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The Big Picture

The Big Picture

There were some angry comments posted about the recent preview of the Design Studio at the TM store along side some factory-painted betas.

I'm personally a strong advocate of improving the interior (especially console), and feel great disappointment that little has changed. But I also believe a horse never runs faster if you beat it up.

In our world today, TM is the focus of hope for the transition to EVs that outperform gas, and are beautiful enough to love. Because this is our best horse, whenever it stumbles, our voices need to make things better, not worse. Hitting the horse when it struggles is not as productive as constructive suggestions.

So here's my shot:

Gross observation: It's about 90 days to scheduled delivery, and we're seeing repainted hand-built beta cars. That suggests they'll need more time.

Now personally, even though I want to get mine yesterday, I'm also a realist. I run a hi tech manufacturer, and routinely see how amazingly hard it is to birth a new product, particularly if you have very high standards. Apple just shipped a revision to their iPad, after they made 50 million of them. Apple has 60,000 employees and 100 billion in cash, and yet at the end of the presentation, Tim Cook made a point to thank all the people who worked nights and weekends to make it happen. This stuff is hard.

To do something great is not easy. To get all the tools, parts, performance, finishes, and software to the level that you're proud to ship it is very very tough. And cars are about as mind-numbingly complex of a consumer product as they come (jetliners are worse, but consumers don't buy them).

For something this complex, in my view you'd need at least 90 days from when you see the first production tooled sample to first customer shipment. And that's if you're a very aggressive crack team, and lucky enough to dodge any major bugs. There's simply a massive number of details to debug and get right.

To shove it out the door without sufficient debug is pointless. Look at the drubbing Fisker just took for making that mistake.

So here we are after months of silence, and other than fit and finish, it appears that interior design improvements will not be made after all. Wow, look at the swift and brutal commentary on these forums.

Why this happens is simple. The emotional investment and the hopes we all have run so high here, you get hammered if there is a skew between expectations and delivery.

So I have two pieces of advice to reduce grief and get more done:

1. To us customers, when TM struggles, vent with an aim to toward helping them get it right, rather than bashing their shortcomings. Be realistic, these guys are human just like us.

2. To TM, manage expectations intelligently. When you know something is not going to happen, speak up.

It would have been easy to post comments to steer folks interior expectations on the forums toward the practical, but you didn't. That was a needless hit to consumer confidence.

Now as production approaches, be transparent. Lay out the major milestones, and report as you get them done. By cluing customers in to the process, their expectations will stay in step with what's reasonable, and you dodge the violent reaction to discovering a big skew.

There were comments about production-tooled samples in April. That would be a great first step. Hitting end of July is at least plausible if April happens. If it gets delayed, explain what that means for July delivery so folks have the right expectation.

Elon, what you are doing is noble and hard. Put the struggle in the sunlight and folks will stand by you. Trust is everything.

Thumper | March 17, 2012

Very nicely done Mark.

BYT | March 17, 2012

I wonder if some of the silence is related to the fact that Tesla Motors is now a publicly traded company and therefor adds to the frustration?

Mark K | March 17, 2012

BYT - Perhaps, but we're not in a quiet period before an offering.

There are no SEC rules about public statements regarding product (vs. financial data).

I think it's more that there are just a hell of a lot moving pieces in getting it launched, and they can't think of every customer phobia in real time.

Hopefully a philosophy of earnest transparency absolves them of some of the pitfalls with typical customer anxiety before they hit their steady state production.

Fear of the unknown is usually much worse than the actual facts.

Just press on. No one can argue with performance.

Charged_Up | March 17, 2012

It's not about customer phobia. It's about some really basic interior flaws that were pointed out long ago and which, despite tesla's endless hints that improvements are coming!, never arrived. For Pete's sake - you tell everyone you want to appeal to buyers of BMW, Mercedes, Audi et al and you deliver a stunning looking vehicle with unusable cup holder/armrest and no place to put common car items that won't rocket around the cabin in normal driving. Then when potential buyers who have put up hard cash point out shortcomings, you give them mostly lip service (they did after all offer a sunshade because that was a deal breaker for a lot of people in the south) or stonewall or possibly worse, try to play coy in the hope of lowering expectations. If there's a reason things can't be changed, why not just be publicly clear why?

