Join The Community

The Big Picture

There were some angry comments posted about the recent preview of the Design Studio at the TM store along side some factory-painted betas.

I'm personally a strong advocate of improving the interior (especially console), and feel great disappointment that little has changed. But I also believe a horse never runs faster if you beat it up.

In our world today, TM is the focus of hope for the transition to EVs that outperform gas, and are beautiful enough to love. Because this is our best horse, whenever it stumbles, our voices need to make things better, not worse. Hitting the horse when it struggles is not as productive as constructive suggestions.

So here's my shot:

Gross observation: It's about 90 days to scheduled delivery, and we're seeing repainted hand-built beta cars. That suggests they'll need more time.

Now personally, even though I want to get mine yesterday, I'm also a realist. I run a hi tech manufacturer, and routinely see how amazingly hard it is to birth a new product, particularly if you have very high standards. Apple just shipped a revision to their iPad, after they made 50 million of them. Apple has 60,000 employees and 100 billion in cash, and yet at the end of the presentation, Tim Cook made a point to thank all the people who worked nights and weekends to make it happen. This stuff is hard.

To do something great is not easy. To get all the tools, parts, performance, finishes, and software to the level that you're proud to ship it is very very tough. And cars are about as mind-numbingly complex of a consumer product as they come (jetliners are worse, but consumers don't buy them).

For something this complex, in my view you'd need at least 90 days from when you see the first production tooled sample to first customer shipment. And that's if you're a very aggressive crack team, and lucky enough to dodge any major bugs. There's simply a massive number of details to debug and get right.

To shove it out the door without sufficient debug is pointless. Look at the drubbing Fisker just took for making that mistake.

So here we are after months of silence, and other than fit and finish, it appears that interior design improvements will not be made after all. Wow, look at the swift and brutal commentary on these forums.

Why this happens is simple. The emotional investment and the hopes we all have run so high here, you get hammered if there is a skew between expectations and delivery.

So I have two pieces of advice to reduce grief and get more done:

1. To us customers, when TM struggles, vent with an aim to toward helping them get it right, rather than bashing their shortcomings. Be realistic, these guys are human just like us.

2. To TM, manage expectations intelligently. When you know something is not going to happen, speak up.

It would have been easy to post comments to steer folks interior expectations on the forums toward the practical, but you didn't. That was a needless hit to consumer confidence.

Now as production approaches, be transparent. Lay out the major milestones, and report as you get them done. By cluing customers in to the process, their expectations will stay in step with what's reasonable, and you dodge the violent reaction to discovering a big skew.

There were comments about production-tooled samples in April. That would be a great first step. Hitting end of July is at least plausible if April happens. If it gets delayed, explain what that means for July delivery so folks have the right expectation.

Elon, what you are doing is noble and hard. Put the struggle in the sunlight and folks will stand by you. Trust is everything.

Very nicely done Mark.

I wonder if some of the silence is related to the fact that Tesla Motors is now a publicly traded company and therefor adds to the frustration?

BYT - Perhaps, but we're not in a quiet period before an offering.

There are no SEC rules about public statements regarding product (vs. financial data).

I think it's more that there are just a hell of a lot moving pieces in getting it launched, and they can't think of every customer phobia in real time.

Hopefully a philosophy of earnest transparency absolves them of some of the pitfalls with typical customer anxiety before they hit their steady state production.

Fear of the unknown is usually much worse than the actual facts.

Just press on. No one can argue with performance.

It's not about customer phobia. It's about some really basic interior flaws that were pointed out long ago and which, despite tesla's endless hints that improvements are coming!, never arrived. For Pete's sake - you tell everyone you want to appeal to buyers of BMW, Mercedes, Audi et al and you deliver a stunning looking vehicle with unusable cup holder/armrest and no place to put common car items that won't rocket around the cabin in normal driving. Then when potential buyers who have put up hard cash point out shortcomings, you give them mostly lip service (they did after all offer a sunshade because that was a deal breaker for a lot of people in the south) or stonewall or possibly worse, try to play coy in the hope of lowering expectations. If there's a reason things can't be changed, why not just be publicly clear why?

At this point I may have to defer- not because of price but because communication about what has changed or will change for production is basically non existent. And as an early sig holder I'm am certainly disappointed at the sense I get that the company is rushing things out the door to avoid the hit they might take from wall street for any delay. I want to be there early but tesla is making it awfully tough.

The design studio (on the TM website) will be about a month behind schedule. TM may be having problems getting US certification of the model S. I expect deliveries to be behind schedule also. The interior appears to leave a lot to be desired. What a disappointment! Patience is a virtue.

