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Importance of shipping a perfect car

Discussion in 'Model S' started by swegman, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. swegman

    swegman Member

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    Most of you are very tolerant and forgiving. I would not be happy spending $70K-$90K for a car and then having problems, even if they are minor and addressed by the dealer after delivery. I expect a car to be without flaws when taking delivery. I have yet to buy a Lexus (owned 3), an Audi (owned 2), a MB, an infiniti or even a Prius that had problems that needed updates/fixing after taking delivery. I did buy a Durango many years ago, where I discovered a problem upon inspection. Dealer said they would take care of the problem later. I refused to accept the car before the problem was resolved. Dealer immediately fixed the issue to make the sale. Prior to that I had an issue with a Corvette. Bought the car on the dealer's assurance that he would fix the problem and then they dragged their feet. Swore I would never go through that again.

    It may just be me, but I don't think so, but for for what the car (any car costs), I expect the dealer to do a complete examination and take care of any issues PRIOR to delivery. The impression I get from all these posts is that Tesla is trying to push the cars out as quick as possible and QC is suffering as a result. When my car arrives, I expect the DS people to have thoroughly checked everything and fix any problems before delivering the car to me.
     
  2. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

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    My point of view ...
    I don't think it's reasonable to expect a new company building their first car with never-before-matched technology to produce a perfect car for this price tag with only 3 years of development and half the capital costs of the normal.
    Honestly, I'm astounded at how good the car is. It's amazing to me that this thing is real.

    Anyone who still feels otherwise -- this car is probably not for them. But one's perception of how big the problems are radically changes after driving or owning the car (vs. reading about them here).
     
  3. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    While some folks, particularly us early and informed folks, are going to be forgiving, what do you think is going to be the opinion of the potential customer base at large?

    The folks in the market for Audi/BMW/MB segment are going to have high quality expectations. Can Tesla afford to just write them off under the category of "this car is probably not for them"?
     
  4. swegman

    swegman Member

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    Exactly my point, cinergi. Where I live (Washington, DC suburbs), houses cost from $1M (for what is considered a shack) to about $15M. People drive cars such as MB, Lexus, Bentleys, Porcshe, Ferrari, Masserati. These are the people that can easiest afford a Model S, but they would never put up with these type of problems. They expect perfection, and undivided attention from the dealers. Tesla can not afford to write off these people. Nor can Tesla afford to write off the "regular" guy. They also do not want the hassles associated with fixing problems after the sale.
    I was talking to a friend of mine in another state about this today. She opted for an Audi recently instead of a Tesla. When i told her the story, she said that this is unacceptable. Even if Tesla comes to her house to fix such issues, she would still need to take time out of her busy schedule to be there for them to "fix" the car. I am afraid that the majority of the public feels that way. If the general public gets the impression that cars are delivered with issues requiring attention after delivery, it could hurt sales in the future. I want tesla to flourish. I think it is a great car. But I think it would serve them better to slow down, and make sure that each and every car that gets delivered is "perfect". The initial impression of the general public (which is not those on this forum) can make or break the company.
     
  5. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    Please keep this thread focused on the technical issues themselves. If you want to discuss general QA policy, I suggest starting a dedicated thread.
     
  6. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    For what it's worth, I've never had a new vehicle that was 100% flawless without some type of item that needed to be fixed, regardless of make, model, or size. I am picky, but I also believe that there is nothing that arrives absolutely perfect.
     
  7. cinergi

    cinergi Active Member

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    Splitting off from this post: Model S Technical / Mechanical Issues - Page 29

    ... more to come ...

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'm not saying everyone in the market for Audi/BMW/MB feel like the car has to be perfect.

    - - - Updated - - -

    We're dealing with absolutes here when there are none. Not everyone buying the car:
    1) Expects perfection in a $50-$100k car
    2) Owns multi-million-dollar homes
    3) Isn't willing to put up with a few problems from Tesla
    4) Will experience problems with their Model S

    - - - Updated - - -

    All the above said, I don't disagree that the more perfect the car is, the better it is for Tesla's reputation and future sales. There's a balance between perfection and getting the cars out and making money so the company stays afloat.
     
