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So, What exactly is the value of a Signature Model S?

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by AnOutsider, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Disclaimer: This post may have varying degrees of negative opinions of Tesla. If you're not down for that, it may be better to skip this post. I also don't intend this post to force a line between P and S reservation holders. Everyone made their reservation based on what made sense to them at the time. I'm simply trying to get a grasp on what value there is for the ones who opted to pay more.

    Now, I don't mean value as in cost, as we know that. I mean, what value does it provide its owners? For those who may not know, the Signature reservation holders were required to put down $40,000 vs the $5,000 for normal production reservations. We pay a premium over a similarly configured car, while we also get a reduced list of options when it comes to paint color.

    I believe all sig owners thought, at the time of reservation, there would be something of value here. Here's some of what was conveyed and/or assumed:


    • Almost fully loaded: True. The only things we're missing are the pano roof and rear seats... Though, we pay more than those options would have cost anyway.
    • Earlier delivery: Well, we SORT of got that, though I think my P# would likely have come a month or less behind my S#. (and I can't deny it IS a bit frustrating to get your car after someone who reserved 6 months ago whilst you've been waiting 3.5 years).
    • Exclusive Options: We got red paint and white leather. That's it. If you didn't want red paint or white leather, well... tough.
    • Signature Badging: We had it on the dash (above the glovebox), on the door sills and on the rear in earlier vehicles. Now, I believe there's the faintest of etchings on the silver strip on the trunk and on the turn signals. You also get it on the screen behind the steering wheel.
    • Exclusive Events: After the October tour, it was mentioned there would be more events (at the factory and otherwise) for signature holders. I believe the Model X event was sig holders only, but I'm not sure, and outside of that, nothing.
    • Perks: Who didn't expect SOME perks?
      • We get 1 year free 3G data. This is good, but we don't really know what the value of this is going forward.
      • So far, nothing else is known.

    So far, I'd say the sig tax has not been worth it (nor has the 40k loan to Tesla), and with the above remaining constant, it's a sure thing I'd cancel my X reservation. However, here are some things that I personally think Tesla can do to offset this and earn back some good will:



    • Free Satellite Radio: Include at LEAST a year. Every car I've ever bought that came with Sat radio has come with at least a 3 month trial (6 in one case). I think every model S should come with at least 2-3 months. According to dadaelus, the SIG owners don't even get that. Psh, we deserve at least a year paid. (granted, with internet radio and free 3G, the case could be made that's a good substitute, but that depends on cell coverage which is spottier than sat radio, and Tesla has not yet implemented all the streaming apps).
    • Include the prepaid maintenance plan: 4 years of free maintenance (including Ranger visits) would pretty much seal the deal IMO.
    • Swag!: During the early days of the wait, Tesla sent out a few swag items. I'm the proud owner of a nice gift pack and a lead-painted model Roadster. As silly as it sounds, those items, during the long, dark days, really helped to keep the spirits up about what the future would bring. With over 13k reservation holders now, that definitely seems a bit much to tackle, but there are a more manageable number of sigs...
    • Insider stuff: Give us early access to new features, newsletters, tidbits. Communicate with us! Just show us you frickin appreciate what we did to keep your pockets lined!

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    Would I trade all the current known benefits for the price difference? Assuming I was already interested in the 85kWh battery and other options....Hells yes. Why? I think the badging is super cool and will allow the vehicle to hold a higher resale value because of it (my guess is that it will hold up enough overtime to account for the delta sans interest or investment opportunities).

    But I'm getting the 60kWh battery so not sure my opinion holds much weight.
     
  3. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    So you'd pay 3-5k extra for badging in 3 locations (2 of which are barely visible)? If they'd kept the door sills, I might have said its worth an extra 1-1.5 -- more if the other badging looked more substantial than quick laser etching at "all things remembered".
     
  4. donauker

    donauker Member

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    It certainly doesn't appear to have been the case with the Roadster and they had the plaque with all the signatures and the number X of 100. Limited production vehicle and much more exclusive and no apparent extra value at this time. Could change in the future I guess.
     
  5. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    Definitely worth it. I feel I am playing a, minor, role in history!
    I am supporting a small start up company that is doing what the 'big boys' were unable or unwilling to do.
    I am helping support Tesla in their ultimate goal of producing economical electric cars.
    Since I have the funds, I feel it is my duty to my country, the people it it, and the generations that will follow to minimize my personal contribution to our federal financial deficit as well as our environment.
    I am PROUD to be helping, in a minor way, usher in the age of vehicle electrification.

    Oh, and for all this I get a really cool car:)
     
  6. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    I think getting a sig may be worthwhile if you are say Jason Calcanis and will have had your car 3+ months before general production...

    For me, I cancelled my sig a few weeks ago once it was time to lock in, I know at the very last minute... It just didn't seem worth it (I was not getting red paint, or white leather) I like you kept holding out thinking there may be some kind of unannounced benefit. (like bundled maintenance for 4 years or whatever)

    In my case I'll have saved >8k by not going with a sig. (However if Canadian sigs are rolling around for several months before I have mine I'll probably be disappointed.)
     
