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2021 Refresh: White Seats with Black Fabric Inner

mikehj

Member
Jun 26, 2019
31
17
Edinburgh, UK
Hello everybody,

Quick question for those around the world: I've recently taken delivery of Model 3 Long Range which, as I'm in the UK, was made in China. The fit is generally better with all the panels and paint being spot on. However, unlike most other people I'm not entirely happy having a Chinese made car and feel there are probably a lot of cheaper components on the vehicle. I've had several Model 3's previously and was rather disappointed to see some more differences on this car. So far I've noticed:

  1. In addition to the door trims being black (I knew this from the configurator before I ordered) the bottom half (where the door pocket is) is made from hard plastic and feels a lot cheaper/low quality than on older cars which had slightly padded soft touch plastic. I know Fremont made cars that are left hand drive have the white door cars but I wonder if they changed to the hard plastic on these too?
  2. The seats seem to have different padding. I've compared my car directly to several other 2020 Fremont made cars and everybody that sat in both said the Fremont seats were more comfortable. It's not a major difference and they are still okay seats but they do feel a bit soft, cause a bit of leg ache on long drives and are arguably lower quality on the Chinese car.
  3. The inside edge of both front seats is trimmed with black fabric instead of white. A small detail but it looks odd to me and not what one would expect. Photo below.

My question is: could somebody that's taken delivery of a Fremont car manufactured during Q1-2021 confirm whether or not their car has these changes? Also, if you were handed a car with these changes would you accept them?
IMG_9718.jpeg
 
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DoctorNomNom

Member
Feb 11, 2021
159
140
Columbus, Ohio
I have a 2021 M3 LR AWD delivered about 2 weeks ago and mine definitely does not have that black fabric on the side of the seat. Its white all the way around.

The padding is very good - just like the 2019 version i drove from the friend and the 2020 version i test drove last year.

I don't know about the door trim as I am not educated enough to speak to what it used to be like.
 
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Star Platinum

Member
Mar 20, 2019
69
93
Philadelphia
I don’t get the whole Chinese made are lower quality. I always feel any cars manufactured in Asia including China have a higher quality QC compare to American counterpart but that’s my opinion anyways.

 
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SeaM3White2021

model 3 LR 18 white/white ordered 1/21/21
Feb 7, 2021
90
115
Seattle, WA
Woah, I wouldn't accept the car with those seats. That black side fabric looks ridiculous.
I'm not sure I wouldn't accept but that does look off. Is it only on the interior side of the seat? A few more pix? How much more do you pay for white interior there?
 

mikehj

Member
Jun 26, 2019
31
17
Edinburgh, UK
Thanks for all the replies. As I suspected it appears it's just the China manufactured Model 3 which has these slightly different white seats and the Fremont manufactured cars still get the "old" version. I can't say for certain but I'm told these white seats are also not as comfortable as those on our 2020 cars with several drivers reporting aches on long journeys they never experienced in other Model 3's on our fleet. I've now seen several other new UK cars with white interior which were made in China during the same period and they all have the same black fabric trim. Perhaps it's a mistake on these first China cars being exported, a parts shortage or a permanent revision - who knows! The easy way to identify them is the revised door cards which contain an extension of the dashboard trim; black interior gets wood, white interior gets white trim. There are a few more differences; all door cards have the same black alcantara so no white fake leather trim and the lower half of the door panel is made out of hard plastic instead of the soft touch as on Fremont cars. It appears the speakers are different too and upon further investigation also the "immersive audio" function has no effect on the sound despite being in the menu. Looking at the revised Model S it appears this wrap around dash trim is possibly the direction Tesla is going so perhaps these Model 3 changes will come later to Fremont once they get the revised S up and running?

On the plus sides, indeed the QC does appear to be far better so as a result every car I've seen has correctly aligned panels, centred glass roof and in particular the paint is better. We've taken delivery of several Fremont cars over the past couple of years and while the last 2 made in early 2020 were perfect there was one in particular from late 2019 with terrible front panel alignment and paint problems galore on which the boot keeps leaking despite multiple service centre visits. To sum up these China made cars do seem consistent so there doesn't appear to be the same lottery that can result in the unlucky few getting a problematic car requiring service visits or rejection. The general consensus in the UK so far does seem to be positive with some people even saying they would be happy to pay a premium for a made in China version so perhaps these debatable "downgrades" are a small price to pay for a car that does seem better put together overall?

@SeaM3White2021 I'll take some more photos tomorrow but in the meantime see below for some I already have. The black fabric is only on the interior side of the seat so to be fair it's not the end of the world and could be viewed by some as an advantage as it won't get dirty. However, it's interesting to hear others such as @JDMerica would have not been happy to be delivered a car with this unexpected change. The white interior is actually slightly more expensive here at £1000 which includes 20% tax so £833 tax free = $1150± at the current exchange rate. All changes considered I feel the white interior represents poor value on the China made cars and we won't order it again as a result.

IMG_9857.jpeg
IMG_9856.jpeg

IMG_9717.jpeg
 
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JDMerica

Member
Mar 18, 2021
185
173
Virginia
Now that I see the overall package I would have taken it. I hate the white leather inserts on the doors and love the alcantara ones. So if I had to take the black inside trim of the seats but I got alcantara door inserts plus that white trim up top that wraps around I would be happy. I went with black mainly because I disliked the doors with it but the doors now look great to me.

Also, maybe they switched to the black fabric cause people were spilling coffees down there and it would stain it. I know my wife is prone to spilling Starbucks wherever is hard for me to clean. 😉
 

mikehj

Member
Jun 26, 2019
31
17
Edinburgh, UK
Now that I see the overall package I would have taken it. I hate the white leather inserts on the doors and love the alcantara ones. So if I had to take the black inside trim of the seats but I got alcantara door inserts plus that white trim up top that wraps around I would be happy. I went with black mainly because I disliked the doors with it but the doors now look great to me.

Also, maybe they switched to the black fabric cause people were spilling coffees down there and it would stain it. I know my wife is prone to spilling Starbucks wherever is hard for me to clean. 😉
Thanks! Interesting feedback. I actually said almost exactly the same but a few others here seem to think differently so I guess it's a case of "you can't please everybody" 😇 Still feel it's a little overpriced now as the number of different parts compared to the black interior is considerably less but I suppose if somebody wants white seats then they will pay whatever Tesla ask...
 
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