  8. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    5) When most of the people who are in groups 1-3 get their cars, Telsa will have made and delivered thousands and the problems really should be gone by then. However, I don't know of any manufacturer that has zero problems (My 2004 Prius had bad alignment when delivered). In many cases the problems are just hidden by the dealer.
     
  9. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    Cinergi, I completely agree with you. Hell yes this is an expensive car. Hell yes my expectations are high. But they are also realistic and without putting 100,000+ miles on thousands of cars it is impossible to be confident in the durability and reliability and even functionality of the multiple components. Even a huge company like Toyota has many flaws. My early Gen II Prius is a great car, but over time it's clear that some components and some elements of their initial design just didn't work. Even little things that you'd never think about were flaws that had to be revised in future versions. One little thing that comes to mind is the tail lights have these black "louvers", they look great and follow the line of the lower hatch window. Problem is...they're black and encased in plastic. And if you live in a sunny area and park outside in the bright sunlight they get hot, melt and warp over time. It's highly likely that Toyota never left enough of the Prii in the sun for that long of a time to even notice. The car also had issues with the Combination Meter going bad and causing various issues...worked fine initially, but lots of people had issues after a few thousand miles and had to have those replaced. Later in life it started experiencing issues with the Inverter coolant pump.

    The Model S will have those sorts of problems, AND MORE, because the Model S is a brand new car with brand new suppliers and a brand new production design and a totally novel vehicle.

    Anyone buying this thing and expecting BMW-like out of the box perfection is delusional, no matter what you're paying. It's a completely unrealistic expectation. Welcome to life as an early adopter.
     
  10. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    There must have been some bad plastic in some of the batches because my 2004 has been parked outside in Texas all these years (in service Oct. 2003) and has yet to droop.
     
  11. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    My take on this is from someone who drives Hondas and Acuras, both of which worked 100% off the lot. Perhaps I am lucky, but the only problem with my 5 year old Accord was that the emergency brake handle was a little loose at year 2.

    I think that in general, the more expensive the product, the more one is going to expect (demand?) that everything work flawlessly.

    With the Model S, I think the first few thousand will be tolerant of minor problems. After that, even middle reservation owners will start to get agitated at some point about flaws. If this ends up being the only family car and it is out of commission for service, renting and getting loaners is going to get old real fast.

    I agree that the average person of the street who heard about the Model S because of the debates or the COTY award will be less tolerant. Tesla needs it to work right out of the box at that point, because as soon as the NYT or some news show starts reporting on these problems Tesla keeps having, they might as well be Fisker Fires.

    I hope that Tesla has many of the problems fixed by Q2 of next year, because that's when production should be at its maximum capacity and when there is the least amount of time for quality control.

    For now, I don't think minor problems - especially software problems - are too worrisome.


    Sent via Tapatalk.
     
  12. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    That may have been part of it, but I'm pretty sure some of it was just design which is why they switched to a chrome finish in the '06
     
  13. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    It was probably easier to change to chrome than to get the plastic right every time.
     
  14. Arnold Panz

    Arnold Panz Model Sig 304, VIN 542

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    Totally, totally agree. Given how amazing the Model S is, a few minor fixes shouldn't be a deal breaker for most people. I remember growing up when Jaguars were said to spend more time in the shop than on the road, yet rich people regularly bought them despite their lack of reliability. My wife has had MBs and BMWs, and they routinely have more service issues than my Lexuses and Hondas during the same time period. I don't think most people equate more expensive cars with more reliability, though they do expect better and more personalized service, which I think Tesla clearly does a superior job.

    Given everything else Tesla is offering, not delivering "perfect" cars is fine. Most people don't get "perfection" (however individually defined), and Model S is so amazing in so many other respects that it will probably get more leeway from most people than most other cars would. Will some people be upset? Sure, but I think it'll be a minority, and by continually providing a superior customer experience they will be able to minimize the impact of those individuals. Most everyone else will be grateful to have such a cool car and good customer service.