At this point I may have to defer- not because of price but because communication about what has changed or will change for production is basically non existent. And as an early sig holder I'm am certainly disappointed at the sense I get that the company is rushing things out the door to avoid the hit they might take from wall street for any delay. I want to be there early but tesla is making it awfully tough.

stephen.kamichik | March 17, 2012

The design studio (on the TM website) will be about a month behind schedule. TM may be having problems getting US certification of the model S. I expect deliveries to be behind schedule also. The interior appears to leave a lot to be desired. What a disappointment! Patience is a virtue.

Mark K | March 17, 2012

Charged_up, your ambivalence is precisely the problem we all opined about months ago. We want to love it but some can't abide the interior quirks.

I think there will be a fair number of the faithful who'll defer just to see if it sorts out.

That doesn't help TM's startup ramp.

To me, they had it in the bag if their interior was merely on par with an E or a 5. Everything else is so over the top better, that a decent interior would make it a slam-dunk.

TM should have jumped on this last October, but they didn't, so what you see now is what you get.

But they could improve this situation quickly if they fixed the main hole, which is the lack of a center console.
If, when I have to decide, they simply had good CAD renderings of a nicely integrated console add-in, and a ship date for it some months later, that would go a long way to fixing it for me.

I wouldn't blink at paying an extra grand for it either.

TM, I propose you farm it out and get it done. That approach won't derail production focus, which clearly now must be job 1. It also will not bother those customers who actually prefer the empty cabin feel.

TM, read any of these threads, this is as significant and perisitent issue. If you think you see dissonance now, wait till we have to sign on the dotted line. That will show up on the bottom line, and blunt what is otherwise amazing customer momentum.

It's wise to decide on a plan and announce it soon.

Soflauthor | March 17, 2012

@Mark K: +1 on the OP and on your last comment.

cosmomusic | March 17, 2012

I believe there are too many hotheads on these forums. Always something negative to say in the most obnoxious ways. The console could be improved but clearly not a deal breaker for me. Some folks have problems with changes and new ideas. I believe TM is in a place where no car maker have been since the development of the automobile.

We all need to give TM a chance to get things together. The invitation for this weekend event was to see the exact colors of the Signature series. If I am not mistaken, it was not to see the finished interior. So, for forum readers to be up in arms that the console was not changed from previous showings is amazing to me, as that was not the intent of this event. TM should have underlined this point, I guess, but you can't go about underlining every negative assumption each one of us may have.

I just returned home from Santana Row, and I loved the final color reproduction. I had a very difficult time deciding which color I should choose. They were all beautiful. In fact, I believe the colors on the design studio do not do justice to the actual colors on the cars. I met a lot of folks there today who were quite pleased and loved what they saw. Lots of happy people - the silent majority I would assume.

I am willing to take a wait and see attitude. I believe the final product will be awesome. People should just CHILL....Model S will be the nicest looking automobile on the road. I am willing to pay for this innovation.

ddruz | March 17, 2012

IMHO a customer at this price point should not have to pay extra for useable storage space comparable to what's standard in a run of the mill car. I like to think positively that a solution will eventually achieved and appreciate the more positive tone of this thread. But a lot of folks will balk at paying an extra $500 to $1000 for basic storage space that is not unreasonable to expect in any car let alone a luxury car. Tesla's eventual solution should not come at added cost.

Mark K | March 17, 2012

Cosmomusic, there are some bashers, but there are reasonable folks concerned here too.

At issue was how TM set expectations.

An email went out saying "come see the unveiling of our new design studio".

What folks got was a modest rework of what they'd already seen, while "coming this winter" is running out of days to happen.

What struck the nerve for many was the puffing of expectations, which made the sound of the balloon bursting that much louder.

The authentic part is what you read from the people who are not hotheads, but rational folks who want to see TM succeed.

cosmomusic | March 17, 2012

Mark K.. I agree that many of the comments are due to frustration. I am somewhat frustrated as well, in that it's about time for us to see final product....inside and out. Hopefully, TM will do this soon.

