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2018 Model 3 "stealth performance" ... that actually isn't

I wanted to relate a story in the event that it might have happened to other people too.

I took delivery of my M3LR during the mad Q3 2018 M3 delivery push. I received my vehicle in the frenzy of trying to get as many units in customers' hands before the end of the quarter.

I did not pay for Performance, nor did I pay for FSD as part of my MVPA (Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement). Despite that fact, the vehicle I received had the red underline in the car and in my app (car was delivered without badging) ... as well as the FSD add-on, in the list of applied upgrades. In March 2020, the mobile tech came out to install my badging and he installed the red underline badging (which, at that time, still matched what the car said about itself). The tech confirmed to me what I believed all along that I ended up with a "stealth performance" M3.

Sometime in 2021, an OTA update was pushed that removed the red underline. After communication with Tesla today, they indicated that the badging that was installed back in 2020 was an error ... and the performance display in the screen when I took delivery was an error. According to them, my vehicle is NOT performance and never was.

Now that doesn't bother me too much, as I didn't pay for Performance. In general, though, it is a little bit disconcerting when you take delivery of and "drive off the lot" with one thing, only to have that thing unceremoniously taken away by an arbitrary OTA update later on.

Welcome to the world of software-centric products, I guess.

The moral of my story is: if you think you are getting something, make certain your MVPA documentation agrees with what you are getting. Because you are likely to get a "correction" made, via OTA update ... some arbitrary amount of time later. Too bad Tesla was too busy to get my configuration correct on delivery in the first place, but they eventually "figured it out" and took away the things I didn't pay for. I loved my car before this discovery ... and I love it still, but this whole interaction has left me somewhat less "enthusiastic" about Tesla if I am being 100% honest with myself.

In my case I think I made a bad assumption during delivery: I assumed that, in the interest of delivering as many vehicles as they possibly could in Q3 2018, Tesla matched me to a vehicle that was at least what I paid for, and didn't sweat it if it was actually more than what I ordered. In hindsight, that appears to have been a foolish conclusion ... now I know better.

I wanted to relate this story to share the possibility of confusion about stealth performance M3's. Probably mine wasn't the only one that got screwed up / confused about its "true" configuration. It might not be anybody trying to "pull one over" on anyone ... instead, it might be due to Tesla not having their ducks in a row when it comes to lining up the car's configuration with what it should actually be (at least back in Q3 2018). If you come across a Tesla that you are interested in, and think it has some capability (e.g., Stealth Performance) ... I would strongly recommend NOT trusting what the car says about itself. Get your hands on the original MVPA if you can.
 
While you technically didn’t lose anything since you never paid for performance, still kind of disappointing. They should have at least given you a free acceleration boost or something for the confusion and trouble.

Did you notice any change in performance after the update that removed the red underline?
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
16,792
34,245
NC
In my case I think I made a bad assumption during delivery: I assumed that, in the interest of delivering as many vehicles as they possibly could in Q3 2018, Tesla matched me to a vehicle that was at least what I paid for, and didn't sweat it if it was actually more than what I ordered.



FWIW, your car and a non-performance built the same time are physically the same car.

Software is literally the only difference.

There were a number of reports back then of folks who DID pay for P, showed up to the lot to find a non-P being delivered, and the dealer updated the software to make it a P.

There is a 3rd party that sells a hardware module that tricks a non-P of this era back into thinking it IS a P (performance wise anyway, you don't get track mode back) if you should wish to go down that route.

Or if you wish to avoid aftermarket, there's the official acceleration boost as mentioned, which roughly splits the difference between the base LR AWD and the P.
 
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KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
4,690
4,408
Maine
My Moroney shows I have EAP, but I didn't pay for EAP and my MVPA amount does not include EAP.

I do remember that crazy 3rdQ 2018 sales push. I got the Tesla text telling me my car was in, and could I take delivery before Sunday, which meant I had less than 5 days to arrange everything.

I immediately went to the credit union and asked for a $50k loan, and they asked for my VIN. No VIN! I could finance after I get the car, but I still have to pay for the darn thing. So, I sold $50k in stocks, and was going to write a check on my investment acct.

Once I had time to breathe, I checked the internet. Turns out my text that my car was in, was some generic text blast that went out to everyone that had an outstanding order. They didn't really have my car, they just wanted to know who could come to Fremont and take delivery before quarter-end. I'm only 3000 miles away, so I think not.

