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Ford paid a huge premium to own one of the first Tesla Model Xs

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Ford paid nearly $200,000 — well over MSRP — to own one of the first Tesla Model X CUVs to roll off the line, according to a report from Bloomberg. It's common practice for automakers to buy competitors' vehicles in order to drive them, measure them, and disassemble them to understand how they're made, but paying over $50,000 above this particular Model X's retail price of $144,950 shows just how anxious Ford was to get the vehicle into the lab.

The story gets better, though. Bloomberg says that this fully loaded Founders Edition Model X was a freebie for the original owner, who won it in Tesla's referral program last year by convincing 11 people to buy a Model S. The electric crossover, which just started shipping late last year and has only been made in small numbers, is still working its way through a lengthy waiting list of deposit holders — so winning just the 64th vehicle off the line is a very big deal, and the huge resale premium is not a surprise.

Having toured a major manufacturers "teardown" facility for competitor vehicles in the past, I can tell you that they take this part of the job very, very seriously: each part is meticulously disassembled, studied, and measured with a variety of instruments. In one case, a company was in the process of tearing down another manufacturer's car that had just been recalled, in an attempt to understand the defect and avoid making a similar mistake. The Model X itself has recently been recalled for defective third-row seats.


Tesla Model X hands on