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Would a news article help?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by I'm In Awe, Sep 21, 2012.

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  1. I'm In Awe

    I'm In Awe New Member

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    I love the Model S, and someday anticipate jumping in (next year maybe), but really feel the pain I read about on here. I've been following the forum here and on TM and have put together a story. My focus is to get the attention of George and Elon and get them on your side. Comments welcome.

    Story:

    There is a story to be told regarding the Tesla Motor Company and its reservation holders. There's a lot of anxiety and angst regarding deliveries of these very fine cars. Many reservation holders are not getting communication from the company regarding delivery of their vehicles, how and why the deliveries are occurring, and feel they are being ignored while more stores open and more reservations are being taken. Some have even cancelled or are actively offering their reservation slots.


    Model S Signature Edition cars were sold to (approx) 1200 lucky enthusiasts as early as 3 ½ years ago. The Sig (that's what they commonly refer their status) reservation holders paid $40,000 instead of the $5,000 required now. Many of them are Tesla Roadster owners who believe in the brand. For the $40,000 deposit, they were promised to be placed ahead of the line to receive their EV. Each has a reservation number (from 1 up to 1200). All Model S Sigs were promised to be delivered before the Production Model S are delivered.


    Telsa Motors has a Forum where reservation holders share information regarding the car, updated information gleaned from speaking with different customer service representatives, and lending their opinion to common questions. Going one step further, future owners created their own Forum at teslamotorsclub.com where unrestricted or monitored discussions can happen freely. Going through the forums, it's very evident the future owners are getting increasingly upset, frustrated, and in some cases have given up.


    They all thought the deliveries were going to be in order, but that's where much frustration is being caused. While Tesla has ramped up production, deliveries are slow and very sporadic. Early reservation holders are watching delivery dates come in for reservation number 1000+ yet have no date for many <#300. Just today, a reservation holder #1207 got his delivery notice, but <200 are still waiting by the phone.

    Several issues could be the reasoning:


    1. Batching by the factory: When an automaker has a limited production line they batch at different parts of the production line. Paint can put more bodies out if they painted all red one day, white the next day, and black the next, allowing for their area to produce more. Different interior options could batch by black Interior seating, then tan, etc. Naturally, the production will be out of sequence and VIN numbers have reflected this. SOLUTION: Communicate with the future owners your process, they will understand!!


    2. Batching by deliveries: There are numerous locations to ship vehicles to. So many in the New York area, so many to Florida, so many to Oregon, etc. To be cost effective, shipping on a trailer truck will need 5-9 vehicles per load. While Sig reservation holders sporadically jumped in, it would make sense that reservation #63, 180, 540 and 825 could all be on the same truck. It also would make sense to build these vehicles together to get the full shipment out. SOLUTION: Communicate with owners the delivery will be including other cars with the same destination, they will understand!!


    3. Date the order was finalized: Sig reservation holders were contacted with a finalization order (specify color, interior, trim package, wheels, etc). They had 30 days to complete the order or they would be delayed day for day in the production line. That seems to be inconsistent with the actual deliveries as well. SOLUTION: Communicate where they will be in the production line, they will understand!!!


    4. Defects found by the plant or management that were sent back through the line. SOLUTION: Communicate the delay and assure them the product will be delivered flawless, they will understand!!!!


    The above is only a summation, collectively pulled together by the forum users, because Tesla has not communicated any of this to its earliest customers. Frustration continues to mount as reports come in from those lucky to get their car and post pictures, blog on their experiences, and answer questions of those still waiting. Many blame George Blankenship, Tesla's VP for Sales and Ownership Experience for not answering the multitudes of questions. For many, the only contact point is a Delivery Expert assigned to them (who don't have the access to answer a lot of questions) or a local store Tesla employee, or, the company blog (not much there). Communication within the company is sporadic as well since several perspective owners reported getting differing answers from those employees. Overall, the customer service at the stores is great before you buy, but flat for those already into it and waiting.


