Tesla abandons plans to produce RHD Model S and Model X and cancels orders

Tesla had some bad news for hopeful Model S and Model X reservation holders in Australia and New Zealand. In an email sent to reservation holders on Friday the automaker announced it is no longer moving forward with plans to build a right-hand drive (RHD) version of their flagship vehicles and will be cancelling all outstanding orders. While they are not making a RHD version, Tesla is offering a LHD version in some of the other affected markets.

As we all know by now, Tesla stopped producing the Model S and Model X late in 2020 to upgrade the Fremont factory for the refresh design. With the production stop Tesla also stopped delivering the two vehicles around the world, only restarting deliveries in the US in mid-2021. It took much longer for deliveries to restart outside of North America with the vehicles only reappearing in Europe late in 2022.

For those customers in other markets, like Australia and New Zealand, they were still waiting for the Model S/X to arrive, some more than two years after they first placed an order. It looked like deliveries were going to begin soon as a left-hand drive (LHD) Model S was spotted being tested on Australian roads back in February. In a somewhat shocking move, Tesla has said it will not be making either the Model S or Model X in RHD.

According to a copy of the email shared on Twitter by Sawyer Merritt, Tesla says the reason is because of “recent changes to the vehicle program.” Tesla goes on to explain that orders are “unable to be fulfilled and will be cancelled.”

To help soften the blow, customers whose orders are being cancelled are being offered a credit of AUD$3,000 ($2,708CAD/$2,007USD) towards the purchase of a new Model 3 or Model Y. Customers will of course also receive a refund for any payments made towards their Model S/X order.

You can read the full letter below, but Tesla doesn’t go into more detail than that about their decision. While it is understandably disappointing for those customers affected, it appears as though Tesla is trying to streamline their production processes and lowering their costs for what are their low-volume cars. Very few countries require RHD vehicles (see map below, green = LHD, orange = RHD) with Australia and New Zealand being two of them.

Residents of Japan and the United Kingdom (UK) also use RHD cars, but Tesla is allowing the purchase of LHD in Japan and the UK as of Friday.

You can read the full letter below.

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