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New S Owner: My First Tesla Buying Experience, Growing Pains

Big4Blue

New to the Tesla family. SP100D
Sep 9, 2018
13
4
Austin
Not sure where to post this, but saw the article stating this forum is where to post feedback to escalations. I have been sitting on this for a few weeks. Updates to my story below:

I finally decided to join the EV World. After doing the most exhaustive research I have ever done for my next commuter car, I landed on Tesla. Going into this, I knew my next car would be a Hybrid or All Electric purchase, and I was investing in the software capabilities as much as the hardware, look and drive. After reviewing thousands of videos and reading tons of articles on the car and the company, I was in.

Being my first Tesla purchase, I was intrigued by the online purchase and no more car dealerships. Look, if you are in the auto industry, as some of my friends are, I respect the grind that is the auto sales model. I just dread the process until I drive the new car home. I had just experienced this in a recent auto purchase for my wife. We settled on a Mazda CX-9 for her for the family trip car. It was actually a good experience! (Shout out to Roger Beasley Central Austin Mazda). For a just under $50,000 purchase, it was more like a luxury car experience and we were pleasantly pleased.

After that experience, I was wondering how an all-digital experience for buying a car would be. I was super excited to line up my timeline with the time Tesla released many of its demo models for sale on their site. I chose my model, the flagship 2018 Model S P100D. They had my favorite color combination for $20,000 off a brand new one with only 3300 miles! I placed my order with a $2500 deposit. I chose to lease for several reasons and applied through Tesla directly. I promptly received a call and email from the local retail person to ensure I even got my Free Supercharging Referral Code (its now over as a promotion) the next day - on a Sunday!

This is where it gets strange for me. Keep in mind how I described my wife's and my experience in a $50,000 car purchase. This Tesla at full retail new is obviously more than that (of course I was leasing a demo model, so it wouldn't be at full retail). At a higher tier price point, lease or buy, a customer would assume a certain level of service. For many years, Tesla had one segment of customer, the higher price point customer looking for cutting edge technology, looks, a little concerned about the environment.

Since the original Roadster stopped being produced in 2012, Tesla had the Model S ONLY, starting in 2013 until the time they introduced the Model X in 2015. While it expanded an audience with an SUV offering (and a cool one with Pigeon Wing doors mind you), the price points were the same. Many articles explain Elon Musk's strategy for building the brand setting up for an affordable all electric model. This is where the Model 3 came in starting production just last year. This is also where the strategy became a bit half baked.

With the pressure from Wall Street, investors, the board, and customers themselves to get true mass production, the focus was to get to 5000 cars/day. What Tesla forgot was that they now have a new customer with new experiences, AND they still have the customers that built their brand. I have, through my buying process talked to people from the entire Tesla "ecosystem": Sales people, Finance people, Electricians for the Charger installations, after market services, former and current employees, forum members/owners, and more (I am a little OCD that way). They all seem to be saying (shouting) the same thing. The Model 3 has ruined the experience for the Model S and X customers. I know this is a bold statement but let me give you my experience (and this was similar to others above I spoken with above)

It seemed the entire process from the time I purchased was full of delays, disappointments and misinformation. At one point I told Tesla to "shove it" and I was moving on. Even though I had been approved for Tesla leasing, placed my down payment and planned my EV life ahead, I was at my tipping point. There were certainly added scenarios that fed into this (see any article related to big cities in Texas and the Property Tax Exemption statutes), but it was mostly due to the lack of knowledge, long delays in responses and rescheduling of delivery that were really ticking me off. I know things happen, but for a car in this price band, I know of no other brand, especially in this band, that has this many documented instances like Tesla.

Even after I arranged my delivery date of September 12th due to international travel starting on the 13th, things continued to go south. After receiving no call or email just two days before my scheduled delivery day, I reached out to my delivery manager. That was when I was informed there was a "glass/window issue" when the car arrived from Dallas and that they would have to reschedule my delivery for a few more days. Of course, they knew already I was going to be out of town, so I informed them that while I was disappointed, it would have to be moved back to when I am back on town on the 24th. It seems issues with deliveries is a common thing these days with lots of these cars.

While I was out of the country, I checked in a few days before arriving back in the states. There was a Monsoon coming into India, so I moved my return flight up to a day earlier. I was inquiring if I could come in earlier than my late afternoon appointment that Monday. My delivery manager said no, let’s keep it at the afternoon on the 25th!!! That was a day later than scheduled! Seems he got the days wrong after I reminded him. I also asked about the paperwork redo as all the documents had the old delivery date. He assured me it was all taken care of and I could sign the new papers when I took delivery.