In spite these short comings, we all need to keep an open mind and talk with our pocket books if we are not happy with the final product.The loud noise is a bit irritating.

Brian H | March 18, 2012

The VINs 43 & 44 suggest more than just a few hand-built betas have come out. I think these came off the production line.

Thumper | March 18, 2012

Rode to a play last night with friends in their mini van. It has no console! It has a small tray against the dash and then flat floor between the seats. This is similar to a different mini van I once owned. Not having a closed storage between the seats is not weird. Why do we not hear complaints from all these van owners? Because it is not a real problem.
I agree that TM should have just affirmed in October that the tray was going to be the final production interior. It was the teasing and stringing along that something might be different and then not being different that is the real cause of the anger.
Nothing can be done about that now but I hope TM learns a lesson. For us reservation holders lets put the substantive problem in perspective, take a deep breath and enjoy our car when we get it.

EdG | March 18, 2012

I drive a minivan (and hope to shelve it for only when I need that volume) and I need that open space between the front seats when I put my ladder w/extension inside. Otherwise, I have the things I'm bringing with me in whatever container I provide. On those occasions I have to stop quickly some things end up moving around more than is pleasant.

I won't be carrying my ladder in my Model S. I'd like somewhere to put the things I'm taking with me. Note that I'm not even talking about things that stay in the car. I actually take things into the car when I drive.

xhawk1011 | March 18, 2012

agree with cosmomusic; too many hot-heads, drama. If center console is our main-only beef, its still a phenomenal and ground breaking automobile.

Chill out, have some patience. And fortunately, this kind of cosmetic addition will be easy to fix imo.

petero | March 18, 2012

Mark K.

Let’s look at the big picture. You are right, we should be positive and happy. The “S” is going to be a sensational automobile. Tesla has always looked at the big picture (the entire car, the production line, sales, X, the company…).

The problem is not that the console, cup holders, arm rests are inadequate or absent. The problem is TM says too little. In the absence of official information and details,we are left to our own devices, and this is not pretty.

With production to commence in less than 4 months it is reasonable to “assume” that the design is locked down and the focus is on the production line and building, inspecting, testing the production Betas.

I want to know how the crash testing turned out, how the production line is working out, how is the quality of the production Betas. To me, this is the big picture too.

After I receive my “S” I will eventually switch out the tan leather for saddle and either buy from TM, the aftermarket, or make a console between the front seats that works for me.

jscottsanders | March 18, 2012

I don't think it's simply a console issue. If you've been in the beta drivers seat (which I have), it's that the overall interior simply doesn't compare to a Lexus or Mercedes at a 50-60k price point (forget the higher priced models).

I actually wanted to laugh at it during my "test sit" but was so blown away by the gap between the exterior and interior that I really couldn't get my head around it.

They've known about this dissatisfaction for many months. To do nothing by this point strikes me as either highly arrogant - meaning they think we will all follow through anyway, or that those of us who bail or defer will quickly be replaced - or they are very stupid in understanding that this is a deal breaker for many of us.

As my wife asked me the other day: "will you really spend 90k on a car you only like on the outside?"

Highly doubtful.

Klaus | March 18, 2012

I'm really getting tired of all the complaints on the interior. All the comparisons to MB and BMW are ridiculous. Just get your money back and buy a @#$%ing other car that makes you happy and get off this forum. Cup holders! Geez, why not bitch about the valve stems. Reminds me of the lounger with built in flushable toilet! If it doesn't have everything it just aint right.

As far as I'm concerned, you are all just looking for an excuse to get out. Don't let me stop you. Just remember when you buy your "other" car to look under the hood and find there is no storage space, or maybe the gas tank filler port is on the "wrong" side, or the ground clearance doesn't measure up to your expectations or your poorly built driveway. But, by god, it'll have 27 cupholders strewn throughout the interior and a center console to hold your gas receipts, knick knacks, and trail mix for your lengthy road trips.

petero | March 18, 2012

Klaus.

Yaah, those valve stems in the tires really are lame. They are not nearly as nice as those on the: BMW, MB, Audi, Lexus, Jaguar, Aston, or RR.

However, the valve stems in the “S’s” motor puts the others to shame.