Now, what to do with that $50,000 in stock I had sold? That also turned out to be the week the SEC sued Elon for his tweet about going private. Tesla stock was cratering. I bought 200 shares at $265 with 10secs to go on a Friday afternoon, guessing that Elon would capitulate over the weekend. Yep, the very next day, Elon settles with the SEC, and by Monday morning, Tesla shares popped up to $315. I sold at the open. So, owning the shares for less than a single minute in the open market, I made $10k, off Elon's stupid tweets, using the money I had earmarked to buy my Model 3. Thanks, Elon!
IMG_0086.jpeg
 
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Gasaraki

Active Member
Oct 21, 2019
2,391
1,715
Syracuse, NY
I wanted to relate a story in the event that it might have happened to other people too.

I took delivery of my M3LR during the mad Q3 2018 M3 delivery push. I received my vehicle in the frenzy of trying to get as many units in customers' hands before the end of the quarter.

I did not pay for Performance, nor did I pay for FSD as part of my MVPA (Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement). Despite that fact, the vehicle I received had the red underline in the car and in my app (car was delivered without badging) ... as well as the FSD add-on, in the list of applied upgrades. In March 2020, the mobile tech came out to install my badging and he installed the red underline badging (which, at that time, still matched what the car said about itself). The tech confirmed to me what I believed all along that I ended up with a "stealth performance" M3.

Sometime in 2021, an OTA update was pushed that removed the red underline. After communication with Tesla today, they indicated that the badging that was installed back in 2020 was an error ... and the performance display in the screen when I took delivery was an error. According to them, my vehicle is NOT performance and never was.

Now that doesn't bother me too much, as I didn't pay for Performance. In general, though, it is a little bit disconcerting when you take delivery of and "drive off the lot" with one thing, only to have that thing unceremoniously taken away by an arbitrary OTA update later on.

Welcome to the world of software-centric products, I guess.

The moral of my story is: if you think you are getting something, make certain your MVPA documentation agrees with what you are getting. Because you are likely to get a "correction" made, via OTA update ... some arbitrary amount of time later. Too bad Tesla was too busy to get my configuration correct on delivery in the first place, but they eventually "figured it out" and took away the things I didn't pay for. I loved my car before this discovery ... and I love it still, but this whole interaction has left me somewhat less "enthusiastic" about Tesla if I am being 100% honest with myself.

In my case I think I made a bad assumption during delivery: I assumed that, in the interest of delivering as many vehicles as they possibly could in Q3 2018, Tesla matched me to a vehicle that was at least what I paid for, and didn't sweat it if it was actually more than what I ordered. In hindsight, that appears to have been a foolish conclusion ... now I know better.

I wanted to relate this story to share the possibility of confusion about stealth performance M3's. Probably mine wasn't the only one that got screwed up / confused about its "true" configuration. It might not be anybody trying to "pull one over" on anyone ... instead, it might be due to Tesla not having their ducks in a row when it comes to lining up the car's configuration with what it should actually be (at least back in Q3 2018). If you come across a Tesla that you are interested in, and think it has some capability (e.g., Stealth Performance) ... I would strongly recommend NOT trusting what the car says about itself. Get your hands on the original MVPA if you can.

But you did pay for Stealth Performance did you not? I know if costed me more to get that, just not Performance level of cost...
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
16,792
34,245
NC
But you did pay for Stealth Performance did you not? I know if costed me more to get that, just not Performance level of cost...


Back in 2018 it was $11,000 more to go from LR-AWD to P (well, it varied a little depending on exact time, because they changed the RWD->AWD cost between 4, 5, and 6k several times- but it was 11k when I bought)-- then another 5k for the PUP....so 16k more if you wanted "all" of it.

The difference is vastly smaller now, making the P a much better buy relative to the LR AWD- assuming you're ok with the 20" wheels.

Probably the "best" deal ever was back in like 2020 when you could occasionally find an inventory P3D- (but they were not orderable on the website) for only 2k more than the LR AWD.
 
So you're upset about not getting something you never paid for? Got it.
While you technically didn’t lose anything since you never paid for performance, still kind of disappointing. They should have at least given you a free acceleration boost or something for the confusion and trouble.

Did you notice any change in performance after the update that removed the red underline?
No I didn't really notice a change in the performance ... but I am not a performance-pushing driver, it just isn't my style. So I don't have a good data point for the difference.
 