    If Tesla tried to make every car "perfect" they'd fall even further behind production, which is a much worse outcome. It's a typical 80/20 type of situation, and these little things (potentially) are small in the grand scheme of things compared to producing such a groundbreaking car as long as the basics are there and working.
     
  15. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    So far, all the issues I've had are minor software annoyances or things that should be added later with updates (like timed charging or storing favorites in the Nav). Other than that, the 17" screen has been rock solid and responsive. It did freeze twice but that went away after the first update. The Nav definitely needs some refinement but by the time the first few thousand or so highly motivated early adopters have their car they will hopefully have addressed most of these issues.

    Physically, the car has been great. No interior fit and finish issues and it drives great too. I'd say a great initial effort on a car for such a short and very public development process.
     
  16. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    While I agree there is a balance, some of the problems seem like things that should have been caught and fixed (chargers not working, for instance). It's going to cost Tesla to go back and fix all of these issues, so they're increasing longer term expenses for short term cash. Given they got the secondary offering for buffer, they're not so desperate for cash that it makes sense to short change the QC process or knowingly ship physical defects that require manual attention (I'm intentionally calling out physical as separate from software defects).

    Now, as folks have mentioned, some level of unexpected problems are inevitable given where Tesla is at in their growth, but that doesn't seem to explain some of the problems customers are seeing.
     
  17. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    That's the problem with anecdotal evidence. No car is perfect (just look at initial quality and long term reliability surveys), esp. a first gen car made with new equipment/procedures. Some people will get lucky, some will have the problem but not notice it, etc. It's going to be a process for Tesla QA/QC to catch issues and fix them. The first batch of Signature cars will have to put up with those issues and it's a bit unrealistic to not expect them to occur.

    Edit: I didn't see the original post for context, but it seems it is talking about a specific case where the GPS and TPMS isn't working properly, so it's a bit different from an issue that involves all cars and it may have occurred in the process of transport. Seems like something that would be tested out of the factory and perhaps the delivery specialist can check it when delivering (probably would have to postpone fixing till some other time).
     
  18. bluetinc

    bluetinc Member

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    Ckessel,

    Without a root cause trace back to the exact cause of each of these items not working, it's not fair to say that QC should have caught it because if they would have just tested XYZ they would have seen it not work. I've found many QC issues that show up with my products are much more complicated than this. Sometimes it as simple as the vibration during shipping caused something that passed QC to now fail. Sometimes it turns out that the QC fixture that checks the parts are not quite fully testing something even though everyone thought that it was, perhaps because the source power is too clean, or because the frequency chosen to test at just happens to cover up the issue. I've personally seen all of these (and many more).

    Peter

     
  19. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    I've seen things as well in both software and hardware, but in the end that's not really an acceptable excuse. If vendor A (e.g. Nissan) ships at a lower defect rate than vendor B (e.g. Tesla), no one really cares about the excuses as to why. They only care that vendor B step up their programs to do a better job. I do expect Tesla will improve their QC program.

    While there is a certain amount of forgiveness required given Tesla is new at this, it's not a universal waiver. For example, someone reported having to have their windshield replaced due to a bad spot in the driver's vision. The cars are driven dozens of miles before delivery...how does that get by QC?
     
  20. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    QC becomes sensitized to new issues. Case in point: We manufactured a piece of lab equipment for running septicemia tests, that had two large doors in the front (think side-by-side fridge, only much larger). Our QC people started rejecting because they felt the door alignment was not good enough. They looked at this everyday and would see things the rest of us didn't. But no matter, they rejected.

    Then I asked everyone in manufacturing to go home and measure the alignment of the doors on their appliances at homes. Yep, that's right. They'd never noticed because they weren't looking for that at home. (And I'll bet several people reading this have doors out of alignment on their fridge and have never noticed.) After that, everyone was open to changing the allowable tolerances.

    My point being is that if QC wasn't looking for striations in the windshield glass (esp with a new product), their focus would have been on other things. Now that they've been alerted, they'll probably notice.
     

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