  7. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Too true. I think many sigs are. I fear there may come a time when we get the "no, that's it" answer and then everyone will jump on about how we weren't promised anything else, so shouldn't be disappointed yadda yadda. It seems much with Tesla is faith, and then when things don't pan out, it's "well, no one ever said it would".

    ..and yes, delivery during the summer would have actually had some value.
     
  8. teslasguy

    teslasguy MSP P#1117

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    Hey Outsider,
    I hear you. I was going to upgrade to the Sig option quite a while ago but ended up sticking with my P1117 reservation, and now glad I did.
    I was going to upgrade based upon a Tesla rep telling me that if I upgraded and later changed my mind I could switch back to my original P# and not have to go to the end of the P line. However, when I called Tesla hdq. a few days later to actually arrange my extra $35k deposit, I was told that if I later changed my mind I would have to go to the end of the P Line. I explained that I was told by a rep traveling with the Prototype tour car that wasn't the case the rep just said the other rep was wrong. So I just decided to stick with my current number. Interestingly now I know that we live within about an hour of each other and I might be one of those that gets my P car within a month or so of you, so I can understand your frustration. Hey, if I get mine before you get yours, I'll drive out and and take you for a ride! Ok, ok... NOT funny. ;-)
     
  9. mnx

    mnx 2013 P85

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    #9 mnx, Sep 21, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
    Yeah, I've been watching your posts the last few weeks. I hate to say it but I think at this point "No that's it". I had the luxury of being contacted later to finalize than you guys so I could make that assumption with more certainty. I think the conversation I had with my father in law pushed me over the edge. I told him pricing was released in Canada and he asked how much? I sheepishly said starts at 60k, and then told him my car was going to be 118k. His jaw nearly hit the ground. I then calculated that money saved on the sig premium (with a similarly configured car) could buy 5 sets of 21" tires, or electricity for 250,000km! Or put another way: electricity for >80,000km, 2 sets of tires and service for the first 2 years.
     
  10. aviators99

    aviators99 Model S - R140

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    If my decision to buy hadn't been so early, I definitely would have paid the Signature premium---and definitely would have been really upset right now!
     
  11. Adstein

    Adstein Member

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    I too cancelled my sig at the last moment and went back to my original P#. No issues getting my old place in line either. I really wanted the sig to be unique and if so would have stayed with it but red was not my favorite color and I did not want white leather. Went with performance general production and will wait a few more months. I really want Tesla to succeed but could not justify the sig premium and disadvantages.
     
  12. STxTesla

    STxTesla Sig #1278

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    I believe that there is no real value or benefit to having a Signature series. I decided that I wanted the car sooner than April/May of 2013...so I went for the upgrade to Sig. I was hoping that there would be a benefit to having a Sig....but looks like there's really nothing other than early delivery. I reserved a Sig so late in the game....I didn't even get any of the swag.

    I guess the rewarded feeling for being a Sig owner will happen the day that Tesla gets to my house to unload my new Model S.
     
  13. Arnold Panz

    Arnold Panz Model Sig 304, VIN 542

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    AO, thanks for bringing these issues to a discussion in one location. You and I have always been on the same page with most of these issues.

    This is a double-edged sword, because we didn't get the choice to not take any options. This is why it was so surprising to me that they charged a premium to Sig holders, because assuming Tesla makes some profit off each option, they basically double-dipped on their best/most loyal customers who gave them a $40k interest free loan already.

    This was the biggest/only reason I kept my Sig reservation after they announced pricing, and I feel like a dupe for not realizing the s-curve of production. I was really willing to pay the premium (begrudgingly) to jump the line by three months, but for a one month difference it's an absurd premium to be paying. For anyone who came late to the game and jumped the line by 6 months or more, it's totally understandable and potentially a good reason to pay the Sig premium.

    And if you want blue or green or dolphin grey exterior (or grey interior), tough!

    At the event in October, the demo car that Elon drove on stage had a cool-looking "Model S Signature" badge on the back right above the bumper. Wish they had kept that, although I can live without too much garish "I PAID TOO MUCH FOR THIS CAR" type of badging and respect the quest for subtlety in this area.

    I think this is highly unlikely because it will cost Tesla hard dollars that they have to pay to Sirius/XM. In other words, offering us free Satellite Radio will require Tesla to foot the bill. Your suggestions below (free maintenance plan, e.g.) doesn't cost Tesla any "hard" dollars, only lost potential revenue for work to be otherwise done by their own employees.

    No question this would be awesome, but what on earth makes you think that after banging us for the additional Sig premium they're going to take a "loss" on us at the back end by offering this for free? Again, much of it is psychological, but if they had charged us $7500 for the Sig premium and then said "maintenance is free!" that would have probably gone a long way, but I don't think they had this in mind, and I really don't think that they intend to give Sig owners (who they must view as having money to burn anyway and not interested in pinching pennies) any sort of significant monetary breaks.