    Add to this a service plan that came out recently telling all the owners it will be an additional $600/year (or $1900 for a 4 year plan) that is REQUIRED to be performed by TESLA or the warranty is void (no more backyard mechanics). Add to that Sig #1217 will be delivered around the same time as #105 (kinda depressing for that low number person seeing all those other deliveries). Add that reservation #884 has a VIN ending in 213 (those looking for the resale and prestige of a low-VIN vehicle)! This all equals too much for a lot of the faithful that have anxiously waited. Early Model X (due out in 2014) reservation holders are considering canceling due to their experience waiting for the Model S.


    Tesla reservations have passed 16,000 world-wide for the Model S (according to online users). How many of those were deferred or cancelled due to the customer service and communications issues? How many more will cancel when they find out what the Forum Users already know?


    Tesla, stop peddling your cars in Europe and announcing more stores, and talk to those who will matter the most. Elon, SpaceX only has a couple customers you have to keep happy, but if you want to sell cars, that customer service needs to ramp up more than your production numbers.
     
  2. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Welcome to the forum.
     
  3. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    These are all completely understandable side-effects of a newly-launched vehicle made in a new factory. Similar delays bog down traditional automobile supply chains. It's just that car dealers act as a buffer to the public. If there's a holdup on sunroofs at Audi, for example, they are certainly not going to stop production of non-sunroof vehicles. Since the public is used to buying from existing inventory, they barely notice a glitch like this. Batching makes a lot of sense, particularly in the paint department. If there's a temporary supply shortage of a part used on only certain cars, you can see how some vehicles might be delayed while others move ahead. I don't think it's appropriate for Tesla to be sharing information about every little supply issue that comes into play.

    As a reservation holder, I am quite pleased to hear that cars with defects are being sent back through the line. I'd much rather wait a few more weeks than have a car that isn't as good as it can be.

    Ferrari customers wait 2 to 3 years for a custom-ordered car, especially if it's a newly released model. They've learned that patience is a virtue. With the Model S reservation list at 16,000 , you'd have to think twice before losing your place in line.
     
  4. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    I'm sure most won't agree but I'll put it out there anyway.

    I think for me the key point is the VIN number. If the VIN numbers would respect the Sequence Number of the reservations, then I could waive off the delivery ordering completely. I'd still want better communication but I wouldn't car if Sig 1207 was getting his care before the vast majority of Sig < 1207.

    This is a trivial thing Tesla could (and IMO should) have done that would have cost them nothing in real/non-negligible money or time.

    Instead, they dropped the ball in a completely unnecessary way that hurts their brand and upsets customers.
     
  5. aviators99

    aviators99 Model S - R140

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    When writing articles, one should be careful not to state something as fact when it hasn't been verified as fact. Some of the stuff in your article is factually incorrect, and some of it is generalization, based on anecdote. I agree with your opinion in this piece, but it wouldn't get taken seriously because of the generalizations and errors (there are also several grammar errors, but I won't get into that).

    1) This leads the reader to believe that the signature reservation numbers match the number of signature reservations in existence. There are only 1,000 US signature reservations, and all of the 4 digit signature numbers are US reservations. Remember it's 1,000 US and 200 Canada. The Canada S list is a separate list.

    2) As shown on this forum, most Signature reservation holders were not promised this. The wording actually only says that they will be configured before the production Model S reservation holders, not delivered.

    1) This seems to imply that the Teslamotors.com forum is somehow restricted and that discussion cannot happen freely. I do not think this is the case.

    2) The second sentence is a generalization. *I* am getting increasingly upset, and many others are. You state "the" future owners are getting upset, and that's too general.

    Broad generalization.

    No, the service plan does not tell all of the owners that. By law, it couldn't, and a review of the actual warranty confirms that it is not required that it be performed by Tesla. It merely suggests that you perform it there (very firmly).
     
