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Without autopilot, I'm surprised German car sales haven't fallen even more

Discussion in 'Model S' started by calisnow, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    Maybe I've really drunk the Koolaid but I can't understand how there is even a choice now between MBZ/BMW/Audi/Cadillac and Tesla in the minds of car shoppers.

    Imagine you were shopping for an airplane right now - comparing Cessna vs Cirrus. You step in the Cessna and get told by the salesman "We don't have autopilots - you have to steer the airplane by hand during your flights - but check out this high grade leather seat, baby! And listen to that "thunk" of the cockpit door!"

    It's a ludicrous scenario - you couldn't sell an airplane today without a functional autopilot - but it's exactly what we have with $100K automobiles right now.

    My only surprise is that there are some indications of a Model S demand ceiling - every other selling point of an E Class, 5 series, Cadillac, Jaguar or any of the others pales when you get to the part about having to steer the car yourself for hours on end or you will fly off the road.

    The Model S is price competitive with cars down into the $40K range once you add in fuel costs.

    I really don't understand how the Germans are selling anything at all at this point.
     
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  2. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I don't think your comparison to private aircraft holds up. Many pllanes have had some form of autopilot for decades now. In contrast, only a tiny fraction of all automobile drivers have any history or experience being in a car that is to at least some degree driving itself, meaning following a lane on a road without steering input from the driver.
     
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  3. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    Dude you're raining on my parade here. Stop with this logic business ok?
     
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  4. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    Ha ha! The parade continues on. So keep on marching.

    I think we should look at the age banding for S Class, E Class, A8 (maybe A6), 7 Series, as compared to MS/X. I will bet dollars to donuts that we are younger, hipper (and have more insurance-!Fried Green Tomatoes for those not in the know) than the other populations. I find that the older the person I talk to about AP, the more resistant, even scared, they are about a car driving itself. The younger, under 40 crowd, think it's cool. A generalization, I know.

    I'm 58. But I have always been a tech nerd. So bring it on.

    Oh, and it actually is raining up here. Halle-f.ing-lujah!
     
  5. calisnow

    calisnow Active Member

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    You are probably right. FWIW I just turned 39 (sob). I am also something of a tech nerd and have been dreaming of self-driving cars since I was a child. My 34 y/o gf doesn't want to drive anything but a Tesla with autopilot now and hates her Hyundai SUV. But prior to getting the Tesla she saw no need for autopilot and in the first couple weeks of the Tesla she preferred to drive by hand. Fast forward 6 months and she uses autopilot almost 100% of the time on freeways - and complains that she keeps trying to turn autopilot on subconsciously in her Hyundai.

    Even my 71 y/o mother has grown to love autopilot but would never have based a purchase decision on it 6 months ago.

    For a lot of people this must be a feature they think they don't need/want until and unless someone else in their life buys an autopilot Tesla and they get to use it enough that they come to love it.
     
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  6. S4WRXTTCS

    S4WRXTTCS Active Member

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    #6 S4WRXTTCS, Oct 14, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
    They have their own versions of it. Sure they might not be as good with lane-steering, but odds are they are better in other aspects. Plus you get that German quality and feel. I don't mind the interior of the Model S, but it doesn't come close to matching the interior quality of an Audi.

    There is also the proven track-record of German cars versus a new manufacture like Tesla.

    One also has to question the statistics a bit. There is no question Tesla is stealing sales, but people cross shop from a lot of different cars when they get a Tesla. I probably would have gotten a 911 had I not gotten a Tesla Model S. That's not going to come up on any comparison.

    What's really damaging to the Germans is how many staunch loyal customers they are losing to Tesla across the board. It's a lot harder to win a customer back than to keep them. I bailed on Porsche/Audi because they didn't really have anything interesting. Back then I liked the idea of an extremely fast hybrid with limited range electric, but there just wasn't anything that got my attention. All the stuff they had was too expensive, and not all that fast.
     
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  7. WannabeOwner

    WannabeOwner Member

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    All the Tesla stuff is cool ... but unpolished.