    Amazingly, this is what has shocked me the most. The fact that we, as Sig holders, have gotten absolutely no special treatment has been a huge miss. These were mostly Tesla's truest of true believers, plunking down $40,000 for a car that we had no guarantee would ever be made, let alone be a great car. For some that's a drop in the bucket, but for others (myself included), it's a huge amount of money. How was that blind faith rewarded? I'm still trying to figure that out, and the worst part is, they took ultra-fan boys like me and, while not exactly turning me against Tesla, put me in the position of exasperated relief as I get near my delivery date, instead of the unbridled joy I should be feeling after 3.5+ years of waiting.

    A lot of this is basic psychology -- why are people who are paying almost six figures for a car complaining about $600/year in maintenance? The same reason high rollers who gamble $500-$1000 or more a hand in Vegas demand free rooms, tickets to shows and free meals for the same cost as one hand of blackjack (and choose their hotel on who provides the best "perks"). BMW bakes the cost of maintenance into the cost of the car and everyone thinks they're getting "free" service! Tesla was probably trying to be different and do things with transparency, but just didn't understand the basic psychology that makes BMW's program so popular.

    The same is true for Sigs -- additional swag, "insider" informational e-mails, free satellite and free maintenance wouldn't make the Sig premium cost effective, but would have psychologically given us all the warm and fuzzies such that we would have felt like we were getting special treatment that made the excess cost worthwhile. It's the difference between thinking with one's heart versus one's head -- as much as existing car companies screw up many things, one thing they understand and get right is how emotions play a HUGE role in car buying, and playing on those emotional factors is something that Tesla has unfortunately not mastered yet.

    - - - Updated - - -

    This was me -- I asked about dropping my Sig after the pricing came out, and they said they would "try" to get me back "near" my old number, but obviously could not guarantee me anything. I basically felt trapped into staying with the Sig reservation, and that was before I understood how little time difference there actually was between when the cars would be delivered.
     
  14. Charged_Up

    Charged_Up Member

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    Although I might quibble with the bennies, I absolutely agree with the above and would only add that the Sig was presented originally as a limited production car with exclusive features that would not be available in general production. Other than a specific shade of red paint and white leather, there appears to be nothing that is exclusive. Agree that Tesla missed the mark with all Sig reservations save those to whom Tesla is a religious experience. For $100k and a 40k deposit years ago, there should have been more attention paid.
     
  15. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Arnold, you 100% reflect my feelings on the matter and put that into words so much better than I -- especially the exasperated relief vs jubilation. Folks ask me when my car is coming now, and I just shrug. I'm really not very excited about it, I just feel like it's a chore/burden that I now just want out the way.
     
  16. Tommy

    Tommy Member

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    To answer the OP's original question:

    If my finances permitted, I would have opted for the Signature. We live in a world of mass production and when an item is produced in limited quantities there is an inherent value imo that a dollar figure cannot be assigned to; I would have loved to be part of that small group of owners.

    If you bought the car with the mind frame of someone buying a limited production, the extra price you paid shouldn't have entered into the thought process; supply and demand dictate a limited production item will command a higher price than a mass produced item. Unfortunately, it seems some of the Signature purchasers have discounted or entirely ignored that one quality of Signature ownership and hence the frustration over the disparity in price between the Sig and general production.
     
  17. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    Cancelled my Sig (354 if I recall) right after pricing was announced for many of the reasons AO noted. I suppose from Tesla's perspective they may cost more to develop (special paint, limited run badges, limited run white interior, etc), but from a customer perspective I never saw much there that justified the cost. At least not for an early reservation holder like AO (or even mine at P2840).

    Now, for a late reservation holder jumping the line by thousands of people had quite a bit of value. I'm not sure what Tesla could do about that though.
     
  18. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    Logical thinking to be sure, but history says otherwise:

    Honestly, if I came across 2 Model S in the future with similar configurations, but one was 5k more and had the signature badging, I'd get the cheaper one. It's not like we have 1200 unique cars in NA. These aren't a real limited production run. The only thing limited is the badging and the paint (leather too I guess). The basic gist of these cars will be produced for years to come (barring Tesla going under, which seems very unlikely). Now, one of only 333 R8 GTs made and shipped to North America? That's a different story. Those are different cars, not the same cars with different badging.
     
  19. Todd Burch

    Todd Burch Electron Pilot

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    I think you sigs will get another bone thrown at you at the supercharger event...but overall I feel bad that you overall didn't receive much special treatment.

    Will Sig cars be worth more? Yes, a little. Did you get some exclusive benefits? Yes. Did they end up being worth the price? No, I don't think so. At least take solace in knowing that you helped finance the force that led the big automakers to an EV future.
     
  20. Beavis

    Beavis Signature 991

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    The fact of the matter is that there are 1,000 people in the US who believe in the value of a Signature reservation and feel good enough about it to put their money down and maintain that reservation. Sorry non-Sigs, your judgements or opinions on this on this really don't matter to Tesla.
     

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