Sorry, I understand your point and I’m having a little fun.

Teoatawki | March 18, 2012

It seems like Tesla has lost sight of the driver's experience. Yes, the outside is a work of art, but I'm not going to park it on my lawn to admire it endlessly. 99.94% of my time with the car will be spent behind the wheel. (yes, this implies I don't wash my car often enough.) If I can't get to my sunglasses without pulling off the road to get them from the glove box or a place to rest my arm and keep a beverage handy, my experience will be irritating and frustrating. And paying twice what my first house cost for this experience???

I just don't know.

Brian H | March 18, 2012

petero | March 18, 2012
...
With production to commence in less than 4 months ...

That would be delivery. Production surely at least a month before that. Maybe 2. Or even late April?
;)

Soflauthor | March 18, 2012

@Klaus wrote: I'm really getting tired of all the complaints on the interior. All the comparisons to MB and BMW are ridiculous. Just get your money back and buy a @#$%ing other car that makes you happy and get off this forum.

Love it or leave it, huh?

Many of us who are concerned about the interior care about TM's long-term success. After the first wave of EV fans have purchased the car, then what? At the average price point of the Model S, it will be compete directly with MB, BMW, and others and it will draw buyers from that market segment.

With respect, I think it's "ridiculous" to suggest that that comparisons to those brands make no sense. In fact, unless the entire Model S (including its interior) can compare favorably to MB, BMW and others, it will struggle to grow sales over the mid- and long-term.

I'm a sig reservation holder and a stockholder, so I care about TM's viability. I've made a hard commitment in $$$ to the company. If you think some of us have been overly harsh, think again. We recognize that the Model S can be great car, but "great" includes drive technology and performance, exterior and interior design.

At this stage, we realize that the interior is what it is, but it would be irresponsible not to provide constructive feedback for TM to consider. What is frustrating is that this feedback began in early October, 2011, and it appears that very little has changed as a consequence. That's TM's decision, and it has ever right to make it. I just hope that the result doesn't hurt the company in the mid- and long-term.

ThomasN | March 18, 2012

...it's just not the only feedback.

Mark K | March 18, 2012

Thumper and petero, you captured the essence well. TM made a decision not to change it, but chose not to communicate it. The lesson learned is there are better ways to build customer relationships.

Honesty and transparency really work. Even if customers disagree about a TM decision, they can accept a clearly stated TM choice. Honest differences thoughtfully explained build trust over time.

Brian H the vin's are higher, but the cars are brightly emblazoned with beta labels. I think TM will announce when they are showing production cars, which hopefully happens in a month or so.

Softauthor and teoatawki you articulate well what many customers want. It does not seem an unreaonable request, and investing in the company qualifies you as commenting with the intent of helping TM succeed.

What's needed is more clear feedback from TM acknowledging the need, and what they propose to customers to satisfy it. A concrete plan for an add-in console would do it. That's pretty simple and would improve this quickly.

Jscottsanders keep in mind that the betas are hand built, so fit and finish are not at all representative of production. Seat padding, seams, panels are all proto grade right now, so you have to kind of squint to visualize how it will end up. You'll get a chance to see production samples before you commit. That's what I'll be deciding on.

TM, reasonable, stock-buying folks are asking you to simply communicate some clear decisions on how we settle the console issue,

Do that, and this discussion will be resolved.

Crow | March 18, 2012

I don't get it. The company has consistently said that the interior was 90% complete and what remains is fit and finish. I have had reps tell me this this on the several occasions that I asked. So we have known since October that the design was essentially complete. Then, about a month ago, some forum members relayed a conversation they had with George where he said that a customizable center console solution would be available in response to concerns voiced this forum. This weekend, in response to a question, George said a solution will be available "down the road." There isn't one person in these forums who knows what that solution will look like, when it will be available, or how much it will cost (if anything). Those are the facts.

Those of you who have voiced your concerns have been heard and TM is obviously working on it. So if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Mark K | March 18, 2012

The difference may be subtle, but it's real.

In simple terms, folks just want to know what to expect before they commit.

George knows the difference, he just needs to get concrete answers from engineering so he can give a solid answer.

