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

focher

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Oct 15, 2013
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There is a huge event that distinguishes the situation - and likely Tesla’s legal responsibilities in many jurisdictions. The original buyer is fully informed as to what they purchased, so it’s unlikely Tesla runs into an issue removing features that weren’t purchased. How they do it is open to debate, but they probably have the legal right to do it. The analogy previously posted about a physically installed turbo charger is the appropriate one. A dealer / manufacturer could absolutely come back to the original owner and require they either pay for that add-on or allow it to be uninstalled.

The event that changes things is when the car is resold to a new owner. After that, Tesla shouldn’t have any remedy against the new owner to “recoup” the value nor should they permitted to reduce the value. Tesla absolutely still has a financial remedy against the original purchaser, but the new owner is a completely innocent actor. The new owner could also have a remedy against the seller if they misrepresented the car. To again use the previously posted analogy, a demand from Tesla to the new owner regarding a return of the turbo or pay Tesla for it would be laughable. Yet, Tesla has other remedies like discontinuing software updates (outside safety / recall related ones) for that vehicle because it’s not obligated to provide them.

Subscriptions, by the way, are irrelevant to this situation.
 
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Hey Soundmixer, do you recall if the update that removed the perfomance software was the same V11 UI update?
I do not know which update removed it. I only know it was "in 2021" because that is what I was told by Tesla service when I asked them to look into this. At first they were baffled, then after some further research, they came back and told me that it occurred in 2021 ... and that my vehicle "never was Performance" and that I should consult my MVPA.

The timeline that I am certain of includes:
- the date of purchase (Q3 2018) (and what the MVPA and Monroney sticker said ... which, to be clear, is nothing about Performance); it was only the Tesla delivery representative who commented verbally to me at that time something to the effect that it was "cool that you are getting a stealth Performance, wasn't it (wink wink)?" ... this occurred in the very last moments before I left the service center with my new vehicle, after signing and getting my docs and my phone associated to the car,
- the date of a screenshot showing what the car says about itself (essentially immediately post-sale)
- the date of a service invoice (1H 2020) explicitly showing the installation of a the "Performance" exterior badging by Tesla Mobile Service; and the knowledge that at that point in time, the vehicle was still as it was when I took delivery of it, in regards to this software configuration

I haven't been thoroughly checking the impacts to the UI after each update (other than glancing at the release notes). I probably will begin to do so going forward.
 
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There is a huge event that distinguishes the situation - and likely Tesla’s legal responsibilities in many jurisdictions. The original buyer is fully informed as to what they purchased, so it’s unlikely Tesla runs into an issue removing features that weren’t purchased. How they do it is open to debate, but they probably have the legal right to do it. The analogy previously posted about a physically installed turbo charger is the appropriate one. A dealer / manufacturer could absolutely come back to the original owner and require they either pay for that add-on or allow it to be uninstalled.

The event that changes things is when the car is resold to a new owner. After that, Tesla shouldn’t have any remedy against the new owner to “recoup” the value nor should they permitted to reduce the value. Tesla absolutely still has a financial remedy against the original purchaser, but the new owner is a completely innocent actor. The new owner could also have a remedy against the seller if they misrepresented the car. To again use the previously posted analogy, a demand from Tesla to the new owner regarding a return of the turbo or pay Tesla for it would be laughable. Yet, Tesla has other remedies like discontinuing software updates (outside safety / recall related ones) for that vehicle because it’s not obligated to provide them.

Subscriptions, by the way, are irrelevant to this situation.
I am not remotely close to a lawyer ... but I think a critical point here would be that, in the case of the theoretical turbo charger removal situation, a dealer/manufacturer would be laughed out of court (or arbitration) if they took action to remove/reduce the functionality of the vehicle without having some kind of a conversation with the owner first ... I just don't think that would be considered a reasonable remedy (i.e., proactive removal without a conversation with the person to whom the property now belongs). When you take a legacy auto in for service, and you sign the work order, I don't believe you are then giving the service department carte blanche to do whatever possibly unrelated things they want to to your vehicle, are you?

Of course, that theoretical scenario is pretty ludicrous ... because it would actually cost the dealer/manufacturer time (i.e., labor) to proceed with such removal. That, by itself, would probably be sufficient reason for such a party to just write off the whole thing as a clerical error and move on.

