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Love the car, but the delivery process is broken.

So received my car last week, and I love it, but wow what a bad delivery experience...wrote it up for a little blog site I contribute to...

http://www.totalhtpc.com/tesla-model-s-review/

Wholly agree with those comments RobertAL...and thanks for the advice PDave, duly noted :)

I think the true measure of Telsa's worth will be weather they have the means and
infrastructure to take these criticisms in hand and make gradual improvements.
I'm not going to measure them on how screwed up the delivery/licensing/communication issues
are right now. But in two months, how have they changed for the better? It takes
months to hire good people and integrate them into a company. Should they have realized
the extent of the complexity earlier and gotten a jump on hiring and developing policies?
Absolutely. But we are where we are and can only really judge them on how conscientiously
they get better.

This kind of feedback, assuming it makes its way to the right people is absolutely crucial
to Tesla's success. It also is more likely to be well received and acted on if it is as free
of hyperbolic emotional content and full of facts as possible. Should you be angry or disappointed
that they failed to live up to their promises? Absolutely, but be aware that the person you
are complaining to may have little control over the situation. The hope is that they convey
the criticism up the line. Yelling at them or declaring this or that the worse ever is only likely
to make them defensive (I'm not saying anyone is doing that, but I can imagine it happening).
By all means if they make no attempt to make things right or if there isn't improvement over time,
then we should get more pointed ;)

* whether, not weather. Although weather is apparently important too.

Good, thorough review. Many of the (real!) issues are things that can be fixed via over-the-air software updates. IMO, leaving some things out was a carefully made decision so that they could ship product and reduce the cash burn. The thing they could *not* do was need to upgrade (recall) the hardware - so the platform is pretty solid (though they made compromises there as well, but their calculations seem to have been OK since the drivers/reviewers overwhelmingly love the car). My review at http://EVTripPlanner.com/review.php

+1 electron

In every interaction with TM staff on issues, I make sure to let them know I am a happy owner, love their car, and that I know TM will do the right thing in the end. Lately the license and inspection issue is getting out of hand, but even there, I don't get mad at anyone, just point out the necessity to upstream the issue so that it is dealt with. With that said, I see regression, not improvement. Two months ago TM seemed to have its Rockville delivery act together. Now they don't know which way is up. Local staff say there are only a couple people in CA handling licensing, and they have a hard time getting answers (although have been very responsive on my issues, no solution yet). The issues around delivery are no further along in the last three months, at least optically and based on staff comments.

Also, what are we to think about the fact that on March 3, no new Superchargers have opened since December 21? There are supposed to be 100 by year end. Subtract 9 open today, and divide by 10 months remaining, that's 9 per month for the rest of the year. What are the chances? They've proven that producing the world's best car can be done, and that it can have much longer range with a Supercharging network, and that they can push volumes to 400 per week. Now TM has to make it all work systematically. I am not betting against Elon and crew, in fact put my money with them, but time is short, and apparently for some people, so is patience. As a reminder for the fanbois here, this is how TM described the Short Hills, NJ store opening:

"our revolutionary retail concept" and "Tesla is redefining the way cars are sold." Really? It is presented as a fully formed and executable plan. So far, not. George Blankenship was part of pioneering the retail strategy at Apple and you can see it in both the product design and marketing approach at Tesla, which are exceptional. However there is a big difference in the sales process, regulatory, and support issues between iPods and cars, and those gaps are widening as delivery volumes increase with little or no progress evident toward overcoming the hurdles. Think the NYT range article was unfair? It was. But it may not be unfair to show a picture of my car being impounded for license and inspection violations, because that's the next step. I already have to appear in court due to Tesla's sales methods. Think the NYT would love that story and a picture of the car in front of the Accomack County Courthouse? I just scanned a copy of my VA moving violation for failure to have an inspection sticker...

There is NO question that TM does not yet know how to deliver cars in its current sales jurisdictions, except maybe the west coast. If you think that's okay, or that youth is a valid excuse, keep defending them. If you think those of us with real issues should shut up or take the thread private, that's your prerogative, but it isn't going to happen.

+2 Electron. Agreed and well put. And thanks cliff.

@Electron +3. You said that much better than I could, so I just erased most of what I planned to post.

@Pungoteague_Dave Living in a state (Texas) where the regulatory climate is fairly hostile to Tesla (I believe the State DMV is run by someone who used to be a dealer), I'm very sensitive to your plight and hope Tesla resolves your issue soon. Tesla is in a tough position, though. While I personally don't believe Tesla should abandon their quest to bypass the typical dealer model, for really tough jurisdictions Tesla should probably have an additional "Are you sure?" dialog pop-up before reservation finalization with some additional expectation setting. The problem is, the ground shifts. For example, Texas used to allow Ranger service, but now that the service centers are open, Ranger service has now been deemed out of bounds. For how long, who knows? It could get fixed tomorrow. I ordered my car even with the many uncertainties (and haven't regretted it a day since), but I think some people might appreciate a choice. In a world where lawyers can figure out tax avoidance strategies like the "Double Irish with a Dutch Sandwich", it would be nice if someone could figure out creative legal loopholes to work around issues in places that are being particularly stubborn. Unfortunately, it is probably going to come down to lawsuits like in Massachusetts before things can get fully worked out. Please keep us posted.

