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Collection Experience - Tesla Heathrow (West Drayton)

MattC

Member
Jun 19, 2020
35
65
United kingdom
Thought I would share my experience with collection at Heathrow today.

TLDR - Collecting a car at Tesla (during COVID) is like shopping at an Argos or hiring a car at an airport, transactional, frustrating and disappointing! However, the car more than makes up for the poor experience you'll have picking up from Tesla Heathrow!

Honestly, this was a super disappointing experience, even more so given that the Tesla employee on the phone had advised me to travel to Tesla Heathrow (rather than Southampton) for the improved experience.

I can't think of any car manufacturer that would get away with such a poor car collection experience. It was like hiring a car at a low budget car hire place in the middle of nowhere - or shopping at an Argos waiting to pickup an online order.

Many of you will rightly say you are not buying the car for the collection experience, but having bought a fair few cars this was by far the worse car purchase/collection experience. Take it or leave it, here's my experience.

Order and Delivery details - I ordered a M3P (White/Black) in March expecting a June delivery, Tesla had a car ready within 2 weeks(!) but I declined the match. In late April, I changed my mind on the colour of the vehicle and went with MSM/Black, this delayed the delivery to Aug/Sept. In late July I was confirmed with a delivery date of Aug 13th. On Aug 11th I was told my car was damaged in transit, luckily the same spec car was available with earliest collection on Aug 18th (today) at 1pm.

img-1042.jpg

Don't park here! Its the building before it...

Getting there: Arriving at Tesla it wasn't clear where to go to pick up your car. There are two buildings being used, one for service and the other for test drives and collections. There are no signs indicating where to go or park. Lots of people were struggling to find parking, even some risking hitting new cars getting ready for pickup.

Tip: The first building on the left (before the main Tesla building with the Tesla sign) is where you need to go for collection. There isn't much parking, we just parked in the car bays next to Tesla cars waiting to picked up.
Tesla need to improve the signage around the area to make it clear where to park and where to go for collection.

img-1041.jpg

Standing outside waiting to pickup the car, park in that area ahead.

Arrival: There is a single small office with a door open where people are queuing for both pickup and test drives. There are only 2 people manning this office and folks were forced to line up outside (which wasn't great when the thunderstorm blew in!) I waited 10 minutes and was only 3rd in line (the line varied from 4 to 15 people while I was there).so get there early for your appointment.

Tesla didn't separate those just wanting to test drive and those wanting to pickup. Very frustrating if you spent hard earned cash and having to wait in line with folks who are "just" trying the car out.

At the desk they will want your RN number and drivers license. If you haven't signed your finance agreement you have to e-sign via your phone. The finance agreement actually asks you to watch a video too. Make sure you have this reviewed this and signed prior to your collection so you are not rushed through it.

They will also ask you to sign the delivery form before actually viewing the vehicle. They promise that they won't submit the form until you have accepted the car. Up to you, but saves you having to go back to the office.

Tip: Make sure you have reviewed and signed all agreements and forms before arriving at collection. Have your RN number and drivers license ready.
Tesla need a much better facility for car collection, it needs to be larger with the ability to host people (and cars) inside and have enough staff to cater to those picking up a car (by appointment). Buying a car shouldn't involve a 10-30 minute wait in a line outside while a thunderstorm is going on. Separate those that are collecting vs hiring!

Collection: The person serving you will give you your 2 car keys and hopefully show you to your car. Some lucky people were taken inside to their car, but most everyone else was shown to their car in the car park. A thunderstorm was going on during my collection so I made a run to my car (previously spotted in the car park) while the employee stayed in the office.

The car was parked in the car park with plenty of spacing between vehicles. Unfortunately, someone decided to try to park their car within a potential collision distance of my car, fortunately they decided against it after realising they came very close to hitting it.

Car was at 88% charge with 5 miles on the clock. I started to check the vehicle over and noticed a bunch of minor issues (front driver side glass panel by the wing mirror was not completely fastened, mark on drivers seat, misaligned charging panel, misaligned bonnet, scratch on interior console, scuff on right passenger side lower door etc).