In the case of software config, the labor costs to make post-sale functionality reductions are probably far smaller (because it can scale out across the fleet so easily). As @jjrandorin said early on in this thread #25 ... it is most likely this was just a result of an, unfortunately untimely (emphasis mine), automated systems audit ... not even a person doing anything specific to my car.

And just to remind any who has made it this far in the thread: it was never my intention to try to call out Tesla's legal responsibilities here. What I was trying to draw attention to was solely what would be considered appropriate and respectful behavior on Tesla's part (or that of any mature automaker who valued exhibiting concern over the owner's experience) ... and what appears to be necessary diligence behavior on the part of Tesla owners (either new or used).

Thanks to all for contributing to this discussion. I have found this whole situation and conversation quite interesting. I wouldn't normally consider myself to be a particularly naive consumer ... but this series of events has opened my eyes that, at least when it comes to ownership rights of connected devices, I need to further calibrate/improve my level of consumer sophistication.
 
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Knightshade

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Jul 31, 2017
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NC
Why would they need consent to remove something you never bought?

This kind of thing has been happening in software for decades- it's not new.

On a fairly routine basis for example some companies will invalidate installs of software using pirated or gray market keys when they do a routine audit.

Which even the OP agrees is almost certainly what happened here.

"Thing thing I didn't ever pay for used to work and now it stopped" is an hilariously bad legal defense....even worse in this case when it's not even something documented to have existed in the config to start with.


They don't need your consent to remove something you never legally owned.
 
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Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
16,792
34,245
NC
The event that changes things is when the car is resold to a new owner. After that, Tesla shouldn’t have any remedy against the new owner to “recoup” the value nor should they permitted to reduce the value.

Except that Tesla had no involvement in that transaction at all.

As far as Tesla is concerned the car is the config on the MVPA- and they aren't obligated to support anything else to a second owner any more than the first- they're not directly involved in that sale, and make no legal representation whatsoever to the new buyer about the features of the vehicle.

but the new owner is a completely innocent actor. The new owner could also have a remedy against the seller if they misrepresented the car

Again the seller? Sure. If they misrepresented it.

Against Tesla? Not at all- other than I guess they could go complain to one of the anti-tesla FUD news sites and hope bad PR badgers Tesla into giving back the thing the car wasn't supposed to have even had.

Same as if I sold you a PC with a bunch of pirated software and some of it got shut down in a remote audit later- you don't have a legal cause of action against Microsoft or whoever at that point.
 
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Lets just take Apple that slowed down the processor speed,
well that did not turn out well. As a company, if you do not know what
your selling, you have no right to go after folks after the fact. This was
not a software contract, nor was it modified by the user or China or any other party.
What is next, holding my heated seats hostage, my AC, my radio sound level.
The bigger thing this nonsense was zero value to Tesla.
At least we have something new to discuss!!! (for years)
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
16,792
34,245
NC
Lets just take Apple that slowed down the processor speed,
well that did not turn out well.

Uh... what?


Apple reduced the purchased and paid for performance of phones.

That doesn't apply here at all


This was
not a software contract


Which is why there's no basis for legal action against Tesla.

They lost nothing that you had any actual rights or ownership of.
 
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If a team of folks came out and walked it to my
car to reprogram it, well the cops would be called.
At least in Texas, they would go to jail. period.
I find it funny with 200 auto pilot folks on the streets
Tesla wants to make pot holes. This is not a matter of
law, its making customers feel good, this does not.
Tesla feelings are above customers now??
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
16,792
34,245
NC
If a team of folks came out and walked it to my
car to reprogram it, well the cops would be called.

Sure, because they'd be physically trespassing on private property.

Why do you keep making analogies that have nothing to do with what is actually happening here?


I find it funny with 200 auto pilot folks on the streets
Tesla wants to make pot holes

How high is the ABV in what's in your avatar pic exactly?
 
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Except that Tesla had no involvement in that transaction at all.

As far as Tesla is concerned the car is the config on the MVPA- and they aren't obligated to support anything else to a second owner any more than the first- they're not directly involved in that sale, and make no legal representation whatsoever to the new buyer about the features of the vehicle.



Again the seller? Sure. If they misrepresented it.