@cfriedberg "Properly inspected (not having this is more than a 'glitch' as its illegal to deliver a car that isn't inspected because you can't register the car properly)"

Minor point, and not living in New York, I don't know what the rule is--perhaps it is different from Texas. However, I don't see how having an inspection could be required for registration. If it were, how could you buy and register a non-working car? In my mind, registration should always come first, and inspection second.

Stephen,
You must be the gent who posted on the review site, I'll say the same thing here I said there (but again, thank you for taking the time to read the full review).

1. You don't live in NY, you admit you have no idea about the regs, yet you make an assertion. Odd no? All you have to do is goto the NY State DMV website and it will tell you that in NY, a) every new car sold needs a proper inspection before being registered and 2) a car cannot be registered in the state without an updated inspection.
2. In terms of a non-working car, I'm not sure I follow, both registration, inspection (and insurance) are required by state law for the car to be driven, and kit cars, as you asserted in the post on the other website, fall under different regulations.

Would it not be better to comment on things of which you know about, rather than speculation? This is how NNT got his well-earned reputation I believe....just sayin'. :)

Wow.

After reading this thread I don't think I am going to bother with clicking on the OP's link.

Captain_Zap - it is a good review and worth reading. The issue is that the delivery process was not was TM promised... and that needs to surface. If we don't voice it TM has no chance to fix it.

I had a picture perfect delivery exceeding my expectations. Howerver I live close to the factory so no stress to the system.

Thanks Kleist!,

btw, for all of you who question whether Tesla delivered a car against state regulations, I point you here: http://www.dmv.ny.gov/vehsafe.htm, where in the answer to the very first question, it states:

"If you buy a vehicle from a NYS dealer, the dealer must have the vehicle inspected. The inspection must occur within 30 days of the date of sale and prior to delivery."

TMS is a NYS dealer.

Now can I go back to enjoying my car?

@cfriedberg Ah, makes sense. I didn't know Tesla got a dealer license in New York. They were unable to do that in Texas (and a number of others). I stand corrected!

cfriedberg,

Actually, TM may not be a NY dealer. At least in MD and VA, they are acting as a CA dealer, using the CA rules to issue temporary CA registrations to customers here. If I understand their model, it is to be a dealer only in CA, and sell direct, with all documentation, signatures, etc., happening over the internet, so no state can regulate their activity. It is pretty smart if it works, but to accomodate customers who don't want or know how to deal with the local licensing requirements, they also act as registration agents, doing this remote with staff in CA.

In MD and Virginia, many new car dealers are online with the state systems, have stocks of plates on hand, so when you leave the dealer, your car has its final tags, and you have the real registration in hand. Most dealers can even handle regional buyers, so when I buy a car in Maryland, they can issue Virginia plates.

Because TM treats their stores as promotional locations and won't take orders there so as to skirt the dealer rules, and can only do deliveries using Delivery Specialists (not salespeople) who roam as non-dealer free agents, they are in a regulatory box - they can't do the basic things that all local dealers can - even taking a stack of registration papers over to the MVA is impossible for them. So yes, this may be out of their hands as Steven says, but it is a direct result of their decision about how to do business - decisions that TM touts as groundbreaking and better than the old dealer model. I wish it were so, and was very hopeful up front. Apparently, however, when we break enough rules, we get our hands slapped, even if the rules are dumb, or just their to protect local business interests.

Right now, all I know is that my wife is afraid to drive the car for groceries tomorrow for fear of 'seeing' officer Simpkins again.

Dave,
According to my local service center, they are :), (I was their first customer, spoke with the location manager and associate for a long time - once they finish building it - yep, wasn't finished when I came by for a small problem, which, while I'd bring up here, I'd probably be flamed for 'fanning the flames' - should be a really neat service center). In fact, while the NYS Dealers Association is suing Tesla for its direct to customer approach, they, again, according to what he told me, are licensed, and also agreed that the car required inspection before being delivered. Now, he could be wrong, and the person on the OE line could be wrong, but I'm going on what those two told me.

Sucks about your registration situation. I'm really surprised Tesla hasn't bent over backwards to fix the problem...while my delivery was screwed up, they have done everything they can to fix what went wrong...

Keep in mind that for every poster here with problems, there are dozens or hundreds of buyers whose delivery experience was at least as positive as TM aims for. This thread is, necessarily, full of loudly squeaking wheels. Hopefully adequate grease will be applied before they break or burst into flames. ;p

@Pungo,
When I picked up my car in Rockville on 2/16 I signed a power of attorney so my DS could file the registration and plates paperwork for me in Maryland. I signed the same form for another car I ordered just a few years ago so the processed looked the same to me. May not be the latest and greatest online system but it is something, of course they still can't issue temporary tags for the state.

