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The Luxury List

There seems to be some debate as to whether or not the pricing that's been released is awesome, or not. That debate may continue. But what I'd like to know is this, is this a luxury car? At the base price, what items are you getting in this car that qualifies it as a luxury vehicle (compared to most luxury vehicles and their amenities)?

Anyone?

mscottring | December 21, 2011

I actually sent pretty much this same question to Tesla. They seem stumped by it as well.

Frankly, I think it's a great car. Absolutely the best electric car available, and maybe the best car of 2012. But at it's base it's extremely difficult to qualify it as it was advertised, a luxury vehicle.

Discoducky | December 21, 2011

Ok, I'll bite...

Yes, due to the definition of a luxury vehicle and luxury itself.

Here's what I'm using:

Luxury vehicle is a marketing term for a vehicle that provides luxury — pleasant or desirable features beyond strict necessity—at increased expense (see: definition of luxury below).

The term suggests a vehicle with greater equipment, performance, construction precision, comfort, design ingenuity, technological innovation, or features that convey brand image, cachet, status, or prestige—or any other discretionary feature or combination of features

luxury (plural luxuries) http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/luxury

very wealthy and comfortable surroundings.
something desirable but expensive.
something very pleasant but not really needed in life.

First, I don't consider leather to be luxury, microfiber is better IMHO as it's on my couch and it's awesome since it really easy to clean and it's tough as nails quality keeps it looking good for a long time and I don't like to stick to my seats. Also, I don't need navigation when I'll have a full browser and connectivity, but it is very pleasant on a 17" monitor.

And the pano roof is ridiculous, no one else can touch it.

I expect the car will be quieter, faster and handle better than the competition and I know it will have more cargo space. Things I desire and am willing to pay for.

And luxury for me is less maintenance. I buy cars that I never have to think about opening the hood and now I'll have a car that doesn't have an ICE/oil dependency and has one moving part. That my friend is luxury! Dare I say the future of luxury!

brianman | December 21, 2011

@Discoducky
"buy cars that I never have to think about opening the hood"

Model S will fail on this front, but in a good way - frunk.

mscottring | December 21, 2011

I have to debate the merits of microfiber applied to a daily use like this. We have both leather, and a really rather expensive microfiber piece in the living room. The leather is holding up as one would expect. The microfiber on the other hand is actually showing some pretty good signs of wear (and it's just me, the wife and one kid, the dog is not allowed on the furniture). So I'm not convinced this would be the best fabric to have as one is sliding in and out of a vehicle on a daily basis. But I could be wrong. Are there any other cars out there currently using it, for comparison?

Volker.Berlin | December 22, 2011

You seem to like nitpicking on words, so here's what you get: The Model S was never advertised as a "luxury" car. It was advertised as a "premium" car. Go figure... ;-)

mscottring | December 22, 2011

“That’s quicker than a [Porsche] 911 [Carrera],” joked Musk. “Not bad for an electric luxury sedan.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/02/idUS420092762820111002

Volker.Berlin | December 22, 2011

Oops. You got me. Or, you got Elon, to be precise!

To add one more twist:
http://www.googlefight.com/index.php?lang=en_GB&word1=tesla+model+s+luxu...

mscottring | December 22, 2011

Volker - No worries, you are correct, it is actually advertised on their web site as a "premium" sedan. So in this thread we can interchange "luxury" with "premium" and the question remains the same. What makes this, or any car a premium or luxury car? I maintain that cloth seats do not. Others disagree.

Volker.Berlin | December 22, 2011

It has been said a couple times, but since you are asking again, here's my response: This car is one of a kind. It is an industry first and possibly a large-scale game changer, and it will be quite exclusive for some time to come (except if you live in California). You can even configure it to match your budget, by adding luxury features or not! That is fair enough a justification for calling it a "premium car" for me. Others disagree.