  6. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    A couple of points:

    1. As Aviator points out, not everyone is as upset or unhappy as the OP implies.
    2. Batching may cause some people to be upset but it makes sense to batch under just about any circumstances.
    3. I believe that VINs are assigned just before the car completes production so batching kinda precludes getting VINs to match reservation positions. I'm sure that someone will argue that this could be done differently but I also doubt that anyone will argue VIN #256 must be worth much more than #681. I'm certain though that anyone with a U.S. Sig will want a VIN # between 1 and 1,000 and that's fair.

    Personally, I'm 100% certain that Tesla isn't picking bingo numbers to decide who gets their car next. I do understand that it's frustrating after waiting so long but I also understand that Tesla is new to mass production, is in the middle of a major ramp up, and that any communication from them will always be a snapshot of a moving target when it comes to my exact car. Sure I'd love to have daily confirmation of where my car is in the queue but I'd rather have them focus on getting my car, and everyone else's, right and out the door.

    It obviously would be possible for Tesla to produce the cars one at a time and to deliver them in exact order with the VIN assigned accordingly. In that scenario, hands up everyone with a reservation number higher than SSL#183 who is willing and happy to delay their delivery until after I get mine....Hmmmm, maybe I should start a poll?
     
  7. kevincwelch

    kevincwelch Active Member

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    Could someone explain to me the VIN issue in a nutshell? Is it that some people with VIN Z are getting their vehicles delivered before VIN A, B and C because of geography?
     
  8. I'm In Awe

    I'm In Awe New Member

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    @aviators, thank you for the corrections. My main point is for Tesla to communicate with their customers. A delay in the line due to a defect could be communicated to the future owner as a delay that will be corrected. A knowledge of how the factory is running the builds, even a general and vague explanation, would help. Reservation number is just used for tracking, and to build in that order is, I agree, impossible. But for the amount of future owners on here confused about the process (from what I've seen goes back to July), and the hodge-podge of intel that comes in from different sources, to include rumor, could be better resolved with customer service and feedback. IMHO
     
  9. Mycroft

    Mycroft Life happens

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    If you read Blankenship's post, he states definitively that Tesla service at 12,000 miles or one year is *required* for the warranty to remain valid.

    Blankenship is possibly a genius at designing stores. His management of customer communication leaves a LOT to be desired.
     
  10. I'm In Awe

    I'm In Awe New Member

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    From the freshly published Owners Manual:
    12,000 MILES, OR 12 MONTHS
    whichever comes first
    Maintenance and service must be performed by Tesla-certified technicians.
    Damages or failures caused by maintenance or repairs performed by non-
    Tesla certified technicians are not covered under the warranty.
     
  11. aviators99

    aviators99 Model S - R140

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    What matters is the text in the manufacturer's New Vehicle Limited Warranty handbook that comes with the car. And we know that this requirement is not there, based on people posting the text. This is a good thing for Tesla, as it would be illegal for it to say that.
     
  12. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    You want the VINs to be in order to help wth recall. That's particularly important for Tesla as recalls would be particularly expensive due to the distances from service centers.
     
  13. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Good point, that's obviously why they aren't assigned until the car is well into production.
     
  14. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Really good point.
     
  15. scole04

    scole04 Member

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    I completely agree. Tesla has done well in so many facets of the car making process. Communicating with the reservation holders i feel is still a hurdle to climb.
     
  16. DrDave

    DrDave Member

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    The frame that Elon posted a picture of on Twitter has a VIN, I'm not sure if that's considered early or late in production.
     
  17. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    His tweet said "S/N 396" which sounds much more like "S number" than VIN and if that had been a VIN Tesla would have been much further along.
     
  18. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Yeah. Could be Sequence number too maybe. Either way, they're making process. At least two Texas deliveries this weekend, mine included!
     
  19. DrDave

    DrDave Member

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    I didn't mean to imply 396 was the actual VIN, just that the frame has a VIN. By that stage of production, the vehicle already has its destination determined (99% anyway, barring major problems further down the line).
     
  20. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Where do you see that?
     

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