Charged_up, your ambivalence is precisely the problem we all opined about months ago. We want to love it but some can't abide the interior quirks.

I think there will be a fair number of the faithful who'll defer just to see if it sorts out.

That doesn't help TM's startup ramp.

To me, they had it in the bag if their interior was merely on par with an E or a 5. Everything else is so over the top better, that a decent interior would make it a slam-dunk.

TM should have jumped on this last October, but they didn't, so what you see now is what you get.

But they could improve this situation quickly if they fixed the main hole, which is the lack of a center console.
If, when I have to decide, they simply had good CAD renderings of a nicely integrated console add-in, and a ship date for it some months later, that would go a long way to fixing it for me.

I wouldn't blink at paying an extra grand for it either.

TM, I propose you farm it out and get it done. That approach won't derail production focus, which clearly now must be job 1. It also will not bother those customers who actually prefer the empty cabin feel.

TM, read any of these threads, this is as significant and perisitent issue. If you think you see dissonance now, wait till we have to sign on the dotted line. That will show up on the bottom line, and blunt what is otherwise amazing customer momentum.

It's wise to decide on a plan and announce it soon.

@Mark K: +1 on the OP and on your last comment.

I believe there are too many hotheads on these forums. Always something negative to say in the most obnoxious ways. The console could be improved but clearly not a deal breaker for me. Some folks have problems with changes and new ideas. I believe TM is in a place where no car maker have been since the development of the automobile.

We all need to give TM a chance to get things together. The invitation for this weekend event was to see the exact colors of the Signature series. If I am not mistaken, it was not to see the finished interior. So, for forum readers to be up in arms that the console was not changed from previous showings is amazing to me, as that was not the intent of this event. TM should have underlined this point, I guess, but you can't go about underlining every negative assumption each one of us may have.

I just returned home from Santana Row, and I loved the final color reproduction. I had a very difficult time deciding which color I should choose. They were all beautiful. In fact, I believe the colors on the design studio do not do justice to the actual colors on the cars. I met a lot of folks there today who were quite pleased and loved what they saw. Lots of happy people - the silent majority I would assume.

I am willing to take a wait and see attitude. I believe the final product will be awesome. People should just CHILL....Model S will be the nicest looking automobile on the road. I am willing to pay for this innovation.

IMHO a customer at this price point should not have to pay extra for useable storage space comparable to what's standard in a run of the mill car. I like to think positively that a solution will eventually achieved and appreciate the more positive tone of this thread. But a lot of folks will balk at paying an extra $500 to $1000 for basic storage space that is not unreasonable to expect in any car let alone a luxury car. Tesla's eventual solution should not come at added cost.

Cosmomusic, there are some bashers, but there are reasonable folks concerned here too.

At issue was how TM set expectations.

An email went out saying "come see the unveiling of our new design studio".

What folks got was a modest rework of what they'd already seen, while "coming this winter" is running out of days to happen.

What struck the nerve for many was the puffing of expectations, which made the sound of the balloon bursting that much louder.

The authentic part is what you read from the people who are not hotheads, but rational folks who want to see TM succeed.

Mark K.. I agree that many of the comments are due to frustration. I am somewhat frustrated as well, in that it's about time for us to see final product....inside and out. Hopefully, TM will do this soon.

In spite these short comings, we all need to keep an open mind and talk with our pocket books if we are not happy with the final product.The loud noise is a bit irritating.

The VINs 43 & 44 suggest more than just a few hand-built betas have come out. I think these came off the production line.

Rode to a play last night with friends in their mini van. It has no console! It has a small tray against the dash and then flat floor between the seats. This is similar to a different mini van I once owned. Not having a closed storage between the seats is not weird. Why do we not hear complaints from all these van owners? Because it is not a real problem.
I agree that TM should have just affirmed in October that the tray was going to be the final production interior. It was the teasing and stringing along that something might be different and then not being different that is the real cause of the anger.
Nothing can be done about that now but I hope TM learns a lesson. For us reservation holders lets put the substantive problem in perspective, take a deep breath and enjoy our car when we get it.

I drive a minivan (and hope to shelve it for only when I need that volume) and I need that open space between the front seats when I put my ladder w/extension inside. Otherwise, I have the things I'm bringing with me in whatever container I provide. On those occasions I have to stop quickly some things end up moving around more than is pleasant.

I won't be carrying my ladder in my Model S. I'd like somewhere to put the things I'm taking with me. Note that I'm not even talking about things that stay in the car. I actually take things into the car when I drive.

agree with cosmomusic; too many hot-heads, drama. If center console is our main-only beef, its still a phenomenal and ground breaking automobile.