FWIW, your car and a non-performance built the same time are physically the same car.

Software is literally the only difference.

There were a number of reports back then of folks who DID pay for P, showed up to the lot to find a non-P being delivered, and the dealer updated the software to make it a P.

There is a 3rd party that sells a hardware module that tricks a non-P of this era back into thinking it IS a P (performance wise anyway, you don't get track mode back) if you should wish to go down that route.

Or if you wish to avoid aftermarket, there's the official acceleration boost as mentioned, which roughly splits the difference between the base LR AWD and the P.
Thank you for those options. I appreciate it. I am not going to pursue performance options (either Tesla boost or 3rd party) ... as I don't need them for my particular style of driving. But I do appreciate hearing your ideas.
 
So you're upset about not getting something you never paid for? Got it.
That is an inaccurate generalization. I am not upset about "not getting something I didn't pay for". What I am mildly disturbed by is having something which might represent a higher market value of my vehicle ... removed from the vehicle that I drove away from the Service Center with without any kind of communication or "oops, we misconfigured your car and are going to correct it now" kind of messaging from Tesla.

I am NOT one that feels entitled to things I didn't pay for. However, I do have a certain hope of feeling "valued" to some degree as a customer. What this week's events have made clear is that .... that hope of mine, doesn't reflect reality. That realization, is what was mildly "upsetting" (to use your terminology.

I learned something from this, and I thought somebody else out there (either a current owner or a prospective new owner) might be able to benefit from my experience.
 
Do you even notice a performance difference or are you just complaining about the missing underline?
I don't personally notice a performance difference ... because I am not a performance driver. I am only "complaining" (to use your language) because the "market value" of my car is potentially reduced by an unadvertised software configuration change, that reduced its capability, around 3 years after I took delivery of it.

For as long as I own the vehicle, the change will not impact my usage or my enjoyment of the vehicle. But there may come a day when I want to sell it, and when that day comes ... one could speculatively guess that a M3P- might command a somewhat larger market value than a M3LR.

Also, it is mildly annoying that I now need to schedule a service visit to get Tesla to correct the improper badging they previously installed, in order to accurately represent (to future owners) what the vehicle actually is ... something that I think any future owner would appreciate.
 
But you did pay for Stealth Performance did you not? I know if costed me more to get that, just not Performance level of cost...
No I never paid for Stealth Performance. The car came configured that way and stayed that way until a 2021 update, when it was removed. Tesla themselves seemed to be confused about the car's configuration as they installed the performance badging on it in 2020 (18 months post-purchase).
 
Good, none of this is an issue then.
The thing about this I find disturbing is that OP easily have sold the car to another, or traded it in to a regular dealer, fully believing that he was selling a Model 3 Performance and the new owner would have had every reason to believe it as well. It could even have gone through multiple hands. Then this update could have hit the last owner, perhaps leaving them totally without recourse. In the old days, a buyer could look at the paint or body trim, or check the VIN, or physically for whatever upgraded components were supposed to be part of a higher trim vehicle and be confident that he was getting what he paid for. Now, he can do his due diligence only to find out later that the manufacturer has virtually conspired to defaud him.

Tesla needs to do better than this.
 
The thing about this I find disturbing is that OP easily have sold the car to another, or traded it in to a regular dealer, fully believing that he was selling a Model 3 Performance and the new owner would have had every reason to believe it as well. It could even have gone through multiple hands. Then this update could have hit the last owner, perhaps leaving them totally without recourse. In the old days, a buyer could look at the paint or body trim, or check the VIN, or physically for whatever upgraded components were supposed to be part of a higher trim vehicle and be confident that he was getting what he paid for. Now, he can do his due diligence only to find out later that the manufacturer has virtually conspired to defaud him.

Tesla needs to do better than this.
I 100% agree davewill, thank you for your reply.

This is one of the fundamental reasons why I posted this experience. It is NOT, as Sam1 seems to want to characterize, as me being "upset about not getting something you never paid for". That isn't the point of sharing my story.

The point is: that there is no way, other than through the software, to "know what you have". And exactly as devewill said, if I had happened to try to sell my vehicle before the 2021 update, the one who purchased from me would be the one who got "stuck" with an unexpected reversion in functionality. They would also naturally assume that I had somehow "screwed" them over. I can see this happening because of people implicitly trusting what the in-car software currently reports. As my story illustrates, that trust is misplaced ... and one needs to do more than that to be sure.

