Letter to George Blankenship

Posted this letter to George Blankenship today. Thoughts?

I am a long-time fan of Tesla with an order in for a P85 (VIN: P17616) due to be delivered on August 22. Let me start by acknowledging what an extraordinary thing you all at Tesla are doing for your customers and the world at large. Thank you.

I am writing today because I noticed that Tesla is now offering the Parking Sensors for $500. I would love to add those to my configuration, but I am seeing in the forums that Tesla is only allowing me to add the sensors if I am willing to reconfigure my order, which would cost me several thousand dollars more than my current $114,453.00. I have already arranged financing for this amount. I have already signed the Tesla purchase agreement. All I want to do is install the parking sensors that you are currently offering.

This seems grossly unreasonable. And, in the past, Tesla seems to have always chosen the reasonable course.

Given Tesla's interest in providing world-class customer service to people willing to spend more than $100,000 on a car, I would hope that Tesla would be more accommodating for those few of us who fall between the cracks and have made a commitment, arranged financing, signed the paperwork, but whose car has not been built or delivered yet. I have to believe that the parking sensors will be available as an aftermarket upgrade sometime in the near future (likely at a higher cost than the $500 Design Center option). I also have to believe that it will be more costly to add the $500 parking sensors as a retrofit, since you will likely need to remove the nose cone and rear numbers, drill some holes and install the sensors. If that is the best you can do, I will wait for the retrofit option. However, this seems like a classless solution being offered by a very classy car company. Is there not a compromise between paying thousands of dollars for reconfiguring the car just to get a $500 feature (A feature that probably should have been part of the Tech Package already) and being forced to wait until the car is completed, then have to bring it all the way back to Tesla, wait for days, and pay extra for the retrofit? This doesn't sound like world-class customer service to me.

The minor cost of accomodating those few of us who are in this situation would seem trivial when compared to the loss of image to the elite Tesla Brand. Or, at the very least, would it not be more indicative of world-class service to offer to install these new options in those cars currently going through their builds for some incremental amount above the current Design Center List Price but below the expected retrofit price. Everyone would be a winner and you would once again be viewed as stepping up to another level of customer service.

I hope you can resolve this. In any event, I remain a big fan and a hope to be happy customer driving my P85 very soon. Thank you again for all that you and your employees do for us.

Warm regards,

Dear Tesla:

Please waive a magic wand and have my Tesla I just purchased two months ago have parking sensors!

My delivery date was scheduled for 19 Aug but was pushed back to 24 Sept because I requested to change my seating to leather and trim to wood gloss!!

My order was confirmed 28 July, VIN: 18314 received 30 July, I made the request to change 1 Aug. DS said it shouldn't be a problem because it was early in the process, until today when I was told that late September would be the earliest now.

This seems like an extremely long delay for a non-technical change. Its not like I'm requesting the parking sensors or anything...

Has anyone else had similar delay for a change after confirming your order? Is there anyone I can talk to about this?

@ Renegade, it's possible some of those materials are currently in short supply. I made a few changes after committing my order, but I'm still on track for 8/15.

@ eAdopter, what bad management experiences are you speaking about? Examples would be helpful. The reason I ask is because every story I've read about Tesla management has been glowing. Indeed, my own requests to Tesla upper management have always been replied to quickly and courteously. I've conversed with Elon Musk as well as Jerome Guillen - both wonderful people. The fact that a customer can talk to the CEO is amazing and shows that the company listens to its customers.

The only person I haven't received a reply from, ever, was George Blankenship. Apparently he is too important to speak with the peons. :)

The delay is probably due to prioritized production of EU cars in the coming weeks.


I spoke with Vaasha Lutchman, the Delivery Specialist who sits right behind Jerome at Tesla HQ. She confirmed a few things for me.

  • Sound package is definitely unchanged functionally - only price has changed.
  • Nappa leather trim option includes door armrest and dash leather. Current shipping P85s already include leather armrests on the front doors, adding this option would make rear door armrests and dash leather.
  • Lighting package is identical to what currently ships with P85, with the addition of puddle lights behind the two front seats (illuminates passenger floor area).
  • New wheel options may be able to add to order without re-pricing vehicle, she is checking w/ Jerome.

Really appreciate the legwork Amped! My P85 is now $600 less than what I had previously built a few weeks ago.

Of course I don't have the "upgraded" stereo but do have parking sensors which I think is a fair tradeoff.

I'll place an order today.

Boy, as an EU customer am I glad the sound system is the same. Big price hike for the same value, though.

hey ampedrealtor what about the S60 and S85, is lighting package the same and leather,

FYI. Miki Sofer | Program Manager, Sales Operations contacted me just now to tell me if I didn't change my configuration then my delivery date of August 24 shouldn't change. She said if I changed my configuration it would only take maybe a week later.

I'm going to speak to someone today via phone to get the exact price difference. So it sounds like for those that reconfigured to add in PDC or something else it won't delay it too much from the original delivery date which is great.