Chill out, have some patience. And fortunately, this kind of cosmetic addition will be easy to fix imo.

Mark K.

Let’s look at the big picture. You are right, we should be positive and happy. The “S” is going to be a sensational automobile. Tesla has always looked at the big picture (the entire car, the production line, sales, X, the company…).

The problem is not that the console, cup holders, arm rests are inadequate or absent. The problem is TM says too little. In the absence of official information and details,we are left to our own devices, and this is not pretty.

With production to commence in less than 4 months it is reasonable to “assume” that the design is locked down and the focus is on the production line and building, inspecting, testing the production Betas.

I want to know how the crash testing turned out, how the production line is working out, how is the quality of the production Betas. To me, this is the big picture too.

After I receive my “S” I will eventually switch out the tan leather for saddle and either buy from TM, the aftermarket, or make a console between the front seats that works for me.

I don't think it's simply a console issue. If you've been in the beta drivers seat (which I have), it's that the overall interior simply doesn't compare to a Lexus or Mercedes at a 50-60k price point (forget the higher priced models).

I actually wanted to laugh at it during my "test sit" but was so blown away by the gap between the exterior and interior that I really couldn't get my head around it.

They've known about this dissatisfaction for many months. To do nothing by this point strikes me as either highly arrogant - meaning they think we will all follow through anyway, or that those of us who bail or defer will quickly be replaced - or they are very stupid in understanding that this is a deal breaker for many of us.

As my wife asked me the other day: "will you really spend 90k on a car you only like on the outside?"

Highly doubtful.

I'm really getting tired of all the complaints on the interior. All the comparisons to MB and BMW are ridiculous. Just get your money back and buy a @#$%ing other car that makes you happy and get off this forum. Cup holders! Geez, why not bitch about the valve stems. Reminds me of the lounger with built in flushable toilet! If it doesn't have everything it just aint right.

As far as I'm concerned, you are all just looking for an excuse to get out. Don't let me stop you. Just remember when you buy your "other" car to look under the hood and find there is no storage space, or maybe the gas tank filler port is on the "wrong" side, or the ground clearance doesn't measure up to your expectations or your poorly built driveway. But, by god, it'll have 27 cupholders strewn throughout the interior and a center console to hold your gas receipts, knick knacks, and trail mix for your lengthy road trips.


Yaah, those valve stems in the tires really are lame. They are not nearly as nice as those on the: BMW, MB, Audi, Lexus, Jaguar, Aston, or RR.

However, the valve stems in the “S’s” motor puts the others to shame.

Sorry, I understand your point and I’m having a little fun.

It seems like Tesla has lost sight of the driver's experience. Yes, the outside is a work of art, but I'm not going to park it on my lawn to admire it endlessly. 99.94% of my time with the car will be spent behind the wheel. (yes, this implies I don't wash my car often enough.) If I can't get to my sunglasses without pulling off the road to get them from the glove box or a place to rest my arm and keep a beverage handy, my experience will be irritating and frustrating. And paying twice what my first house cost for this experience???

I just don't know.

petero | March 18, 2012
With production to commence in less than 4 months ...

That would be delivery. Production surely at least a month before that. Maybe 2. Or even late April?

@Klaus wrote: I'm really getting tired of all the complaints on the interior. All the comparisons to MB and BMW are ridiculous. Just get your money back and buy a @#$%ing other car that makes you happy and get off this forum.

Love it or leave it, huh?

Many of us who are concerned about the interior care about TM's long-term success. After the first wave of EV fans have purchased the car, then what? At the average price point of the Model S, it will be compete directly with MB, BMW, and others and it will draw buyers from that market segment.

With respect, I think it's "ridiculous" to suggest that that comparisons to those brands make no sense. In fact, unless the entire Model S (including its interior) can compare favorably to MB, BMW and others, it will struggle to grow sales over the mid- and long-term.

I'm a sig reservation holder and a stockholder, so I care about TM's viability. I've made a hard commitment in $$$ to the company. If you think some of us have been overly harsh, think again. We recognize that the Model S can be great car, but "great" includes drive technology and performance, exterior and interior design.

At this stage, we realize that the interior is what it is, but it would be irresponsible not to provide constructive feedback for TM to consider. What is frustrating is that this feedback began in early October, 2011, and it appears that very little has changed as a consequence. That's TM's decision, and it has ever right to make it. I just hope that the result doesn't hurt the company in the mid- and long-term.'s just not the only feedback.

Thumper and petero, you captured the essence well. TM made a decision not to change it, but chose not to communicate it. The lesson learned is there are better ways to build customer relationships.