Sudre_ | March 18, 2012

The Bid Picture for me. . . . If I drive the car for a few months and I do not find it fun I will be selling my stock and the car. I am willing to try out the lack of reachable storage but the driving experience must be enjoyable. I think I will be able to recoup my costs pretty well inside the first 6 months if I am not happy.

I think once us EV folks have our cars the EV part becomes at worst a negative and it is competing to beat the other brands. Heck next year they will have EVs too. If we find the car annoying to drive it's over.

This is worth the long debate but lets see what people say after driving it for a while. I know when I bought my current car I did not even give the cup holders or center counsel a second thought. That was the last thing on my mind. Now one million spilt cups of liquid later it is something I will at least look for. The center counsel on my current car with cup holders is useless and I have thought about ripping it out for a custom one many times.

TikiMan | March 18, 2012

I don't think it's wrong to criticize Tesla for this move. First off, many of us buying this vehicle will be spending well in excess of $95,000.00 (some over $100k), never mind the deposit we all invested for a considerable amount of time.

Since DAY 1, we were ALL told... “Please USE these forums, as Tesla takes all the critical information posted on how to better make this vehicle, VERY SERIOUSLY!”

With that said, I would have to say that since the Betas were released, at least 50% of the critical comments posted on this forum have been about the interior quality (or lack thereof). Many of us commented at how much nicer the original ‘prototype S’ was, as compared to the ‘Beta S’. Many of us frowned at the excessive use of ‘cheap’ plastics, inferior dash-board design, old-fashion ‘park, drive, reverse’ stick, quality cup-holders, arm-rest, et al, much less the lack of a ‘center storage-console’.

I even brought up the liability issue of not having a proper ‘closable’ storage container in the front, which could still IN-FACT put Tesla in a highly liable situation if an accident were to occur, with lose projectiles not secure in the front. Never mind, that typical car thieves deliberately LOOK for exposed items, before smashing a car window, and stealing what they see (sometimes for as little as some exposed pocket change).
Either way, I think with the statements made at the Santana Row Event by Tesla management, it’s fairly obvious at this point; NO ONE at Tesla took any of our comments seriously, and have decided to move forward with their original beta vision (or lack thereof) at full force.

I don’t blame the outcry, and frustration, as many of us will be spending 50% more for this vehicle than we would have EVER considered spending on a luxury ICE vehicle. Yes, gas is expensive; however, it’s NOT $50,000.00 more expensive to those of us that have spent um-teen months offering our shared ‘valued opinions’ about how to make Tesla succeed!

Crow | March 18, 2012

Tiki, it's been said. It's been said in CAPS, with !!!!s, and now with profanity. The company is working on a solution. I know it has been a long time coming and our patience is close to being tapped out but we need to hang a little bit longer.

brianman | March 18, 2012

"Just get your money back and buy a @#$%ing other car that makes you happy and get off this forum."

Is this the kind of "hot head" people are referring to?

TikiMan | March 18, 2012

Kroneal,

No one won an election with a 'few' campaign posters.
No one made millions on a product with a 'few' adds.
No 'fanboy' gets their wishes answered, when they just worship the product.

We ALL need to act and think like a 'board of directors', no matter how much we all want to love this company.

No child grew up to become a good adult, without some 'tough love'.
When I see problems with something I want to believe in, I NEVER DRINK THE KOOL-AID!

Crow | March 18, 2012

TM heard you already, Tiki. They are working on it. Until we have new information, there is no point in rehashing the same old ground.

phb | March 18, 2012

I really understand the frustration of he folks who want a center console area. It's got to be hard to fall in love with a car only to realize that it's not going to work for you because it's going to annoy you on a daily basis. A lot of us are also really interested in seeing TM succeed either because they're investors and/or for environmental reasons.

I also firmly believe that we should be vocal about the problems that we see in the Model S; it's simply great market research for TM.

That said, we seem to be creating new threads on the subject of the center console every other day and having the same argument over and over again and I am highly sympathetic to those who are weary of it. One final word about this idea the TM is simply ignoring you: just because someone doesn't do what you want doesn't mean that you've been ignored. To the contrary, it seems like they're taking it very seriously. George B. said that they were working on it and I have no reason to believe that he's lying to us.

