somewhat common industry practice for automakers to purchase the offerings of rival automakers in order to tear them down, to try to get an idea of things that can be stolen, etc. While it probably comes as no surprise that industry giants have been purchasing some of Tesla’s vehicles, the amount of money that some of them are willing to pay might be.
Ford apparently paid $199,950 for a Founders Series Model X, before taxes — ~$55,000 more than the sticker price for the version in question — according to Bloomberg. To be more specific here, the company seems to have actually bought the 64th Model X produced and delivered — a white P90D Founders Series edition equipped with the Ludicrous Mode upgrade.
That’s quite a premium to pay for just a year or so headstart over the other auto manufacturers — after all, Tesla now seems likely to fulfill its reservation backlog well before the end of 2016, going by recent reports on the matter.
Bloomberg provides more details:
Spied recently in the Detroit area with Michigan manufacturers’ plates, it originally belonged to a California coin dealer who bought it as part of Tesla’s customer-referral promotion.
…One Ford executive spotted driving the company’s white Model X was David Woodhouse, chief designer of the automaker’s Lincoln luxury line, according to a person who saw him. Woodhouse oversaw the creation of the Lincoln Navigator concept SUV that debuted at the New York Auto Show last month. Like the Model X, the Navigator concept featured gull-wing doors, though Ford said that feature won’t be on the production version of the SUV. Ford declined to confirm who is driving the car.
…According to vehicle registration documents obtained by Bloomberg, the window-sticker price on the all-wheel-drive Model X P90D that Ford purchased is $144,950, including the $10,000 Ludicrous Speed Upgrade that boasts a 0-to-60 miles per hour time of 3.2 seconds.
(Note that the Model X features falcon-wing doors, not gull-wing doors. This is an important distinction for practicality and convenience.)
The Model X in question seems to have been sold to Corporate Auto of Auburn Hills, Michigan, by a man named Wayne Skiles — who obtained the Founders Series offering through Tesla’s referral program.
Skiles, who owns the Carousel Coin & Jewelry Exchange in San Bernardino, California, commented on the matter in an interview with Bloomberg: “I sold 11 Model Ss. So I got a Founders Model X and immediately flipped it for a profit. The car never came to California. I flew to Chicago, took physical delivery of the Model X, and immediately drove it to a dealer in Chicago and sold it.”
Ford released a public statement on the matter: “It is a common industry practice among many automakers to buy production vehicles for testing as soon as they are released. Sometimes, this means automakers pay more than sticker price to acquire them as quickly as possible.”