    Fit and Finish is impressive, particularly for a new company startup, but not on a par with the top end marques.

    AP is amazing ... but you need to keep your hands on the wheel and your whits about you for the rare moments when it gives up suddenly - even on a route that you drive regularly.

    OTA updates are a nice, modern, solution, and have brought freebie cool upgrades like Summon and Auto Park ... and complete changes of UI, removal of features (deemed critical to some), frustrations and hatred.

    One pedal driving - great fun, but with a bunch of side effects

    If Tesla solve the negative points THEN no one is going to buy the other high-end marques.

    My demos to friends have changed from being able to SO easily impress them - up to the point where they might send Tesla an order without a further thought!! - to, now, pointing out that its a 90% solution and for most of my Richard Bastard mates, who are fastidious about their possessions, they are not going to change - yet. However, people splashing out who would never normally dream of spending that much money on a car are much more easily pleased.

    Just my two-pennyworth.
     
  8. jcaspar

    jcaspar Member

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    I find it surprising too as the current German cars seem positively ancient, being so far behind technologically. And don't get me started on their uninspired, and often just ugly styling. I think it is fear of the unknown. Many people are afraid to try something new and feel safer buying from a longstanding, albeit backwards, manufacturer. This will, and is changing, look at Tesla sales continuing to climb.
     
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  9. AMPd

    AMPd Active Member

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    I used autopilot when I first got the car, but haven't used it in a while, I like driving!
    Sure it's a cool feature and being able to AWE others is fun but if I had a choice between autopilot and saving 3k, I would save the money.
    (Didn't have the option as it was an inventory model)


    I do agree with you though, the model s is an amazing vehicle and I do t understand why anyone with a garage would choose anything other than the model S, it's a beast of a car!
     
  10. EVCarGUy

    EVCarGUy Member

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    I always hear it's because a Tesla can't run at 150mph on the Autobahn for 200mlies like a high end Audi, BMW, or Merc.

    Of course, _every_ German driver _always_ takes 200mile journeys at a constant 150mph on the Autobahns. Or, at least that's what the BWM, Audi, and Merc folks keep telling me when they piss on my Tesla.
     
  11. Hugh Mannity

    Hugh Mannity Mediocre Member

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    Ha ha that's not true. Have driven on the Autobahn several times and doing 150mph for hours on end just doesn't happen. There are always "events" that often bring the speeds down.

    And yeah whenever I see a Merc, BMW or Audi I say to myself, "what a shame they could have bought a Tesla"
     
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  12. Gig103

    Gig103 Member

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    I would argue that they are not really "so far behind technologically". True, nobody else has Tesla's ability (desire? both?) to push software updates or autosteer (a few might have auto-park, I'm not sure), but have you been to an Audi dealership lately? Their newer MMI system is quite nice. A not-so-flashy display but very capable with a cellular connection, plenty of media options, and the instrument cluster is now a large display like in the MS, which can show map, media, bluetooth, etc. The "Prestige" packages include driver aids, and apparently the 2017 A4s will have a HUD option, which I think is cool! Also, Audi maintains some physical manipulation (favorites, knobs, etc) that don't require you to divert your attention from the road.

    My point is, the traditional auto manufacturers are playing catch-up with Tesla. I think Infiniti/Nissan's "bird's eye view" for parking is fantastic, too.
     
  13. Just a Reader

    Just a Reader Member

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    I suppose it doesn't take 150 mph to drain the Tesla's battery pretty fast. How far can it go while cruising at 90 mph? Some people don't consider it as an attractive idea to kick their heels at a truck stop waiting for the car to charge while the one who is driving an ICE is already at home. Edmunds.com tested their long-term Model X against their Toyota Mirai and even the Mirai was considerably faster than the Tesla on a long distance trip.
     