I, for one, am encouraged by the fit/finish improvements shown in the the new betas over the originals. If TM can make the same amount of improvement before July the production models should be of great quality

I'm not worried that the design studio isn't online yet; they had it working in the store this weekend (there are a bunch of screen shots on TMC) and I'm assuming that they're just tweaking it for use online. If its not out in a month I'll start to worry because the early sig holders are going to need it to configure their cars!

TikiMan | March 18, 2012

Kroneal,

Seriously? I could build an AMAZING center-console of the "Model S" using Tesla's vast source of engineers, design equipment, and resources in a matter of weeks!

As George says... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBD3elgMA_0&feature=related

They ACTUALLY believe in their 'lack of' signature 'open-air' nothing!
With as much ad nauseam talk about this issue for as long as it has been going, and the "fresh from the factor" new Signature Beta S's to launch a BIG event, it's obvious this issue means little to nothing to them! Otherwise EVERYONE at Tesla would address this with the ultimate of importance; those ‘fresh’ Signature Beta’s would have had something there, rather than nothing.

Let's face it... Tesla has abundantly made it CLEAR they believe in their 'nothing' approach 100%!!!

All the reps can do is back-peddle as best as possible when bombarded with questions about it (as it has been made very clear from so many of them).

Mycroft | March 18, 2012

Kroneal, consistently since October we've asked again and again about the crappy sliding arm rests and the lack of door pockets and other storage areas. And consistently, we've been told over and over that the interior was beta and that it was only 90% complete. I was told specifically that the doors would very likely have pockets and that the interior was only 90% complete. Obviously, this rep was misinformed.

Tesla reps NEVER, not once, said that this 10% incompletely was merely fit and finish items. i.e. plastic falling off and minor modifications to the size of the bolsters & such. For me, stuff like that is NOT 10%! It's something like 2%. 10% is huge! The near-production betas of today are virtually identical to the cars at the October event.

As I said in my "stringing us along" thread, I feel strung along. If the items in question, (sliding arm rests, door pockets, and console) were locked in, they should have said so. Period.

Where's the design studio? Why are there the same half dozen pictures on the website for the last six months? It doesn't take a fricking engineering team all this time to write the code for the design studio and it takes one lousy intern to upload some pictures and video. LAME!

As a stockholder with nearly a quarter mill invested in TSLA, and as a Signature reservation holder, this complete lack of effective communication is disturbing and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

jd3tm | March 18, 2012

All,

I got to spend 15 minutes with George Blankenship, VP WW Sales at the SR Tesla premier Friday night. I asked several questions covering a lot of the conversation in this and other forum topics. I will capture them here and ask folks to cross-post if desired.

1. #43 and #44 are still Betas in several areas but not the big ones...there is only the lame center console that will be available at first Signature delivery! BUT, they are putting together upgrade/drop-ins to remove/replace the center console with optional ones that will include things like rear and proper front cup holders, full center consoles, etc. I'm sure they won't make this public until they have fully formed plans. But, it sounded like they clearly have field upgrade plans coming in this area! George said these would be backward compatible with Signature vehicles so you will be able to upgrade later. Stay tuned.

2. Connectivity package - for the US, they are negotiating with ATT. Not final yet. Stay tuned.

3. Rear seats - still in work because they are having regulatory issues and design issues to match. They want to provide a solution that minimizes rear-view interference yet meets guidelines/requirements for safety. NONE of the cars there have final design for this aspect of the vehicle.

4. Outside fit and finish - lots of work to go in cleaning up the fit and finish. George pointed out a number of areas where panels on#43 and #44 didn't lineup properly, etc.

5. Interior fit and finish - lots of little things like sunshades, etc. Even things like programming of the overall features and functionality isn't done yet. ie - there was still no method for moving a feature from big screen to little screen, etc.

6. Rear seat headroom - interesting. I sat in the back seat of both panoramic and solid roofed cars...panoramic roof has MORE headroom by a good 1-2inches BUT, the back seats were actually quite different in the two vehicles I tried. I'm not sure my measurements will hold when they actually have the right rear seat treatments completed.

