Submitted by nickjhowe on February 20, 2013
I took delivery on Jan 3rd, and absolutely LOVE my car, but as I've been reading all the Broder comments (I made some myself), and reading the other threads every day I wonder - this may be heresy - if we need to stop, take a breath and maybe stop smoking the Tesla weed for a little while.
Yes we all love the car; yes Tesla is doing some AMAZING things; yes Elon is an über visionary who is pushing the envelope and delivering on it, but:
- they met the June launch date for the Model S but only by hand building a dozen cars, then not releasing another car for months. Marketing stunt by any other name.
- many of the signature cars were really release candidate cars that did not have the fit and finish of even the early production cars (confirmed by a TM service tech)
- the signature premium paid by signature owners enabled them to get their cars only a few weeks earlier, or in some cases a few weeks LATER than production owners
- the signature premium, rather than providing a 'deal' by discounting the optional extras as a reward for dropping $40k on TM did no such thing
- TM is consistently underperformed on all delivery date promises since the Founders Cars, the latest being the slip of the 40kWh cars. 5000 cars in year one? Try less than 3000.
- I know we are early adopters, but the reality of the fit and finish of the current cars is FAR away from the expectations set by Elon when he was 'personally inspecting' the cars off the line. Body panels don't fit. Chrome isn't aligned. Scratches in paintwork. PPF applied over the top of paint problems...
- and handles that don't work, and doors that open on their own! Seriously?
- the delivery process has been less than optimal in many circumstances - cars getting lost, cars going into limbo, cars damaged during delivery, wrong cars delivered...
- the level of knowledge of TM 'product specialists' leaves A LOT to be desired. The forums are full of stories of owners being given conflicting and flatly wrong information by TM employees. I know this is a startup, but its not that hard to train new employees
- we are still waiting for a long list of items that have been promised in writing by TM - seven months after launch and we still don't have a parcel shelf??? Really???
- TM has been very quiet about the performance of the car in cold weather, to the extent that it could be considered deliberately misleading.
- Overall communication has been less than stellar. Yes GB has stepped into the forums a couple of times, but we shouldn't be comparing TM's communication with old Detroit. We should be comparing it against some of Silicon Valley's best and by that standard they are falling short, especially when their average customer is dropping $100k, not $2.99 in the app store
- the whole temporary tag/title process seems to be almost a running joke
I'm not suggesting we don't cut TM a lot of slack. I'm not suggesting they aren't on their way to building the best car in the world. All I'm suggesting is that we need to inject a bit of balance into the conversation, and acknowledge the gaps where they exist. Toning down the hubris on TM's part wouldn't go amiss.