Stephan,

I think you were misled. The DS is not allowed to do the Maryland paperwork for a bunch of reasons. Your power of attorney was probably sent to CA along with the other paperwork. I discussed this with Rockville staff on Friday in person and they said all registration processing is done in CA, that it is out of their hands. They were able to research my specific status, and emailed that the paperwork was sent to the DMV, and they are waiting too.

My delivery date was Feb 3, and I have now been driving "illegally" for a month, and have been pulled over 7 times, was ticketed the sixth time, and now must go to court. I am not ballistic. Yet. Some people might not be so charitable, and the delivery process is clearly a clusterf**k.

@pungoteague

Please remember, The Delivery process is messed up in only a few states. Is it Tesla's fault for the rules of your DMV?

@skymaster,
so you are suggesting that if Tesla doesn't follow state laws its the states fault? Just trying to understand what you are suggesting. But that said, is it not the responsibility of every business to conduct its business in accordance with state and federal laws?

I am just suggesting that I am happy that I don't live in VA,MA, or NY.

got it, thanks. :)

cf;
It's clearly the state's fault. Its business is to facilitate the business and welfare of its occupants, not to force them to preferentially deal with a special interest group.

+1 Brian

Tesla is struggling to navigate a regulatory framework specifically designed to keep out
companies just like it. What should we expect to happen? You think there aren't roadblocks
that the bureaucracies are putting up that we aren't hearing about? I guarantee there is
behind the scenes pressure from various groups to slow things down. Just enough to be in
compliance, but make things difficult.

skymaster - if you read other posts on this you will see that it is an issue in many more states. And the local dealers have no problem putting cars on the road with legal tags, so it is clearly a TM procedural dysfunction that has now caused my car to be pulled over 7 times.

I have bought a lot of new cars in several states and have never once been put into jeopardy by the manufacturer. This is clearly and solely on TM, not state regs. I find both the Maryland and Virginia licensing authorities to be very accomodating, and currently have 27 vehicles or trailers registered in those states, without ever having an issue except a clerical typo typo that made the title for one of my VW's read Volvo instead. Spin consipracies all you want, this is TM's issue and they are embarrassed.

we will have to agree to disagree BrianH.

@PD, Okay I was a bit extreme (who doesn't love a good conspiracy?), but the fact is, there
is unnecessary complexity introduced by the various agencies, and the reason other manufacturer's
do well is because they have distributed resources (the dealers, which have legal protection) capable
of focusing on their regional systems. How does Tesla replicate that? Well, they either have regional
resources dedicated to each registration/licensing system (which may not be legal for them without
dealers), or they have a team in CA that does it. I'm guessing they have the latter and that team
is finding it difficult to communicate with agencies out-of-state. So they underestimated how
hard it is.

My question is, why is it so hard? Are Tesla just a) idiots b) backed up so far or c) unable to get satisfaction remotely. Reality is that no one is going to fix the system, so TM will just have to find
a way.

Dave,

Please keep us updated with your situation. I'm in the same boat. I picked up my car from Rockville on Friday and cannot be happier with the car itself. I'm not excited about not having a license plate for up to a month. I live right next to the Mont. County Police HQ, so cruisers are always behind me. I'm not looking forward to being pulled over every other day! The Rockville staff are great and I can definitely feel their pain. They are indeed embarrassed by the MVA problem.

Maybe we can start a twitter campaign to Elon Musk. How can one of your companies manage to launch a rocket to the ISS, but another can't get me a license plate in less than a month?!?!?

Tesla must have quite a product for it to be able to MAKE owners drive around illegally with no plates .. You would think they could get that worked out.

Electron,
You make good points...here is my understanding from the DS who delivered my car and my local service center GM:

1. Delivery is woefully understaffed. Others have noted that the DS's themselves are sometimes up for 48 hours straight, delivering 10 or more cars in a stretch. Bottom line is that no one could keep everything straight being worked like that.
2. This is a result of issues at headquarters in CA - local DS and Service Centers have been relaying the problems back to HQ but additional resources are not forthcoming (this according to my local service center general manager)
3. As an example, given that the Nema 6-50 is part of the standard mobile pack IF you order the HPWC (sorry Stephen, called OE today and they confirmed that), the White Plains center has apparently asked HQ for them for 'months', and at the time of delivery, still didn't get them (my DS had to have a DS from a different area drive one up because he couldn't get ahold of one).

BTW, my DS did note there is a very detailed checklist they/someone is supposed to go through prior to delivery, but again, staffing appears - according to what I was told, again, by my DS, and the local Service Center rep - to be the issue.

Can someone let me know how to change a thread I started to private from public?


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