George was quite emphatic that they will be delivering Signatures in July! I suspect it will be ~32 July... ;-)

They are still doing things like suspension testing, etc. by spending a lot of time running over potholes in CA and over bumps, etc.

As George stated, there are still a lot of little things to get done but he didn't see any roadblocks and, in fact, said that there would be some "cool surprises" for Signature owners.

I asked when Sigs would be configuring their vehicle for delivery. His comment - "Not for a few weeks" I take that to mean maybe by the middle of April and not before.

So much for my report..heading back over now to see the vehicles in Daylight!

cheers,

jd3
sig 692

Mark K | March 18, 2012

Mycroft's criticism is warranted. TM could have responded more timely and concretely.

If it's any solace, their silence may not have been coyness, but rather internal debate as they grappled with consumer wants vs. schedule. It's possible they truly hadn't decided because of the conflicting demands. If that's the case, it's a little less upsetting than simply choosing to be silent.

In any case, I think what you hear in Mycroft and others is a genuine visceral feeling that the interior shortcomings needlessly blow what could be a clean sweep victory over contemporary rivals. If you're a stockholder that really makes you wince.

If George can get the go-ahead to say something more precise about the console, and we can see pictures and ship dates when we have to sign, I think that'll fix it.

We've said our piece, now it's time for TM to say what they want to do.

Mark K | March 18, 2012

Jd3tm, that's encouraging.

Hopefully George can congeal that into some official word soon and the issue will resolve.

Tiebreaker | March 18, 2012

TM doesn't say enough...

What?

Probably they should say NOTHING, like the other car makers referenced here when they prepare a new model, all covered in black tape and camouflage.

Darn it, where is the tailpipe? I really love my car with a loooong chrome covered tailpipe. I am NOT buying a $100K without a chrome'd tailpipe! Just look at the other cars that cost so much!

dborn @nsw.au | March 18, 2012

jd3:-after sale modifications accord with what i was told by the Australia rep last Wednesday, when i test drove the roadster again. Please see my post "some info from the Australia rep.". In fact, he said the whole interior, accent panels included would be relatively easy to swap out. (for a makeover down the line) as they felt people would keep their cars for a long time.

ThomasN | March 18, 2012

Lol

And don't forget, you dont have to pay full price for the expensive overhyped tailpipe . You can buy a less expensive one, but display a sticker for the real one

Mark K | March 18, 2012

ThomasN, you can recount the tailpipe jokes to sooth the despair of seeing your shiny new model s with a broken window ... after a smash-n grab of your smartphone - left in plain view in your open tray, because consoles are just for us jerks.

ThomasN | March 18, 2012

Wow, I make a joke in reference to another...

Mark K | March 18, 2012

No worries ThomasN. Jokes are cool, co-opting isn't.

Something useful actually got done here.

olanmills | March 18, 2012

When was the last time you sat in a beta vehicle? I'm guessing before the Model S, never.

While I don't believe we're going to see major revisions to the interior, I still don't believe it can be judged until we see a production car or pre-production car (or even photos) that Tesla explicitly declares as representitive of the final thing. So far they have not.

Tesla cannot and should not address every little complaint on a web forum.

For that matter, even if they knew they were going to have a hard time launching the final Design Studio by March 22nd, I don't think that means they should have announced a delay or even updated the graphic unless the Design Studio still months away. It would just bring undue attention do something that really isn't going to matter at all in six months anyway.

The fact of the matter is that people here are excited and anxious, and so you are following things very closely. I'm a gamer; I see this all of the time, especially with big franchises and/or publishers or developers that choose to engage with the fans very early. There are pros and cons to this approach. Here are some of the cons though. There will be much anxiousness about everything. No matter how engaged and transparent things are, the amount of information is never enough, the company is never listening enough and information always too late. Inevitably, there is always some "promise" (or more likely, something the commnity perceived as a promise, even though it is not) that is broken, a feature missed, or a milestone date delayed. Some folks build up expectations so high, that they cannot possibly be met.

And more often then not, none of this wailing matters in the end. Tesla obviously knows more than you or I, and they must reveal what they can at what they believe is the right time, and the reason should never, ever be for the purpose of placating people on the forums.