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  14. Chopr147

    Chopr147 Active Member

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    I am one of those consumers that was looking into a BMW 535i. Not a direct competitor but.........
    Once I test drove the Tesla the decision was final! I so totally forgot about the BMW and loving every drive in my S :)
    BMW has a nicer interior, other than that I cannot think of one advantage.
    And now when i see a Mercedes, BMW, audi etc........I wonder why would someone buy that when they have the money for a Tesla
     
  15. whitex

    whitex Member

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    #15 whitex, Oct 16, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
    Auto-pilot in its current incarnation is not the killer feature, especially for Germans. For one, it is limited to 90mph. Two, it works really well 99% of the time, but when it fails it causes expensive damage to the car and/or hurts or kills the driver. It takes more mental effort and attention to safely drive with AP than without - like driving with a student driver who occasionally has epilepsy attacks. It has other quirks, like driving in the center of the lane and/or through whichever path most other Tesla's drove that stretch, which is great most times except when driving in or after heavy rain it tends to drive in grooves that are now filled with water, causing the car to hydroplane. In its current state AP is good for stop and go traffic and with recent 8.0 only on well marked (or maybe travelled by other Teslas) roads - I discovered that recently when on a side road with no lane markings on the side where AP started steering into the ditch with 1 wheel.

    Don't get me wrong, Tesla is an amazing car, just not for everybody. Best example: if you have to use a supercharger daily to complete your regular driving and the supercharger is 20+ miles out of your way (so adds at least 45 minutes of driving plus charging time, more in heavy traffic in big cities)- I discovered that one when visiting my parents who live a bit far from places and when using my 85KWh battery I found myself a little limited - in the winter it would be even worse. Things like OTA changing features like disabling air suspension lowering in the past, or media player becoming useless recently are annoying at least. Windshield defroster turned froster that recently surprised me resulting in a dangerous situation on the road are a concerning beyond just annoyance. Then there are the missing conveniences, like cup-holders, roof handles (which some people simply cannot live without as it hurts their back getting in/out of the car without one), or things like 360 vision for parking, HUD display, car-phone integration, etc. Yes, you could argue you don't care about those, but some people do care, when you take away the acceleration, the rest of the Model S is not as impressive when comparing to other cars in the same price range. Model X fares even worse with its rather impractical doors (slow and unreliable, plus no actual door handles) and same or less interior space than Model S. Bottom line, great car for car enthusiast willing to put up with all that in the name of process (like me) but really not great for everybody.
     
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  16. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    Please do not be ageist. I am 71. Some time back I recall the average age of non-intro-level Ferrari buyers was 64. I'll wager S-class and 7-series are similar. The distributions, as I recall, tend to be tri-model. One cohort is >65, the largest one, another is <40 and are professionals, the third is 50-65 also professional. I recall that motivations and habits differed considerably. Tesla has an entirely unprecedented category, exemplified best by a recent clip in a news magazine stating that more than 60% of silicon valley senior execs have Teslas. Zero question, the nerds among us, regardless of age, politics or anything else, gravitate towards nerdy products. What is more nerdy than a Tesla?
     
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  17. doubleohwhat

    doubleohwhat Member

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    Honestly, not everyone wants autopilot. It's very useful for people who travel a lot or who have commutes on roads where AP is usable. For me, 99% of my driving is on roads where AP is not useful. So I didn't get it. After having a Tesla for a few weeks now, I don't regret that decision. I've only been a on a road where I could play with AP once and it was for five minutes. After the 30-day trial is up, I won't miss the feature.

    Also, the fit and finish on Teslas are good but not great. BMW and Mercedes still have them beat there. Teslas also lack a few features that are mostly standard on other high end cars. For example, I switched to a Tesla from a BMW 550i and I miss the roof handles, the phone integration (email, text, etc), media player (handled local music very well), side-view/wheel well cameras and the standard audio that didn't suck.

    For me, the Tesla still wins hands down. However, I can see how people who don't care about auto-pilot might still be on the fence.
     
  18. csphili

    csphili Member

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    I didn't understand how there was even a choice two or three years ago. The gap has only grown.

    But people like different things.
     
  19. whitex

    whitex Member

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    Of course it has grown. Whenever a new choice is introduced, it's market share can only go up (since it starts with 0%).
     

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