Against Tesla? Not at all- other than I guess they could go complain to one of the anti-tesla FUD news sites and hope bad PR badgers Tesla into giving back the thing the car wasn't supposed to have even had.

Same as if I sold you a PC with a bunch of pirated software and some of it got shut down in a remote audit later- you don't have a legal cause of action against Microsoft or whoever at that point.
Hmmm, what if as an after market purchaser (private sale), after registering it with your Tesla account it shows up as configuration A in your account but after 2 years it gets switched to configuration B (downgrade some how)? I know it's probably not legal representation from Tesla per se, but as a second owner there doesn't seem to be any way to validate the configuration as it was sold originally.
 
Well I guess Tesla has 1000 years to decide what configuration it has, nice.
There is the problem of break and entry. If someone drops a ounce of gold
in my house or car, that person has no right to break in to get it.
I think you will find that the internet is not free from those laws,
So what its Tesla's loss, Live and let live.
 
This whole thread scares the beejesus out of me. I purchased a 2018 stealth performance about 8 months ago from CarMax. Who knows if it's accurate or not. It even came with the red underlined badge.
I'm considering selling my 18 Stealth and am interested in what the current pricing for these cars are. Did you get any warranty with the purchase since these cars are reaching their basic warranty limits.
One way to verify the P status is to make a pass in the 1/4 mile. Mine is a 11.4 car so yes it's legit, if it runs in the 12's maybe not.
 

Knightshade

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2017
16,792
34,245
NC
Hmmm, what if as an after market purchaser (private sale), after registering it with your Tesla account it shows up as configuration A in your account but after 2 years it gets switched to configuration B (downgrade some how)? I know it's probably not legal representation from Tesla per se, but as a second owner there doesn't seem to be any way to validate the configuration as it was sold originally.


To my knowledge the OP told us it didn't appear as a P anywhere except physically in the car itself on the screen and the phone app (again reading from the car).



Ford used to have a website where you could look up a vehicle's window sticker if you had the VIN. Does Tesla have anything like that?

Nope.

Plus as noted, the window sticker here did not match the vehicle config initially anyway.... and there's many other examples where it never would.... for example it would never reflect post-delivery purchases that might be on the car but never would be on the window sticker.

Likewise if ownership ever passed back to Tesla the vehicle might no longer be in the as-originally-delivered window sticker state either because while they re-own it they are free to change the config during that ownership.



Above is part of why many don't recommend buying a used Tesla except from Tesla, where you'd at least be getting something from them in writing about the config and feature you're buying.


That said- it's generally safe buying used if it's from the original owner which guarantees it did not pass back through Teslas hands where they might have made changes... but that would only insure the car comes with whatever is on the MVPA-- plus any add-ons the original owner might have proof of purchase of to pass along to you (for example if they bought AB or FSD after delivery).


This specific case is an oddball in that it's about a feature that was NEVER purchased- by anybody-- and removed when an audit caught it much later.... The only impact this could have would be someone who thinks they're getting a "steal" by finding a P sold as a non-P because the owner doesn't know any better- then it reverts back to a non-P later... and it's a little hard to feel bad there.




If someone drops a ounce of gold
in my house or car, that person has no right to break in to get it.
I think you will find that the internet is not free from those laws,


Again I suggest trying this again when you're sober and can distinguish between physical goods, private property, and unlicensed digital config settings.

Also terribly curious to see these "laws of the internet" you mention!
 
To my knowledge the OP told us it didn't appear as a P anywhere except physically in the car itself on the screen and the phone app (again reading from the car).
That is correct. The only official Tesla documentation I have in my possession where "P" appears was in the 2020 service invoice (18 months after delivery) for adding the P exterior badging (which was a service call initiated by Tesla, not by me).

Above is part of why many don't recommend buying a used Tesla except from Tesla, where you'd at least be getting something from them in writing about the config and feature you're buying.
Prior to this discussion (and this series of events), I was not aware of this recommendation. It hasn't been relevant, to date, for me personally ... because I was neither in the market for, nor selling, my M3. Good to know.

This specific case is an oddball in that it's about a feature that was NEVER purchased- by anybody-- and removed when an audit caught it much later.... The only impact this could have would be someone who thinks they're getting a "steal" by finding a P sold as a non-P because the owner doesn't know any better- then it reverts back to a non-P later... and it's a little hard to feel bad there.
This is the specific impact that I was concerned about: that it may not be well understood by the Tesla private-sale-community that some not-necessarily-straightforward form of verification is required in order to do proper due diligence on what you are purchasing. Because what the car thinks about itself and its capabilities, is far from authoritative ... and is subject to change by Tesla at any point in the future.

