Thank you so much for this information. We’re on a month vacation right in the middle of the estimation date window and are hoping we’ll get the actual date before we leave. If not my hubby wants to cancel half the trip instead just waiting for the next one-MEN. HahaBeing involved in five transactions with Tesla over the last few years, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about the buying process from ordering to delivery. Forum commoners won’t find anything surprising here. So, this is really meant for those new to the process. Knowing about this forum earlier would have saved a lot of anxiety.
About me, car-wise. Since listening to two men debating about Audi’s at the steps of Notre Dame in Paris, France, in the late 90’s, I became a fan and bought my first twin-turbo V6 in 2001. Over the last 20 years, I’ve owned five Audis, four simultaneously. They ranged from performance sedans to SUV’s and yes the “super car.” I was so involved that I eventually participated in R&D with the company.
Fast forward to current day. Bought my first M3 and MY a few years ago and another two M3’s and a MY in the last year. (I have several drivers in my household) Gone are the Audis.
So, not in any type of order, here is what I’ve learned about the buying process from ordering to delivery. Your experience may vary but I’m guessing only slightly.
In a nutshell, it’s a pretty simple process; Order – Wait – Fulfill Tasks – Accept Delivery – Drive Away. Instead of doing it at a dealership and driving away within an hour, you’re doing it in a span of months and sometimes numerous and frustrating months. That’s what you’ll need to do in order to obtain an EV that no one has been able to match. So, until then you’re going to need a bit of patience, luck and some knowledge to get you through the process and I hope I can provide a bit of knowledge especially for the newcomers.
Ordering – Pretty straight-forward. Point-Click-Pay Deposit via credit card-Order-Wait
Dates part 1 – Order Date (OD). The day you clicked the Order button.
Estimated Delivery (ED) The window your order is scheduled to arrive. At the time of this writing and depending on the vehicle, you’ll receive your vehicle in about eight weeks OR at the end of the quarter you ordered in. For example, if you ordered in January you should expect your vehicle towards the end of March. End of the quarter months are Mar-Jun-Sep-Nov. Some situations that will affect delivery times are production delays, refused VIN’s (owners who couldn’t take delivery), vehicles damaged in transit.
Dates part 2 – The ED date is roughly correct upon pressing the Order button. The ED is highly variable as it gets closer to the original delivery window. It’s not uncommon to see seven or more changes in your ED as it gets closer to the delivery window. The best thing I can recommend is to forget that you ordered a Tesla and not look at your app until the month of your ED.
Dates part 3 – When to get excited. I’ve found that once your window becomes a two-week window, it means that it’s getting close. The one-week or less window follows about a week or two after that. That’s when to get really excited because it can happen at any time and once that time comes it’ll be really quick.
Finalizing the Purchase – Before this time, you should have already provided a copy of your driver’s license. Things to keep on hand for the purchase; Proof of Insurance PDF. Tesla will ask you to upload it through the app. Financing. If you’re financing outside of Tesla, make sure you’ve already been pre-approved and that you’ve established a good relationship with your loan representative because they’re the key to getting Tesla to hand over the vehicle.
Got VIN? – So, that day has arrived and your tasks to complete are no longer grayed-out on the app. Work FAST! Finalize that financing by sending a copy of your Motor Vehicle Purchase Agreement (MVPA) to your lender. A PDF of that document can be found by logging into your account on Tesla’s website. This is where your relationship with your loan rep comes into play. If you’ve treated them well, they’ll put everything down to work on getting Tesla that check. Tesla will accept a copy of the check as long as it’s from the bank (obviously) and it has your VIN/RN# on the check. Have your rep also send you a photo of the overnight tracking number. Send that information to the email of the sales center that’s in charge of delivery or receiving.
Rejecting a VIN – From what I’ve experienced, rejecting or not being able to accept a VIN doesn’t move one to the back of the line. The wait can be from a week to four weeks but I’ve never seen it move back to the original time line of eight weeks or more. It depends on what comes off the production line and what has been rejected or not accepted. I’ve seen people get a new VIN days after declining their previous VIN
Got PLAID? – Want to send a down payment or already have the cash on hand? Send a payment through the Tesla app via PLAID. It’s the most convenient way of sending money to them. Tesla will not accept personal checks or credit card as payment. Don’t worry about standing in line at your financial institution to request a cashier’s/certified check. Send money via PLAID from the comfort of your own home.
Barrage of notifications – Once you receive your VIN, you’ll get a barrage of notifications via text, email and automated phone call. I spoke to a live person on one of my transactions. They will remind you to do this and that. They’re canned notifications and you may already be thinking to yourself, “I already did that.” Just pay attention to the notices that apply to your case.
Schedule pick-up/delivery – Once you’ve fulfilled all your tasks, the Schedule will no longer be grayed out and you’ll be able to pick a day and time. I recommend that you pick the earliest time. It’s brighter out and you’ll have time to do your inspections.
I don’t know who determines whether or not they will be delivering or asking you to pick-up. I live five miles from my sales/service center and I’ve had some delivered and I’ve had to pick-up. I never questioned it because of my proximity but if you can, request a pick-up. That way if there are any issues, they can be brought to the attention of an attendant.
The transaction is contact-less and the attendants will NOT help you get into the car as there are instructions posted on how to do that. I’ve found that they MAY help if you’re elderly or not tech savvy. If you’re not tech savvy, I suggest that you bring a companion that is.
If there are build issues, luckily, I’ve never encountered any, an attendant will help you remedy them if it is extremely minor. Otherwise, they will ask you to address issues with the service center. My last transaction involved a damaged windshield which they wanted to fix. They fixed it but unbeknownst to them, I had planned on declining that vehicle once it was repaired just to wait for a replacement vehicle.
Accept Delivery – Oddly, one can’t inspect the interior without reviewing the terms and accepting delivery. This is the only way to get into your vehicle.
Customer Service – Aside from the build quality issues, customer service or a lack thereof, is not their strong suit.
Upon ordering, you receive this welcome email from your Sales Advisor (SA) that gives you the warm fuzzies. I’ve found that the SA can be local from your nearest sales/service center or regional. The regional SA’s are pretty much useless and I sometimes think that they’re not real people. Any inquiries sent to the regional SA end up at your sales/service center and will be addressed by someone there. Find out who that one person is and be courteous and professional with them and hopefully, they’ll be the same with you.
National (phone bank) SA’s that I’ve dealt with are probably the friendliest of the bunch. Apparently, they have information that your local SA’s don’t have like a truer ED. He told me “not to tell anyone” that they have that information.
Don’t be surprise if you get a nasty SA or customer service rep. I encountered one that didn’t want to be bothered. Remember, it’s not you.
Trade-ins – at the middle of the pandemic, Tesla was giving insanely crazy (positive) deals on trade-ins. Getting thousands more than what’s being offered by companies like Carmax, Carvana, etc. were common and many took advantage of that. Now, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Do your best to shop around for the best value that you can get and don’t forget the smaller companies or mom and pop dealerships or even new car dealers not associated with the make that you’d like to sell.
Read your Motor Vehicle Order Agreement (MVOA) – There are some finite details in this agreement which you should received after you press the Order button. It will provide details on not accepting within 3 days, cancellations, changes, etc.
In conclusion – Be patient, get your ducks in a row and don’t check your ED on the Tesla app until you’re in the month of your initial ED. If it comes sooner, and you’ll know via text/phonecall/email, you’ll be more surprised.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to send me a message. Unlike some “advisors”, my input will be free.