The day had finally come! Even though I was at my wits end with Tesla, I was still excited after watching several videos of the delivery experience (even those at my delivery center in Austin). I was excited to get a good demo of all the features and see my new car in person. I saw from these videos how everyone congratulated you on your purchase, spent time getting you familiar with the car, surprised you with a few Tesla goodies and all that I would expect from a car in this tier. Well, it seems that has changed with the Model 3 dominating the delivery centers. I arrived at my designated appointment time at the delivery center. I walked up to the young lady at the center desk. The greeting was cold and underwhelming. She asked for my name, looked for my folder and said my product person was with another customer and that I could wait "back there" as she pointed to what seemed to be a waiting area on the other side of the wall. She said there was coffee and water if I needed it "back there".

I walked back and grabbed a water. The waiting room was not very clean and very minimalistic with a few chairs (one ripped) and a TV. I had been running errands prior to this so I went to use the restroom. I have seen highway gas stations with better facilities. I was there for about 15-20 minutes when I nice man came back to introduce himself. He asked if I was here for a "3" and I told him the "S". I thought it strange if this guy was my product specialist. However, after a brief conversation, I learned he was the sales guy for the Tesla Solar products and was just trying to earn a living trolling the auto customers while they are waiting. Finally, about another 10 minutes passed before a young lady came and introduced herself. She asked if I was ready to see my car. Finally!

I was thrilled to see my new ride! The young lady took me around the car and some guy following her around. Perhaps, he was a trainee or supervisor. It was hard to tell as he was quiet most of the time. I noticed right away that they had not updated the temporary tags to the new date of pick up because they had the 13th as the expiration date. We will see how that works out later. As she was demonstrating the various exterior features like the lift gate and "frunk" with the key fob (I was informed that there was only 1 fob today). They didn't know what happened to the other one but notated it on my account. When she had trouble opening and closing the "frunk", she admitted she was a Model 3 expert, not an S, so there was that. I also noticed that there were no floor mats, no "Tesla goodies" as I had seen in earlier videos as late as this past spring at this service center, and no adapters for my mobile connector cable? I inquired about this as I was less concerned about the other things and she sent her shadow to find them.

I finally got inside the car and she asked me if I had watched the series of 3 short videos familiarizing myself with the high-level features and the delivery video. I said I had, and she spent the next few minutes getting the charging adapters. She handed me one and said that was all they could find and that I could request a service ticket to get anything missing? How am I supposed to know more than her about what is missing? Turns out she gave me a 110v adapter that only fits in a water softener outlet or old AC plug. After that she said if I don't have any questions, I can drive off anytime I want??? I reminded her that I had not signed one piece of paperwork yet and that they were all to be updated with the correct pick up date. She seemed surprised and ran off to call the "paperwork guy". While they left to get this guy, the lights went off in the building! I was the only one there, it was after 7PM at this point and I am thinking "Crap! I am locked in here! They forgot about me!". I ran out of the service bay and saw two guys talking and before I could say anything, my product specialist and the paperwork guy came around the corner. I was a bit miffed about the entire evening at this point and after I educated the paperwork guy on all the forms for said property tax exemptions above, I just wanted to leave.

By the way, I did have to put that ticket in and drive back to the dealer the next day to get the correct plug. After the 2nd day of owning the car, I decided to take the family out for dinner at the nearby mall after work. After all, I could try out the new charging while you eat experience there. That is when I found out the hard way that I was also missing another adapter to use with non-Tesla charging stations. I also noticed the molding seal around the rear passenger window was already coming loose, so had to take it back in this past week.

I have rambled about my personal story long enough to make a point. Would you expect this out of any other car in the luxury market? Would you expect it at any price point? The rush to get the everyday EV that is the Model 3 out, Tesla forgot that the car that built the brand after the short prototype roadster, and its customers were going to pay the price for rapid growth without an end to end strategy. If you just take the entire journey map and walk through every model's customer experience at each touchpoint, you would be able to get this right (And I did tweet this out to Mr. Musk and Tesla as well).

I hope that Tesla and Mr. Musk can get this fixed. With all the new EV's entering the market by established car brands (see Jaguar iPace, Porsche Taycan - former Mission E, and Audi e-Tron to name a few), they had better. I love what Tesla's mission stands for and I love the car. But without a good CX strategy starting with segmentation and journey mapping from the beginning to the end. that mission at least for the auto division, could be in jeopardy. I am sure I am not unique in my experience and am sure I will get plenty of die hard loyal Tesla fans and owners all over this post. It is not meant to be negative just to be so. It is meant to hopefully help Tesla executives to make changes and learn from their growing pains. I run a company myself, and know we don't do things right all the time either. I do welcome feedback on our company from customer all the time. It is critical to change.

Update: Car is great and I love driving it. Hope that things improve greatly when I am ready for my next round of Tesla.
 
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Reactions: firewire

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
6,930
13,066
California
That's quite the bit of prose.

Glad the car is in good shape and you're loving it. People have had way (way) worse experiences. Delivery logistics are a complete circus right now and I think they will be for the foreseeable future as Tesla tries to turn into a big boy company.

One final point, you said "Would you expect this out of any other car in the luxury market?".