I realised at this point how poor the build quality is on the vehicle. Nothing major seemed out of place or defective and I took time to check out the major components - doors, door opening and closing, boot, bonnet, exterior, interior, car details on the touchscreen etc.

Honestly though, I was taking the car straight to a detailers who was going to provide an inspection report, so I just made sure nothing was obviously broken. You have 7 days to report all faults, so I plan on going over the vehicle in detail over the next few days.

I was left to my own devices to check out the car, no one showed me round the car or helped me. Eventually, an employee came out to check on me, I told them I would accept the vehicle and they stated they would mark it delivered and reboot it.

Tip: You really do need to spend time checking out the vehicle for issues. More importantly, make sure you are familiar with checking the state of the car via the touchscreen. The car inspection checklist on this forum was helpful.
Tesla need to ensure that foiks buying a car are shown to the car, shown around the car and given the basic details on operating the car. I think we can all agree Tesla need to improve the quality assurance of the car builds

img-1053.jpg

Finally! Rainsoaked, which made it harder to spot exterior paint issues.

Accepting the car:
Once/if you accept the car, the employee will mark it delivered. At that point they will need to "reboot" the car so that ownership changes from Tesla to you.

I waited in the car while the Tesla employee did this and when the screen went black the car literally rebooted was when I then opened the app on my phone, logged in and it automatically connected to the car. It actually took my phone about 5 minutes to successfully connect, be patient. Once the car was connected I took time to familiarise myself with the touchscreen controls.

Two things I failed to do... firstly, make sure you enable Autopilot and autosteer while in parked mode. Secondly, make sure you know how to turn the windscreen wipers to auto! Really regretted that on the trip back :) Finally, be aware that cruise control takes a few minutes to calibrate, so don't expect it to work on first go.

Tip(s): Make sure an employee knows you accepted the car and that they will mark it delivered and reboot the car. Be patient connecting your phone app with the car. Make sure you enable autopilot and autosteer before setting off. Make sure you know how to turn the windscreen wipers to auto. Basically, read the manual before driving the car :)
Again this comes down to Tesla helping people with the car, even during COVID, they should provide basic information on operation of the car. Tesla need to make sure that they provide sufficient details on how to drive the car (the videos are not sufficient).

Driving the car: Wow! Immediately driving this car, you know its all that you hoped for and more. I was not prepared for the regen braking though! Taking your foot off the accelerator provides an immediate braking effect, that I was aware of but had underestimated. Takes some getting used to, but driving the car was pure delight. Leaving Tesla Heathrow I gave a very whispered but heartfelt hell yeah to those waiting in line, they had a long wait ahead...

Tip(s): Be prepared for the regen braking, don't go crazy on the accelerator out of the gate, know your way around the touchscreen before driving (mirrors, windscreen wipers, music/radio, navigation, etc).
Do Tesla need to up their game with collection experience? As a consumer, I would say hell yes, for a £50k+ car it was a shockingly bad experience. As Elon Musk, its probably low on the list of things he thinks needs to be done, it increases costs and he knows people don't buy the car for the customer service. In the long run, this stuff will matter, but I guess Tesla have time to address this.

Hope it was useful, good luck to those collecting in the coming weeks and months.
 

Neilman

Member
Mar 27, 2020
284
169
Southampton, UK
I have called at (but not in) the Heathrow (AKA West Drayton) site and it does look a bit drab outside.
Inside might have been better pre-COVID but now?
I was going to collect from West Drayton but after a test drive at Southampton I was able to change to local collection.
However if there are any problems I presume I'll have to book a visit to West Drayton (140miles round trip) to fix.

I'm wondering what kind of experience to expect when I collect my M3LR in three weeks from Southampton docks.
I got a test drive from Southampton mid-July and at that time there was just a mobile office with some outside tables in the corner of a mostly empty parking lot.