@ dbaskara, I don't know since I have a P85 on order and all comparisons were against that particular model.

@ earlyretirement, the biggest consideration for you is whether any of the new options are worth the re-pricing of the entire vehicle order. I work in real estate sales and very often am asked by a client, "how much should I pay for this house?" My answer almost always is "how badly do you want the house?" My answer here is the same. If you want parking sensors badly enough that it makes sense to pay a few thousand dollars more to re-price your vehicle, then you should do it. No sense in having regrets later on such a big purchase.

In my case, I didn't have to think twice. I would prefer getting the bump in resale value rather than pay the extra money for something I've never used before in my life and never thought that I needed (parking sensors).

@ Amped. Yep. I understand what the biggest consideration is. You're exactly right. For me personally it's worth the few extra grand. I plan to keep the car for many years and I know for me personally I'll regret not getting the PDC. I go to the beach several times a week (10 minutes from my house) and often times it's just parallel parking and I can't tell you how helpful it is. I don't care if you're a great driver..... it makes it so much easier with a bigger car like the MS.

As far as resale value, I don't think about that as much as I plan to keep my car a while but I'd venture to guess that most people would value a car that has PDC much much higher vs. some of the stuff you're talking about.

I look at it as no regrets vs. possible resale value many many years down the road. And again, even then I'd think someone will value PDC much higher than some other things.

Sure, in your situation if you've never used it then you probably won't miss it at all. But I know that many many people use this. This has been in every car I've had for the past many years. Frankly I was always surprised Tesla never had this in the car to begin with.

I'm speaking to someone here that is in a meeting but I'm 99% sure I'll upgrade to add PDC as it's only going to delay the car about a week they said.

Yes, there appears to be quite a bit of pent-up demand for parking sensors :)

It will be interesting to see what the retrofit cost for these options is going to be when it comes out in "a couple of weeks." Will people who have locked in and are now changing their configurations and paying thousands more to get parking sensors get pissed off when the retrofit isn't as much as the difference in their new configuration? Or, to avoid this, will Tesla price the retrofit higher. And if that happens will it be out of reach of those who have previously purchased the car?

The next few weeks will be very interesting to watch what unfolds.


Yep. I totally agree it will be interesting. My feeling is who knows WHEN the retrofit option will be available or it might be one of those things that they say is possible but most likely I see it being one of those things that they will won't worry about too much as they are busy enough as it is.

Although I wasn't happy with the situation at first, I've read many many posts and can appreciate it more from both sides. I feel fortunate that I at least had the option to choose if I wanted to add it vs. many people that just got their cars and didn't get that option.

Plus, it was good to see first hand how responsive the management team is. To have the VP of Sales and Service email me back on a Sunday night was a good feeling.

Plus, I was getting so much wrong information from Tesla before it was confusing. For example, some of the things it sounds like I won't need like the upgraded expanded leather napa trim. It sounds like after hearing the explanation today that this is an upgrade and it wasn't part of the what I saw before. I really don't need this. Plus, in some ways I benefit because I HATED that red piping on the Performance black leather seats. To me that made it look a bit silly having that red piping and I'll be happy to save money eliminating it.

Heck, I think I would have paid $1,000 NOT to have it. LOL. So I'm thrilled that I can remove it now.

They tell me it will only add on 1 to 2 weeks to my original order date. I hope that is accurate. I assume no way it will only add on 1 week but assuming 2 or 3 weeks I can live with that.

Ultimately, even if the PDC retrofit option is less than what I paid which I SERIOUSLY doubt it will be, I won't be upset because I put a value on my time as well with the hassles of getting it retrofitted later. I just can't imagine this will be an affordable solution. Has anything else?

I kind of laugh when I see comments like people saying, "the center console will be a steal if it's less than $1,000". LOL. So no, I don't see the PDC retrofit being less than several thousands of dollars. But if they make it cheaper, I won't be upset and actually I hope it is so more owners can enjoy it.

The minimal yacht floor is $800. For a piece of plastic that sits there.

So a whole new paint-matched front fender, a whole new paint-matched rear fender, precision machinery to drill the holes in each, the actual sensors themselves, the labor for it all and integration into the system I think you're looking at $5000 - minimum.

I would assume they want to discourage as many people as possible from doing it which I think is indicative of how they have presented the option to those with existing reservations. Combine that with the fact that their official statement is that they intend to offer a retrofit but that it will be expensive should frighten everybody off. If Tesla is telling you something is expensive, watch out!

Fender = bumper

In my younger days, I drove all kinds of clunkers with no power steering, no power brakes, stick shift. I used to parallel park on a slop in case the battery went bad overnight. Then. I could let the car roll and then drop the clutch to start the engine. Yes, I enjoy the comforts of life and it would be nice to have PDC. However, in a few years I will upgrade to a Model S or X. Tesla will have AWD, PDC, smart cruise, lane assist and even 500 mile battery.