The answer is of course no, certainly not. But you'll be far happier if you stop thinking of Tesla as a luxury brand right now. Tesla is like Apple, not Louis Vuitton. High tech, high price? Yes. Luxury? Absolutely not. Your experiences with Tesla right now are going to be far more like iPhone launch days from 7 years ago vs anything you could reasonably assign the "luxury" description to. You should make peace with that as soon as possible.
 

pedriscoll

Active Member
May 30, 2015
370
209
Indianapolis, Indiana
I tend to agree with Big4Blue. I purchased my first Model S in 2015. There was no Service Center in Indianapolis then so the car was dropped off at my home. I then went to the Tesla store where they did give me a good orientation to the car and presented me with some Tesla swag. The online purchasing process was flawless.

I traded that car in for an inventory 2018 100D. This time the whole process was full of delays and errors on Tesla’s part. On delivery day we too had to wait in a sparse waiting room. We signed the paperwork, after some of it had to be redone, and then had a fairly cursory orientation. Had I not been a prior owner, this would have been insufficient. Very underwhelming experience for the purchase of a $100k car. My original experience in 2015 was much better. The 100D is awesome, though.

I understand that Tesla is being stretched thin to deliver all the Model 3’s. However, those new owners are spending close to $60,000 or more. I don’t know that they will appreciate this half baked delivery process.
 

Big4Blue

New to the Tesla family. SP100D
Sep 9, 2018
13
4
Austin
That's quite the bit of prose.

Glad the car is in good shape and you're loving it. People have had way (way) worse experiences. Delivery logistics are a complete circus right now and I think they will be for the foreseeable future as Tesla tries to turn into a big boy company.

One final point, you said "Would you expect this out of any other car in the luxury market?".

The answer is of course no, certainly not. But you'll be far happier if you stop thinking of Tesla as a luxury brand right now. Tesla is like Apple, not Louis Vuitton. High tech, high price? Yes. Luxury? Absolutely not. Your experiences with Tesla right now are going to be far more like iPhone launch days from 7 years ago vs anything you could reasonably assign the "luxury" description to. You should make peace with that as soon as possible.

Thanks, perhaps you are right, but regardless, if you spend a $100K plus on a car, you deserve and expect better regardless of the company. Sure, Apple gets "overrated" on service all the time, but the phone and electronics industry (of which I worked in for 25 years) is much different than the automotive market. It is the 2nd most expensive purchase outside a home for many and should be treated as such. Appreciate the feeback.
 

Big4Blue

New to the Tesla family. SP100D
Sep 9, 2018
13
4
Austin
I tend to agree with Big4Blue. I purchased my first Model S in 2015. There was no Service Center in Indianapolis then so the car was dropped off at my home. I then went to the Tesla store where they did give me a good orientation to the car and presented me with some Tesla swag. The online purchasing process was flawless.

I traded that car in for an inventory 2018 100D. This time the whole process was full of delays and errors on Tesla’s part. On delivery day we too had to wait in a sparse waiting room. We signed the paperwork, after some of it had to be redone, and then had a fairly cursory orientation. Had I not been a prior owner, this would have been insufficient. Very underwhelming experience for the purchase of a $100k car. My original experience in 2015 was much better. The 100D is awesome, though.

I understand that Tesla is being stretched thin to deliver all the Model 3’s. However, those new owners are spending close to $60,000 or more. I don’t know that they will appreciate this half baked delivery process.

Thanks. Mine was a new inventory model as well. The purchase process as not fun and delivery and communication was not good. I am still waiting on my 2nd key and no mention of any "swag" to this point. I guess I am to be lucky to have a my car at all to them.
 

Big4Blue

New to the Tesla family. SP100D
Sep 9, 2018
13
4
Austin
Thanks. Mine was a new inventory model as well. The purchase process as not fun and delivery and communication was not good. I am still waiting on my 2nd key and no mention of any "swag" to this point. I guess I am to be lucky to have a my car at all to them.

And I just moved to Austin from Indy. I remember the Tesla Store at the Fashion Mall. It was near my office off 96th.
 

whitex

Well-Known Member
Sep 30, 2015
6,705
8,048
Seattle area, WA
She handed me one and said that was all they could find and that I could request a service ticket to get anything missing? How am I supposed to know more than her about what is missing? Turns out she gave me a 110v adapter that only fits in a water softener outlet or old AC plug. After that she said if I don't have any questions, I can drive off anytime I want??? I reminded her that I had not signed one piece of paperwork yet and that they were all to be updated with the correct pick up date.
Ah, that's where you went wring, Should have just driven off with the car, and see how long before they figure out you didn't pay for it. :pWhen they do, ask them to submit a ticket and you'll get back to them, but tell them their ticket is blocked on the ticket in their system to get you whatever is missing from your car first. Of course you are very understanding and it's ok if they take however long they need to resolve it. ;)
 

Big4Blue

New to the Tesla family. SP100D
Sep 9, 2018
13
4
Austin
Wondering which threads still the "Escalation" people see. Tesla went to all that trouble to release the PR about it. hmm
 

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