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Pat Wise
January 13, 2018

For the first time, the general public can come see - and even sit in - a Tesla Model 3 in a company showroom, starting Friday at 10 a.m.at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. The product was first promoted by Tesla, the biggest United States installer of rooftop-solar systems, with installation of the shingles on the homes of several employees and the company now will start installing roofs for customers within the next few months.

In a lot of ways, the debut of the Model 3 at both the Stanford and Century showrooms is an incredibly favorable sign for Tesla and its ever-growing consumer base. The public - including prospective buyers and those who have already put down $1,000 deposits for the vehicle - will be able to see it, and check out the interior, indefinitely at Stanford Shopping Center and Century City Mall in Los Angeles starting Friday. There are about 500 employees working at the site now, Tesla said.

The store at the Stanford Shopping Center is one of two locations where the auto will be on display.

After California, Tesla will gradually add Model 3 display cars to its locations around the U.S. as it ramps up production and continues the rollout of its latest electric vehicle.

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It's no secret Tesla has encountered some Model 3 production challenges in the early going.

In November, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that his firm wouldn't hit its production target of 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of December as promised, but instead by the end of March. That's coming later, the company said in a press release.

The debut immediately struck a chord among attendees of a private event held at Tesla's retail store on Thursday evening, with many enthusiasts posting photos of the Model 3 on social media.

The Model 3 is Tesla's first offering in the entry level luxury segment. For the longest time, the company had been anti-selling the Model 3, comparing it less favorably to the Model S, and emphasizing the long wait associated with the more affordable vehicle.

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