I presume when I collect my car it will be the same office, same tables but a few? more cars in the parking lot.
There is no Service Centre there or a Supercharger so I presume they trucked the cars somewhere else for the Pre Delivery Inspection (assuming one's been carried out), checked/charged them and trucked them back.
Finger's crossed there'll be nothing more than an insignificant scratch or two - or is that too much to hope for?
I'll be driving there in my Volvo V70 and back home in the Tesla - hope there's enough juice in it to make it all 5 miles home ;)

Once home I'll find out the hard way if my Tesla Wall Charger installation works.
 

rockafunked

Member
Aug 11, 2020
27
31
London
Thought I would share my experience withI realised at this point how poor the build quality is on the vehicle.

Nothing major seemed out of place or defective and I took time to check out the major components - doors, door opening and closing, boot, bonnet, exterior, interior, car details on the touchscreen etc.

Thanks for this, it’s very helpful - I’m preparing myself for a really stressful day when I collect (at Dartford).
 

nightowl

Member
Sep 2, 2019
335
229
Berkshire
I collected from here back in November. Got honked at by a taxi driver at the entrance as I was trying to figure out where I was meant to park so I ended up going straight on and then turning around to go back to the entrance area where I could park (was trading in my old car so there was an area designated for that.)

All cars were inside the building, there were tea/coffee facilities from what I remember and a separate area to deal with finance agreements etc. Had to go to one member of staff to hand over keys to my old car and sign some documentation about that, then into a small area with a screen where a group presentation about the basics of the car was given to us. Then over to the area with the cars where you give your details to someone and they direct you to the car.

That was pretty much it. Left to just look over the car myself, which I did a thorough job of (was probably there for well over an hour just opening and closing things.) Found one problem which I mentioned and a member of staff made a note of, later resolved by a ranger visit, signed for it and then off I went. The key cards were inside the car, which was unlocked.

Charging area was very cramped and busy, not sure if it was meant to be for service centre visits but I realised only the slow chargers were available so I headed home via the M4. Going from quite a small car (Nissan Micra!) into what felt comparatively like a tank and then driving in rush-hour traffic along roads where people were parked at the side was quite nerve-wracking.

I can't say I particularly had good/bad feelings either way about the actual service, it doesn't feel "personal" at all. But then again I was excited to just get my hands on the car so in a way I didn't need anything more.

Also I had a dumb moment and forgot to bring the spare key for my trade-in car, it was going to be an issue but given how far I'd driven, in the end I managed to post it to them the next day.
 
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MattC

Member
Jun 19, 2020
35
65
United kingdom
I collected from here back in November...

All cars were inside the building, there were tea/coffee facilities from what I remember and a separate area to deal with finance agreements etc. Had to go to one member of staff to hand over keys to my old car and sign some documentation about that, then into a small area with a screen where a group presentation about the basics of the car was given to us. Then over to the area with the cars where you give your details to someone and they direct you to the car.

I can't say I particularly had good/bad feelings either way about the actual service, it doesn't feel "personal" at all. But then again I was excited to just get my hands on the car so in a way I didn't need anything more.

Hey thanks for responding and providing detail on pre-COVID experience at Tesla.

I actually also bought another new car a few weeks ago with a big german brand and their COVID protocol and collection experience was exceptional. I was met immediately when I arrived, we got paperwork done electronically very quickly at a desk inside, where I could sit and take my time, coffee/water was provided. The car was inside and looked immaculate, there was a not single obvious issue with the car. The employee took me through key things to know and had provided a personalised video too that I could watch if we weren't comfortable hanging around. They answered all questions, made sure we were happy and then we drove the car out of the facility. They also provided a free track experience as part of the purchase. It was a personal experience that really enhanced our feeling about their brand.

I appreciate Tesla do things differently, so this isn't necessarily a knock on them, just setting expectation for folks who are used to buying cars the "traditional" way.
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
3,798
2,908
Scotland
I can't say I particularly had good/bad feelings either way about the actual service, it doesn't feel "personal" at all. But then again I was excited to just get my hands on the car so in a way I didn't need anything more.