To turn the question around: If you take an Avensis, add leather, wood panels and some gadgetry, give it a different name and call the entire package "all inclusive no options" -- would that qualify as "luxury" by your standard? (Your answer will be no, the question was rhetorical. But you keep defining luxury by not having options/low base price, and that definition does not work for me at all.)

mscottring | December 22, 2011

Volker - I absolutely see your point, and see some value in exclusivity (part of the reason for some of my past vehicle choices). That said, I'm not entirely certain I can agree that exclusivity on it's own can equate to "premium", and most certainly not to "luxury". I might own the only unmolested 1959 Volkswagen Beetle known to exist in the world. That would make it exclusive, but not premium, nor luxury.

Volker.Berlin | December 22, 2011

And you could even claim that the 1959 Beetle was in fact a game changer...! ;-)

But it was hardly one of a kind, industry first, or best of breed. It changed the game by taking economies of scale to another level, which is remarkable but does not make the car itself a premium item. Anyway, I respect your point of view and I expressed mine. I don't think we are getting anywhere.

mscottring | December 22, 2011

And maybe I'm not being fair. But I am indeed looking to industry standards to define luxury in an automobile. We have decades of examples to review, from various manufactures. Most provide various levels of comfort, convenience, safety, etc., as standard equipment at the BASE price. That's what you get when you buy a luxury or premium vehicle. I'd take absolutely no issue with this if Tesla had indicated they were marketing a game changing electric sedan, that could be upgraded to a luxury touring car. But they didn't.

mscottring | December 22, 2011

I respect your opinion as well. I'm just taking a rather literal position, historical and factual position on what the meaning of luxury in a vehicle means. By your standards anyone can claim "premium" for any reason they so desire. And that was the point of my example.

Volker.Berlin | December 22, 2011

By your standards anyone can claim "premium" for any reason they so desire. And that was the point of my example.

Not true. Anyone still has to find customers that agree with their definition of "premium". I agree with Tesla's definition, you don't. So I'll buy a Model S and you could/should go find a competitor whose definition of what he's selling fits your bill. But I am repeating myself (and again, I am trying to be helpful, not offensive).

mscottring | December 22, 2011

Volker - It's more than a little presumptuous to assume that since I take issue with the marketing claims of the vehicle that I'm not interested in it, or have decided not to buy. In fact your suggestion that I buy something else is downright rude.

Go back and read some of my posts over the months. I have been a STRONG supporter of Tesla and this vehicle. I've recommended it to friends and family alike. People who would never, ever be interested in an electric vehicle are taking a close look at this car because I've talked their ear off about it.

Again (yes, your aren't the only one repeating here), had they indicated this was a sedan that could be upgraded to a luxury sedan, I would have NO argument whatsoever. And I challenge you to find any other negative comments made by me other than this issue, and the recent pricing release. There isn't. I love the car.

Mycroft | December 22, 2011

I think the whole issue is a minor pimple to pick at.

Volker.Berlin | December 22, 2011

mscottring, we really should settle the debate, but since I regret my last post I have to set this straight: I did not imply that you are being negative or dislike the product. That's obviously not the case, which is precisely why I have serious difficulty seeing what you are up to with your crusade in the name of luxury.

Did you expect Tesla to offer a car with 300 mile range, 5.6 sec, pano roof, turbine wheels, leather and wood for 49k no options? I'd call you naive. Do you want to convince me that Tesla should include 10k of options and increase the base price by the same amount? Does not help those who have a slightly tighter budget, and does not help Tesla to sell more vehicles. So yes, you are criticizing Tesla's tagline that explicitly says "premium". Well, what would you call it? Mid-range car? Hardly. I have made my point why I am entirely in line with Tesla advertising it in that category.

Try this definition: You like luxury cars, you mentioned a few you own(ed). You like the Model S. Doesn't that actually make the Model S a luxury car? :-)

Let's close with a point we certainly can agree on: Although seemingly carefully prepared, the marketing effect of the price list as it stands is less than optimal and bound to spark some press with a unnecessarily subdued tone. Actually there is quite a lot the Model S does have standard, but Tesla does not mention it on the pricing page which turns out to be a big omission. We already have confirmation that of course keyless entry does come standard, you just have to press a button on the keyfob to unlock/extend door handles. The optional keyless entry allows your key to stay in the pocket.

Ah those door handles, anyway. I'd call them premium any day!