So I agree with your prior statement that, because of these factors: best practice would be to only buy from used from Tesla ... and to be certain that when you do buy it (either new or used) that you triple-check that the car you are getting is accurately described in every way in your documentation from Tesla. If you, somewhat reasonably, don't know what the documentation should look like for any given configuration (i.e., whether it should mention any given configuration option) ... then don't be silent: ask about it specifically.

The thing that made this "challenging" (for the much-less-informed me back in 2018) ... is that "stealth Performance" was something I was barely aware of at that time ... so it wasn't something that I knew what to expect in terms of how it would manifest on the documentation. I blame myself for that ignorance. It was not a topic I came to the Service Center prepared to understand or discuss ... as it wasn't part of my requested configuration. The whole delivery experience was novel and chaotic, and I was at that time just relieved to have finally received my vehicle after years of waiting on the list. So my behaviors on delivery could have been better ... and would have likely better protected myself against this "surprise" 2.5 years into my ownership experience.
 
That is correct. The only official Tesla documentation I have in my possession where "P" appears was in the 2020 service invoice (18 months after delivery) for adding the P exterior badging (which was a service call initiated by Tesla, not by me).


Prior to this discussion (and this series of events), I was not aware of this recommendation. It hasn't been relevant, to date, for me personally ... because I was neither in the market for, nor selling, my M3. Good to know.


This is the specific impact that I was concerned about: that it may not be well understood by the Tesla private-sale-community that some not-necessarily-straightforward form of verification is required in order to do proper due diligence on what you are purchasing. Because what the car thinks about itself and its capabilities, is far from authoritative ... and is subject to change by Tesla at any point in the future.

So I agree with your prior statement that, because of these factors: best practice would be to only buy from used from Tesla ... and to be certain that when you do buy it (either new or used) that you triple-check that the car you are getting is accurately described in every way in your documentation from Tesla. If you, somewhat reasonably, don't know what the documentation should look like for any given configuration (i.e., whether it should mention any given configuration option) ... then don't be silent: ask about it specifically.

The thing that made this "challenging" (for the much-less-informed me back in 2018) ... is that "stealth Performance" was something I was barely aware of at that time ... so it wasn't something that I knew what to expect in terms of how it would manifest on the documentation. I blame myself for that ignorance. It was not a topic I came to the Service Center prepared to understand or discuss ... as it wasn't part of my requested configuration. The whole delivery experience was novel and chaotic, and I was at that time just relieved to have finally received my vehicle after years of waiting on the list. So my behaviors on delivery could have been better ... and would have likely better protected myself against this "surprise" 2.5 years into my ownership experience.
I can guarantee you that Teslas are not very well understood by the general used car reseller community, though it does get better as time goes on. The same for those looking to purchase a used Tesla.

I'm curious, @SoundMixer, did the car show up as a performance in your actual Tesla account online?
 
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.
What bothers me most is that you didn't bother to suspect or check once your car's performance last 4 years. It has been becoming easier to measure 0-60 time with an inexpensive invest from Amazon. Even without any app or instrument, people coming from other luxury sports sedan can feel if it is off from its claimed performance. M3 stealth has 3.2s of 0-60 while M3LR has 4.2 so it must feel so much difference. If it didn't feel any difference or off the performance that means either you didn't care that performance or you have not experienced sports sedan at this fast regime. In the end you didn't need that fast car. anyway.
Don't get me wrong, I agree with you on their fallback and mistake. It's absolutely hilarious. However you should have suspected the car performance with that much diffenece of rhe spec based on the time that you have owned. Four years are much more than enough time to figure it out.
Again this means you didn't need the stealth performance anyway. So I suggest to feel fine by the "badging" of red underline if that gave you some pride.
 
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I'm curious, @SoundMixer, did the car show up as a performance in your actual Tesla account online?
I honestly do not know the anwer to that question, as I haven't frequented my online account very much. The only thing I know for sure is that it showed as performance by virtue of the red underline in-car, the red underline in the phone app, and the track mode in-car,
 
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