Even if I was not upgrading, I do not think the extra 5-8k is worth. If Tesla offers PDC retrofit at a reasonable price iI may consider it. Meanwhile, the 85P/Pano/loaded it fun to drive. I enjoy it better than my Porsche. At least now. When the weather cools, I will drop the top down on the Porsche and that should be fun.

I am driver/owner of P85 #7105 (delivered March 22, 2013) and I would have very much liked to get the parking sensors even as a retrofit; but the Factory Service Center in Fremont is suggesting the parking sensors option is not available as a retrofit (not even for a price premium). Even if it is technically possible; I'm sure the factory service center is very busy preparing new cars for delivery (that is part their business as well as servicing the vehicles previously delivered).
Although I am not thrilled about the answer about the retrofit, I am still very happy with my decision to be an early adopter of the car and happy as well to find the factory and factory service center very busy churning out new cars. Perhpas some day the factory service center will be rammped up enough to handle all such requests.

I have a 2009 Roadster and am so angry that George didn't personally call me last Saturday to tell me about the parking sensors. [sarcasm]

There are so many babies on this forum; am surprised you know how to type at such a young age!

Amped - Latest I just read is that the $2500 stereo is all different components. I think the jury is still out on this one!

Let's look at this a little differently...

The parking sensor option is not just $500. It's actually $4,000 because in order to get the parking sensors, you must also get the $3,500 tech package. So if all you wanted to do was add parking sensors to your base config, it would cost you an extra $4,000 today on a brand new order (not $500). If we look at it that way, it sets better expectations about the price of the retrofit. I would expect any retrofit to be in the $3,000-$4,000 range.

Sign me in my RN895423. I still on the period of changes/confirmation, I think is fair if we can add some new options. My car is not in production yet, delivery in two months. Ready to click Ok this week but I'm waiting for Tesla to address our petition.

It's been addressed by the top brass at Tesla. It's all over this thread. Not gonna happen.

@TDurden | AUGUST 5, 2013
I have a 2009 Roadster and am so angry that George didn't personally call me last Saturday to tell me about the parking sensors. [sarcasm]

There are so many babies on this forum; am surprised you know how to type at such a young age!"

I agree. Just buy the car and enjoy it. or dont buy the car.

@GReese +1 :)


Re: safety and parking sensors, my intuition is that safety is the reason why they cost only $500 for new cars. With the pricing established by the other options ($1500 for a spoiler, $2500 for leather dash and door armrests...), $500 for PDC is a great bargain. I'd guess that Elon et al wanted to make it an accessible option so that more people would get it so that the world would be a safer place for pets, children, and Model S fenders. :)

(and yes, I understand that the Tech package is required, but that seems like an actual hardware requirement for wiring and such that enables the sensors to be installed)

I just re ordered my tesla and have decided to pay more. Mine was in production. Reading all of this talk about parking sensors made me realize what a waste of time it is to think about these options. So I also added the other options to make myself feel better about spending an extra 7500 for parking. This way I also added some lighting and more leather. I feel better!! After all, Life is too short not to get what you want...

"it's still e-ink on e-paper in BMW's database and nothing has left the building - BMW announces a new set of options and prices. You really only want to add one of the new options without changing anything else about your order, but BMW says that in order to add the new $500 option they would have to re-price your entire vehicle -"

I said ordered. That's exactly the example I used. I would expect them to say you can't do it at all.
Once you've ordered a car that will arrive in six weeks, you just try to change it. They will smile, and nod, and be all sympathetic and say no.

Well part of the Venture in to this CAR , is that the CAR should get better with time due to áll software up dates and its obvius that the parking sensor is a software plus a few sensor ! So us that we received our cars this week is quite the disappointment to know that i cant have the fog lights and the parking sensor which both are safety ítems that usually are included in any Luxury CAR , come on tesla you have done so well so far why disapoint your faithfull customers?
Please arrange for the apropiate solutions my vin 9317

I got an email from Jerome informing me that under no circumstance will any discount of any kind be offered. He did move up my production (actually, he had Miki Sofer do it) by one week to ensure delivery before the end of the month meaning I should see a confirmation to delivery time frame of under 28 days.
I ordered a grey on grey S85 with Pano roof, 21's and all options except extended leather, twin charger and rear spoiler (standard leather seats).
I guess Tesla knows that even though I spent $4k more and DELETED twin charger from my previous reservation, I still got fog lights, sensors and winter package which is $1750 just for those goodies. They know and now I know that retrofitting just the parking sensors will likely cost $3k-$4k alone which is why they won't budge. In the end, I'm likely getting a deal (I never thought I'd find myself saying that).
All's well that ends well (I guess). By the way, Blankenship is in China so don't expect a response Amy time soon.

For all the people upset about this, what exactly did you lose? You have the option to keep your existing configuration at the existing price, which presumably you were already happy with if Tesla had never offered the new options. Or, as an entirely new option, you can choose to reconfigure your order and pay more and get the new options.

How is having the same option you were happy with, plus another option you can refuse, any harm to you?

I know everybody wants the most stuff for the cheapest price, but still...

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