Now think about the way most products are released. You maybe see something about it a month before it will be available, and then some commercials, and then boom, you can buy it, judge it, whatever. Even for some products that you know about a year or more in advance, it's a teaser. No details are revealed unless they are rock solid aspects of the product. You won't see anything about the product again until it's almost available. The press and/or consumers get to see it pretty much right before it's available for sale. It's a different approach, and there are pros and cons to that too.

I'm not saying everything will turn out fine and all of your concerns about the interior are baseless. I'm saying that Tesla's non-commital stance isn't really a sign of anything. They should listen to feedback as much as it suits their needs, but they should not always publicly address every issue raised on the forums as quickly as possible. That's not always the right way to launch a new product.

phb | March 18, 2012

@jd3

That's great news! I'm excited to see what they come up with and I'm glad that they're not going to push back production!

Given George's position in the company, if he says they're working on something, I'd trust it. I'm also glad that they're not rushing it.

Tiebreaker | March 18, 2012

Now I see the light! You need a center console so you can hide your smart phone!

Mark K | March 18, 2012

Olanmills- Obviously TM shouldn't respond to everything. But this topic is one that has significant traction - reflecting its relative gravity.

Elton's strategy is to make the first EV that's not a compromise. This is smart and it's going to work. When you get all the rocket science right, why let a modest omission turn folks away?

People have stuff near them in their cars that they need to keep organized. This is not a rare idiosyncrasy, it's mainstream. TM can still get a dramatically new and different interior look while accommodating this need.

Some manufacturers reveal nothing, and others consult their audience. TM chose the collaborative approach by announcing the car years in advance, and reporting on progress. We are simply doing what they encouraged.

George's latest remarks suggest there's progress from the customer feedback, and we'll hope to see concrete details soon.

Those of us who took time to explore this did it because we think it will help TM win.

If more customers buy the car because their needs are met, this was very productive.

Larry Chanin | March 18, 2012

At this point I may have to defer- not because of price but because communication about what has changed or will change for production is basically non existent. And as an early sig holder I'm am certainly disappointed at the sense I get that the company is rushing things out the door to avoid the hit they might take from wall street for any delay. I want to be there early but tesla is making it awfully tough. - Charged_Up

I agree that the early Signature reservation holders have a unique issue. However, I am confident that Tesla is aware of the contributions you have made and the greater risks that you have taken, and will eventually reward your loyalty in a tangible manner. Perhaps deferral may be the way to go, but if I were in your position, that would be an act of last resort.

Based on what jd3tm has posted regarding his conversation with George Blankenship I think we have some reason to be optimistic.

...they are putting together upgrade/drop-ins to remove/replace the center console with optional ones that will include things like rear and proper front cup holders, full center consoles, etc. I'm sure they won't make this public until they have fully formed plans. But, it sounded like they clearly have field upgrade plans coming in this area! George said these would be backward compatible with Signature vehicles so you will be able to upgrade later. Stay tune.

It wouldn't surprise me if Tesla offerred this retrofit at no cost to the early Signatures reservation holders that are forced to take delivery of the initial console design.

It must be recognized that the viability of the company is closely tied to deliverying cars on schedule and any delay is particularly dangerous to a startup company. Tesla is going to do everything in their power to avoid that, even if some folks are unhappy with intial design choices.

My suggestion would be to talk to Will Nicholas about your options, including deferral and what it means in terms of delivery, but resist the temptation to take action until the very last moment.

Larry

Tiebreaker | March 18, 2012

All jokes aside... Give Tesla a chance to finish the job.

I agree that interior fit and finish and amenities must be on par with the cars in the same class and price range. However, the truly exiting part is that Tesla is making something that the others had never made, and being very open in the process (another thing the other's don't do). I can't wait for the gas-free stupendous acceleration!

That would still not be an excuse for a lousy interior. But... Tesla may just have something up their sleeve. They may not tell on purpose, the last surprise mentioned by Elon. The cars seen so far are clearly labeled "beta prototypes". When the production cars are ready to ship, we may as well see something different. And if not, and you really don't like it, you can take back your deposits and buy something else.

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