Yes, we're all a bit different in what we want from the buying of a new car. Speaking for myself I always found it longwinded and annoying going through traditional dealership handovers (no matter how polite and obsequious the sales staff). In fact the last time I bought a new car before the Tesla it was through an agent and it was delivered by a transporter to my door .. perfect! I can't bear going through the nonsense about being part of the brand and how they will look after me, my family and my car ... how great the servicing is and would I sign up for extra cover to make sure that I wouldn't be landed with unexpected bills in the future beyond the warranty period ... No no no! ... just give me the flippin' car!
 
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Rustybkts

Member
Feb 8, 2020
558
331
Leicestershire
Its a shame that the OP had the same experience that others report when picking their cars up.
I collected mine from Birmingham and can only say that it was very different although it does depend on the number of cars being handed over in a day.

I drove past the Heathrow SC once and was amazed by how many Tesla's there are parked in any available space possible. As there wasn't anywhere for me to park I didn't bother.

Do other manufacturers hand over such numbers from their dealerships I wonder.

To date I haven't found anything to complain about on my car apart from a tiny rip in the cover of the case that the tow bar sits in.
 

Rustybkts

Member
Feb 8, 2020
558
331
Leicestershire
Yes, we're all a bit different in what we want from the buying of a new car. Speaking for myself I always found it longwinded and annoying going through traditional dealership handovers (no matter how polite and obsequious the sales staff). In fact the last time I bought a new car before the Tesla it was through an agent and it was delivered by a transporter to my door .. perfect! I can't bear going through the nonsense about being part of the brand and how they will look after me, my family and my car ... how great the servicing is and would I sign up for extra cover to make sure that I wouldn't be landed with unexpected bills in the future beyond the warranty period ... No no no! ... just give me the flippin' car!

My thoughts entirely.
I used to have a BMW M3 and the way you are treated in my local stealership reminded me of that "Pretty Woman" moment with the girl in the shop.........very false.
Not having to fend off extras even during servicing was a breath of fresh air. I wasn't so sure about sending all that money in before the day though!
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
3,798
2,908
Scotland
Do other manufacturers hand over such numbers from their dealerships I wonder.

No. But then think of the number of dealerships in the area covered by a single Tesla SC. Edinburgh covered all of Scotland, all Northern Ireland and used to cover Newcastle area too ... (changing with Aberdeen and Newcastle coming on stream).
 

Dilly

Active Member
Feb 24, 2020
1,858
1,524
Norfolk
Mine was delivered, driven to my home by a TNT driver. Arrived in one piece. No defects save for the two of the tiniest paint chips you’ll ever see. Less than a pin head. I found them weeks later.
So I missed out on collection but it was lockdown day one so I have no regrets.
If Tesla would get a grip on consistent build quality and PDI, the click & collect simplicity of online purchase could turn out to be a real winner in the future. Right now it’s a lottery.

would buy another Tesla? Yes I would. Just can’t help wanting to drive it!
 

CountvonC

Member
Feb 19, 2020
39
39
uk
Sounds pretty much like my experience PRE-COVID tbh! Certainly nothing personal about it and very much a take it or leave it attitude.
 

Electric Dream

Pilots the Millennium Milkfloat
Jul 21, 2016
1,721
2,791
UK
I collected my first M3 in September and will be collecting my second one in a couple of weeks, both at West Drayton.

The OP's experience sounds quite different to my September one in that we had a presentation before the car handover and all the cars were parked inside the building, but I suspect a lot of changes had to made due to Covid.

What I would say though is that I just don't think it's practical to have a Tesla rep with you the whole time you're checking the car. There are too many deliveries happening in a small amount of time. There aren't enough Tesla reps to do it.

Take a checklist, a very bright flashlight and watch plenty of videos before you go so you know how to operate the car and what to look for (paint defects, panel gaps, marks on interior, glass cracks, low brake fluid level etc. etc.)

No, this is not like other manufacturer's handovers but as long as you're prepared it won't seem too bad.
 