I have some unconfirmed assumptions that will probably be clarified by Tesla in a few days: Of course the base price includes navigation, but it's plain Google Maps and requires an online connection. The optional navigation is offline/onboard. Of course the base model will include cruise control (non-adaptive). Hardly a luxury item in 2012, but it turns out that folks are still bewildered if it is not explicitly mentioned.

So Tesla, do not change your tagline or your product, but hurry to set that options list straight and, most importantly, communicate in detail what comes standard!

Volker.Berlin | December 22, 2011

For some obscure reason the above link on the word "confirmation" does not work. Here it is again. Look at the bottom of the page:
http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/7063-New-tidbits-from-the-...

mscottring | December 22, 2011

Volker - This is actually what I was looking for. Instead of some vague concept of what should be acceptable as a reason for being 'luxury', you've actually listed specific items that make it so. To whit, keyless entry, navigation and cruise control.

Are these items available on non-luxury vehicles? Perhaps. But at least we have some idea of what we're getting in a base vehicle that's being called a luxury car. THIS was my question.

Soflauthor | December 22, 2011

@mscottring: Lets take your arguments (here and on other threads) at face value and stipulate that the base Model S doesn't meet the commonly held attributes of a "luxury" car. So what? The Model S is unique. It delivers technology that is state-of-the-art. It is the first wave of a new genre of vehicles in the mid/upper five digit range. I think you'll agree it's an important contribution.

Could the base Model S be more "luxurious"? Sure ... but not at it's price point. Those who expected "luxury" vehicle at the base price, knowing full well that the battery tech represents substantial fixed cost and that TM cannot sell a vehicle at break-even or a loss, apparently never heard anyone say, "If you think it's too good to be true, it probably is."

One thing that TM can and should do to improve the perception of the base Model S is to vastly improve the interior (something that we've discussed within these threads ad nauseum). A base model with the existing beta interior will be perceived by many as pedestrian—and that's not a good thing.

mscottring | December 22, 2011

I appreciate all of the comments on the attributes of the Model S. I've actually stated, here and on other threads, that I agree with them.

The original question was this, "At the base price, what items are you getting in this car that qualifies it as a luxury vehicle"

So far there's been a number of posts, and only one has actually listed specific items that would come as standard equipment at the base price that could, in any way, qualify the car as a luxury vehicle. So we can debate all day long as to it's many attributes. But the question stands, can you name what ITEMS it comes with that are luxury items?

mscottring | December 22, 2011

This is starting to (alarmingly) remind me of discussions about politics, or apple products.

Volker.Berlin | December 22, 2011

:-D

mscottring | December 22, 2011

:)

Mycroft | December 22, 2011

I finally have a few minutes to properly respond to this thread.

"Luxury" items with the base.

1. Aformentioned keyless entry and extending door handles. Also keyless start obviously.

2. Looks. We don't know about the interior yet, but the exterior is freaking luxurious!

3. Quiet ride. This car will be quieter than any luxury vehicle below a Rolls.

4. Sound system. The base sound system, matched with the quiet ride will be luxurious. So it doesn't have satellite, most folks buying the base wouldn't want to spend the cash for a satellite subscription anyway.

5. 17" screen. Hopefully you'll be able to link to your home wi-fi and cache Google maps. If not, then you can buy a broadband subscription or tether to your cell phone and have online NAV. The fact that off-line NAV isn't included is a non-sequitur because NAV is almost always an add-on option in luxury cars. But they don't have a 17" screen with Internet available - not to mention the awesome music menus!

6. Seats 5 PLUS amazing storage with front and rear trunks.

7. Ride & handling. I'm betting that with that low and heavy battery and the drive train between the rear wheels, this car will ride and handle better than any Honda or Toyota.

8. Last but not least, it's a freaking 160 mile EV that will be "full" every single morning without having to hit a fraking gas station! Yes, you could argue that we're taking a financial hit because it's an EV, but so are the Leaf, Focus, and Volt owners. At least this one will go significantly more than a hundred *real-world* miles on a charge.

