Electric car pioneer Tesla Inc. (TSLA) invited institutional investors to take a ride in its new Model 3 sedan, its first mass-market model, at a closed-door event at its showroom in Brooklyn, N.Y. A number of analysts, including a team at Instinet, were enthusiastic about the company's first mass-market vehicle after their test drives. (See also: Tesla's Margin for Error Is ‘Uncomfortably Thin’.)

“We believe there is a real passion for the brand. It is bigger than loyalty because much of the enthusiasm comes from people who have never owned a Tesla. The only comparable we see is the iPhone. Apple succeeded because the world shifted from PCs to smartphones and Apple had the best product. Similarly, we believe there is a secular shift today from internal combustion engines (ICEs) to electric vehicles and we think Tesla has the best product,” said Instinet’s Romit Shah in a note to clients Thursday.

Questions of Quality

While the analysts admitted that they “aren’t professional car reviewers,” they wrote that they walked away confident that Tesla will sell as many cars as it can produce “for a long time.” Shah was particularly upbeat on Tesla’s technology integration, noting that the Model 3’s “immersive central display experience is as close as we’ve seen to smartphone automobile integration.”

Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi was less optimistic in his review, deeming the fit and finish of Tesla’s demo cars “relatively poor,” while pointing to misalignment in some parts including the glass roof, body panels and rubber trim. “Poor overall initial quality could undermine Tesla’s brand and potentially overwhelm its service network,” wrote the analyst, who also worries that the new affordable car could cannibalize sales of the Model S.

The test run responses come as Tesla faces production issues with the Model 3. Earlier this month, the Silicon Valley company was forced to push back its target of building 5,000 units per week by three months to late in the first quarter of 2018. (See also: Tesla: Elon Musk Takes Blame for Production Delays.)

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