Mr Miserable

Supporting Member
Jul 8, 2019
4,776
8,846
UK
The idea that the delivery experience at Heathrow has changed because of COVID would be wrong - it has sadly been a sub-optimal experience since the Model 3 arrived. It appears that Tesla have just used COVID to formalise and mandate the sub-optimal delivery experience.
 
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DaveW

Active Member
May 21, 2019
1,171
931
Beds, UK
My pre-COVID collection was't hugely different to collecting my new BMW that I had before, no fanfare there, no freebies, didn't even do the reveal for me for some reason, just turned up, signed some paperwork and it was waiting outside.

When I got my Model 3 in August last year from WD, went to the waiting room, was called in and shown the car (inside), they showed me the basics then left me to inspect it, once I was happy I drove home, no fanfare, no extras (apart from what I got from OctopusEV, as Cyril from there came to meet me and see what the handover process was like), so no better / worse than my BMW experience.

My wife has had better experiences picking up the two new SEAT's she has had, they have always made an effort and gave her a bottle of Champagne on both occasions, it's only a small thing, but makes you feel a bit more valued even if it is all for show.
 
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MOBB

Member
Sep 18, 2019
161
123
Bedfordshire
I think most of us that buy Teslas have had premium cars before and been treated like kings at collection. I dont think Tesla will change, hopefully the quality will but I dont think the collection experience will change much. It is what it is.

But would it put anyone off buying Tesla again? It certainly wouldn't put me off, its one of those annoyances but the car is so good I accept it. In fact I cant imagine going to a BMW/Audi dealer etc now and having pointy-shoed fraudsters trying to sell me various things I dont want or need!
 

GRiLLA

Member
Jul 5, 2020
683
653
UK
My experience at WD for collection in August 2019 was entirely acceptable. Waiting area with Coffee and about 20 other people collecting (I was early). My kids were crazy excited. Ahead of schedule we were show the car in the building that was packed with cars and given keys. registered in phone. The chap was happy to show and explain everything, which I didn't need as I had watched most of Youtube. One paint blemish that was sorted a month or so later.

It was a great experience, 0 complaints. Your german manufacturer experience may have been different, but you know you paid for that?
 

Durzel

Active Member
Jul 17, 2019
3,258
2,247
Bath, UK
Hey thanks for responding and providing detail on pre-COVID experience at Tesla.

I actually also bought another new car a few weeks ago with a big german brand and their COVID protocol and collection experience was exceptional. I was met immediately when I arrived, we got paperwork done electronically very quickly at a desk inside, where I could sit and take my time, coffee/water was provided. The car was inside and looked immaculate, there was a not single obvious issue with the car. The employee took me through key things to know and had provided a personalised video too that I could watch if we weren't comfortable hanging around. They answered all questions, made sure we were happy and then we drove the car out of the facility. They also provided a free track experience as part of the purchase. It was a personal experience that really enhanced our feeling about their brand.

I appreciate Tesla do things differently, so this isn't necessarily a knock on them, just setting expectation for folks who are used to buying cars the "traditional" way.
How many other people were there to pick up a new German car at the same time as you?

Genuinely curious, as it seems Tesla can't move for customers keen to buy their cars. Their attitude (especially post-COVID) seems to be that customers should/would want to acquaint themselves with the car before turning up, so that the handover becomes a mere formality. People who are expecting and are used to red carpet treatment with flowers & a bottle of wine, and a big reveal with a cloth covering the car are definitely going to be disappointed.

Your Heathrow experience is definitely a lot different to pre-COVID. There are "collection day" videos on YouTube which show it to be at least from a presentation point of view the most in keeping with the sort of experience you'd expect (coffee machine, cookies, etc).

If it's any consolation my car was delivered to me straight from Southampton dock, by a random contracted driver (who was very careful at unloading, to be fair). My collection experience was like Amazon delivering me a parcel.
 
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nightowl

Member
Sep 2, 2019
335
229
Berkshire
Just wanted to add: If I'd had the option for the car to be delivered to my home, I would've opted for that.
Though it's probably logistically more challenging for Tesla, it then really does become a lot more like ordering something from e.g. Amazon, just with a much longer delivery time.
 
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