Even if you don't buy a single option and take the base $50,000 car, it's a freaking amazing car!!! If I only had the money for the base 40kWh, I think I would still stretch for the $1,500 pano roof though. That would make it luxurious AND impressive! :)

mwu | December 22, 2011

When I look at affordable cars and cars that I deem luxury, one of the biggest differences I see is not so much in features offered. Pretty much all manufacturers compete on features to some degree and different manufacturers attempt to offer different features at different price-points to attempt to draw specific customers.

The difference I do see consistently in luxury or premium vehicles is in quality of materials used, design, and manufacture. I think we could all agree that Tesla will not be skimping on any of those -- even in the base models.

mscottring | December 22, 2011

If I could close this thread I would. Volker just posted another thread that clearly defines what my actual point was in this thread (and others) in a far better, and clearer way than I was able to. Kudos to Volker for what he posted there. And lets consider this issue closed, in my opinion.

Brian H | December 22, 2011

Just to throw a cat amongst the canaries, during the factory presentation, Elon was at pains several times to state he intended the S to be the "best" car on the road, bar none. That's a somewhat different standard than premium or luxury.

jerry3 | August 2, 2012

The Model S is billed as a Premium car, not a Luxury car. So you can expect state-of-the-art engineering but perhaps not all the amenities that some cars have. The list of what you get is on the specs page but it changes frequently.

Whether you think the pricing is good or not depends on the total cost of ownership of the second choice car and your list of must-haves.

A case can be made either way depending upon your priorities.

Volker.Berlin | August 6, 2012

+1 jerry3, concise and accurate. Exactly my thoughts, but it would have taken me three times as many words to say the same.

EcLectric | August 7, 2012

It just occurred to me that perhaps the reason Tesla marketing chose 'premium' was because some buyers would see 'luxury' and assume the car was a 'boat' like luxury cars used to be. "Don't insult my car by calling it 'luxury'! It does 0-60 in 4.4 seconds!"

Vall | August 7, 2012

If you consider a BMW 5 series, would you say it is a luxury car? Are there even debates in the BMW forums and community whether it is? It has to be, maybe not the earliest generations, but the last 3-4 generations can be considered a luxury sedan or station wagon. But in europe the 5 series comes with a 2.0 liter engine, cloth seats, no nav or MMI standard,tiny wheels, etc. If you start adding options like leather, interior wood and so on, entertainment, sound, tech, performance packages, wheels, expensive paintwork, there is quite the difference in price and luxury from the base model. And then you have the engines, you can have 4, 6, 8 cylinder engines, with or without turbocharging, with different gearboxes, different suspensions etc. A high-end 5 series can end up costing more than twice as much as a base model. But in the end, when you get asked by your wife or some alien from mars, "Is the 5 series a luxury car?" what are you going to say? "Umm, it depends on which spec you have." Don't think so, I would answer "yes" but maybe add that it is not in the same vain as Rolls-Royce or Bentley.

About "premium", i would consider Audi, BMW and mercedes for example, premium brands, and say that a 1 series BMW or even an Audi A1 is a premium car in its segment, it is not necessarily more luxurious than the competition, such as VW golf, Ford Focus, or a VW polo for the A1, but it commands a price premium, supposedly due to better performance, better materials in the interior, more distinctive design, and importantly, higher price. The alternative is to call the model S "non-premium" or "mainstream" and compare it with fords, chevrolets, VW (without the phaeton) and so on, which is an unfair comparison imo.

"At the end of the third quarter we find ourselves well on course to deliver our target of more than 1.6 million vehicles in 2011 and to remain the clear number one among premium manufacturers once again this year," BMW's head of sales Ian Robertson said in a statement.

So BMW is a premium brand, according to them. And tesla should also be considered one. Maybe if someone who is coming from a 1 million dollar custom RR Phantom sits in a top-end 5 Series, he may consider it pedestrian by his standards, due to missing champagne chiller in the back or because the leather is not from endangered species, so luxury seems to me is pretty much a subjective term. That is why tesla should avoid advertising it as luxury, and representatives should refrain from using the word, coz you never know what a customer may consider luxury. Even if the word has slipped once or twice, it was never advertised as a selling point, and should not be considered one. If customers want the luxury of a Lexus or Mercedes and can't live without some features or exquisite interior design and materials, zhey should just wait for Lexus and Mercedes to release an electric car. No customer should willingly buy something that will make them unhappy or unsatisfied.