There needs to be a verifiable/guaranteed and easy way for a subsequent prospective owner to know what they are getting when looking at a used Tesla. I suppose they could try calling up Tesla and giving them a VIN and hopefully, Tesla's systems would give the authoritative/correct answer of what the vehicle actually does and does not have (i.e., things that may be taken away on a future update).
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Moderator
Nov 28, 2018
16,833
22,271
Riverside Co. CA
I 100% agree davewill, thank you for your reply.

This is one of the fundamental reasons why I posted this experience. It is NOT, as Sam1 seems to want to characterize, as me being "upset about not getting something you never paid for". That isn't the point of sharing my story.

The point is: that there is no way, other than through the software, to "know what you have". And exactly as devewill said, if I had happened to try to sell my vehicle before the 2021 update, the one who purchased from me would be the one who got "stuck" with an unexpected reversion in functionality. They would also naturally assume that I had somehow "screwed" them over. I can see this happening because of people implicitly trusting what the in-car software currently reports. As my story illustrates, that trust is misplaced ... and one needs to do more than that to be sure.

There needs to be a verifiable/guaranteed and easy way for a subsequent prospective owner to know what they are getting when looking at a used Tesla. I suppose they could try calling up Tesla and giving them a VIN and hopefully, Tesla's systems would give the authoritative/correct answer of what the vehicle actually does and does not have (i.e., things that may be taken away on a future update).

A MVPA wont help a used car buyer either, unless its from the first owner. The only thing thats messed up here in my opinion is that you should have never been able to leave the lot with the car being a P, or they should have caught it much sooner (like within a few days).

You know you didnt buy a performance vehicle and readily admit that fact. Tesla did this with people who "got" FSD for free for some period of time too. We have reports on the forums from people who bought a car from someone with FSD, thought it would stay (because its supposed to) then during whatever audit tesla does when the vehicle changes hands removed it.

One thing I dont agree with however is whomoever bought a car from you getting "stiffed" by not having a performance vehicle, and "naturally assuming you screwed them over". That would be because you WOULD HAVE screwed them over, because you knew you didnt buy a performance vehicle. If you sold it to them as such, you would have mis represented what you bought.

Still, tesla needs to do better on their auditing. The big miss here is them not having your car setup properly when you bought it, and then not removing it right away. If you had gotten something "for free" with the vehicle, it would still have been on your monroney / MVPA so I dont buy "I thought they just gave it to me for free and knew about it."

What I do buy, is "I knew I didnt buy a P, but it was there, so I just didnt say anything and kept it figuring they would fix it later, or not". They took too long to fix it, which is the big miss here, but there isnt any recourse, and this has nothing to do with being a "valued customer". it has to do with buying a connected car, with a software feature that was enabled by mistake and took way to long to correct.
 
FWIW Performance 3s going back a few years now do have a different VIN to indicate that.

The only reason the 2018 and early 2019 ones don't is they are physically the same car as the non-Ps.
You have knowledge about those details that I don't possess. But I trust what you are saying.

So it may be this specific issue is restricted to certain model years (e.g., 2018-early 19). However, the general problem could still manifest, say for exxample with other software-only-enabled add-ons (e.g., FSD, EAP, or Boost) ... which are dynamic and therefore cannot be represented in a VIN encoding.

Notably, in the case of my car, it actually came with FSD as well when I took delivery, despite the fact I didn't pay for that either ... It was listed in the car software as being enabled for months after I took delivery as well

Now I don't know for sure, because I actually eventually proactively purchased this add-on (about 6 months later, when it was a more reasonable price and I was "worried" that if it was arbitrarily disabled later, it would be much more expensive to ultimately obtain).

It wouldn't surprise me if my 2021 OTA configuration "correction" would have taken the FSD away too, if I hadn't actually purchased it. This non-VIN-encoded upgrade would totally fit into the scenario of a 2nd owner getting "surprised" when something that was in the car when they purchased it, mysteriously disappeared.

So a different scenario, but the same fundamental issue (and one that is not constrained to certain model years): a used Tesla purchaser needs to know that they should NOT trust what the car says about itself at any given point in time. The only way to "be sure" is to get your hands on the documentation (e.g., original MVPA and subsequent add-on invoices). This is a point of recommended diligence that might surprise some ... but is required, given these things are not something that can be inspected outside of what the software says about itself.
 
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