Honesty and transparency really work. Even if customers disagree about a TM decision, they can accept a clearly stated TM choice. Honest differences thoughtfully explained build trust over time.

Brian H the vin's are higher, but the cars are brightly emblazoned with beta labels. I think TM will announce when they are showing production cars, which hopefully happens in a month or so.

Softauthor and teoatawki you articulate well what many customers want. It does not seem an unreaonable request, and investing in the company qualifies you as commenting with the intent of helping TM succeed.

What's needed is more clear feedback from TM acknowledging the need, and what they propose to customers to satisfy it. A concrete plan for an add-in console would do it. That's pretty simple and would improve this quickly.

Jscottsanders keep in mind that the betas are hand built, so fit and finish are not at all representative of production. Seat padding, seams, panels are all proto grade right now, so you have to kind of squint to visualize how it will end up. You'll get a chance to see production samples before you commit. That's what I'll be deciding on.

TM, reasonable, stock-buying folks are asking you to simply communicate some clear decisions on how we settle the console issue,

Do that, and this discussion will be resolved.

I don't get it. The company has consistently said that the interior was 90% complete and what remains is fit and finish. I have had reps tell me this this on the several occasions that I asked. So we have known since October that the design was essentially complete. Then, about a month ago, some forum members relayed a conversation they had with George where he said that a customizable center console solution would be available in response to concerns voiced this forum. This weekend, in response to a question, George said a solution will be available "down the road." There isn't one person in these forums who knows what that solution will look like, when it will be available, or how much it will cost (if anything). Those are the facts.

Those of you who have voiced your concerns have been heard and TM is obviously working on it. So if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

The difference may be subtle, but it's real.

In simple terms, folks just want to know what to expect before they commit.

George knows the difference, he just needs to get concrete answers from engineering so he can give a solid answer.

The Bid Picture for me. . . . If I drive the car for a few months and I do not find it fun I will be selling my stock and the car. I am willing to try out the lack of reachable storage but the driving experience must be enjoyable. I think I will be able to recoup my costs pretty well inside the first 6 months if I am not happy.

I think once us EV folks have our cars the EV part becomes at worst a negative and it is competing to beat the other brands. Heck next year they will have EVs too. If we find the car annoying to drive it's over.

This is worth the long debate but lets see what people say after driving it for a while. I know when I bought my current car I did not even give the cup holders or center counsel a second thought. That was the last thing on my mind. Now one million spilt cups of liquid later it is something I will at least look for. The center counsel on my current car with cup holders is useless and I have thought about ripping it out for a custom one many times.

I don't think it's wrong to criticize Tesla for this move. First off, many of us buying this vehicle will be spending well in excess of $95,000.00 (some over $100k), never mind the deposit we all invested for a considerable amount of time.

Since DAY 1, we were ALL told... “Please USE these forums, as Tesla takes all the critical information posted on how to better make this vehicle, VERY SERIOUSLY!”

With that said, I would have to say that since the Betas were released, at least 50% of the critical comments posted on this forum have been about the interior quality (or lack thereof). Many of us commented at how much nicer the original ‘prototype S’ was, as compared to the ‘Beta S’. Many of us frowned at the excessive use of ‘cheap’ plastics, inferior dash-board design, old-fashion ‘park, drive, reverse’ stick, quality cup-holders, arm-rest, et al, much less the lack of a ‘center storage-console’.

I even brought up the liability issue of not having a proper ‘closable’ storage container in the front, which could still IN-FACT put Tesla in a highly liable situation if an accident were to occur, with lose projectiles not secure in the front. Never mind, that typical car thieves deliberately LOOK for exposed items, before smashing a car window, and stealing what they see (sometimes for as little as some exposed pocket change).
Either way, I think with the statements made at the Santana Row Event by Tesla management, it’s fairly obvious at this point; NO ONE at Tesla took any of our comments seriously, and have decided to move forward with their original beta vision (or lack thereof) at full force.

I don’t blame the outcry, and frustration, as many of us will be spending 50% more for this vehicle than we would have EVER considered spending on a luxury ICE vehicle. Yes, gas is expensive; however, it’s NOT $50,000.00 more expensive to those of us that have spent um-teen months offering our shared ‘valued opinions’ about how to make Tesla succeed!

Tiki, it's been said. It's been said in CAPS, with !!!!s, and now with profanity. The company is working on a solution. I know it has been a long time coming and our patience is close to being tapped out but we need to hang a little bit longer.

"Just get your money back and buy a @#$%ing other car that makes you happy and get off this forum."

Is this the kind of "hot head" people are referring to?

X Deutschland Site Besuchen