Just my $0.02

Brian H | August 7, 2012

@Vall;
"not in the same vain as Rolls-Royce or Bentley." Definitely among the vainest of luxury cars! Snooty, even. >:)

" but it commands a price premium, supposedly due to, ... importantly, higher price." Amusing, but true. Luxury car buyers WANT to pay higher prices than the hoi-polloi can afford. Otherwise the streets would be littered with dee-luxe cars! And what would be the point?

Michael23 | August 7, 2012

Vall

That was so on point! Great post.

Brian H | August 7, 2012

@Vall;
Yes, that $0.02 is hereby officially promoted to $2.00. ;)

Tomas | August 7, 2012

Seriously? Does this conversation have anything to do with all that bullshit about not having a vanity mirror? Has anybody sat in a Ferrari lately? Not luxurious. An MB S550? Do I really need airconditioned seats, reclining rear seats, window shades and seats with sides that inflate when going around corners (those damn things drive me nuts!) .. Blah blah blah... Seems to me that they just keep piling on more crap that nobody really needs or cares about in the name luxury.

Luxury to me is a car that is really cool, that will (hopefully) change the world, that is really fast and that will out- handle all those pigs on the road. Luxury is looking at all those idiots with contempt as I drive my car that I will charge with solar-generated electricity, knowing that while I'm driving a fun, game-changing car, I'm also doing my little part to get us off oil which is killing the planet.

I traded in my BMW 740 for a Prius eight years ago and have never looked back. The Prius is the best car ever.... Until now!

Brian H | August 8, 2012

@Timo;
So ... now we know! Your #1 pleasure and goal in life is feeling justified contempt!

A word of warning. "Judge not, that ye be not judged." ;) ;p LOL

Timo | August 8, 2012

@Brian H, what are you talking about?

Volker.Berlin | August 8, 2012

Tomas is not Timo.

Brian H | August 8, 2012

My bad. So used to seeing Timo as the T- commenter, the newbie Tomas caught me by surprise.

So -- @TOMAS;
See above. Advise enjoying the car for its own sake, rather than as a put-down device.

Vall | August 8, 2012

@Brian H

" but it commands a price premium, supposedly due to, ... importantly, higher price."

Yeah, noticed that (edited the sentence before posting and didn't read the entire thing) and immediately thought "First rule of tautology club is first rule of tautology club"

But you are right that it makes sort of sense. I can imagine that somebody may consider a Mercedes more "premium" than an Infiniti because it is more expensive... And if it is more premium, then this justifies the higher price, brand recognition, history etc. Like when choosing wine, and i know very little about wine, I may look at two bottles, one $8 and the other $10, and not having tasted them or knowing which is better, I often go for the $10, assuming that if is more expensive, it must somehow be "better".

Brian H | August 8, 2012

With wine, blind taste testing can often pop that price bubble. I wonder if the same is possible for cars? Have to remove all badging and branding and get naive drivers not "used" to the different makes, etc. Probably wouldn't work all that well. Objective subjectivity is hard to achieve.

Volker.Berlin | August 8, 2012

Brian H, it doesn't work for cars b/c part of a car's value is its image/prestige that is at least in part is based on badging, branding, and -- guess what -- its price.

Brian H | August 8, 2012

Ya; all of which means it's impossible to get an un-prejudiced opinion of a car!

vouteb | August 13, 2012

Did you see that you tube clip of that Tesla rep, unshaven and in t-shirt.

Luxury brand with non luxury rep .

Brian H | August 13, 2012

You want a stuffed shirt BMW slickster pushing Model S? Well, maybe the European stores will cater to your tastes.

Brian H | August 13, 2012

vouteb;
P.S. That rep probably spent more time shaving than you did. That precise "light beard" look is hard to get just right.

I am not joking.

Superliner | August 13, 2012

I'm thinking, I'll have "The Luxury" of not stopping at gas stations