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An open letter To Mr. Elon Musk regarding fog lights

An open letter To Mr. Elon Musk, Chairman & CEO of Tesla Motors Corp.-

Mr. Musk-

It has recently come to the attention of the Tesla enthusiast community that the fog/ground lights have been recently eliminated as part of the Tech Package for the Model S. Unfortunately, this was done “silently” without any notice to those who had an existing car deposit or a car in the build and delivery process. In addition, the picture gallery on teslamotors.com as well as your showrooms still display cars with lights included, thus those recently ordering have reason to believe they are still included.

It has been stated by one customer that the email reply (ostensibly from yourself regarding this)was:

“You're right, we should have said something. Essentially, the "fog" lights were not actually helpful in fog or in any reasonable scenario we could envision, and were actually bad in some situations. They made Model S worse, so they were deleted.”

While we certainly applaud not wanting to include anything adverse on the Model S, such lights are not useful for just foggy conditions. As ground lights, they allow more peripheral illumination and near-field fill lighting, which several customers have indicated is indeed useful. In addition, fog/ground lights are often considered aesthetically pleasing contributors to a vehicle’s appearance. Finally, the “solution” to the issue of removing and replacing the lamp with a plastic “filler cap” detracts from the beautiful appearance of the car.

You have previously expressed sentiment along the lines of: “We don’t want to build the best electric car, we want to build the best car period”, and as such you are competing in price and features with other luxury sedan makers. They have found a way to incorporate fog/ground lights in a safe manner that contributes to the functionality and appearance of their cars and we, as your customers, have come to expect such options to be available to us.

We request one of the following remedies:
1) Restore fog/ground lights as part of the Tech Package (including retroactive installation for all purchasers), performing whatever redesigns necessary to eliminate any “bad situations” where they may have posed a problem.

2) Reduce the price of the Tech Package by an appropriate amount, refunding any purchasers of the package who will not receive the lights. Make the (redesigned) lights available as an option for this same amount.

We, the current and future owners of the Tesla Model S, appreciate the significant advancement in design and engineering the car represents. We desire the Model S to be “World Class” in all respects. Removing features that are easily obtainable on even lesser cars is not the way to do it.

Respectfully –
Your Ever Growing Ownership and Enthusiast Community

- - - Updated - - -

I am the author of the above letter, which I wanted to keep as applicable as possible to all owners who wish to "sign" by voicing their support for.

As such, I am outlining my specific circumstances separately here: I've been considering a Tesla Model S for a number of months. The Tech Package (including foglights) has always been an option I had decided I would order. The initial description on the web site, the pictures in the gallery , online videos, and the cars I've seen in person (as recently as a showroom visit on 4/13) have always depicted fog/ground lights.

I placed my $5K deposit on 4/5, and only recently have come to realize that the lights have been eliminated. I am a big supporter of Tesla, but doing this without any notification and without changing the price for the Tech Package is not the way to continue to engender my loyalty.

I believe Elon/Tesla did the right thing by listening to customer feedback regarding items such as the floor mats, visors, etc... My hope is that this thread is a CONSTRUCTIVE venue to provide feedback that I believe the user community might wish to provide.

Finally, lets face it... this is a high-tech bad-boy of a car. It DESERVES to look every bit the advanced machine it is... c'mon let's have the awesome looking lights back... we are paying high 5- and even 6-digit prices for these machines...

Ok, so I get my car on Saturday with Tech Package. I probably wouldn't have noticed missing fog lights for several weeks, and while it's disappointing, I seriously wouldn't expect Tesla to refund $150 or whatever they work out to, and I'm CERTAINLY not considering canceling my order. Look, they didn't charge us more when they added cornering lights, and they've been super conservative on the specs (0-60 are faster than advertised, etc.). I get that it's frustrating, and even a disappointment, but to say you'll get a Mercedes instead? Come on people, let's be rational. If fog lights are the deciding factor between this and a Mercedes, you should seriously get the Mercedes because clearly the little challenges of dealing with a startup will drive you crazy.

@riceuguy

What color is your car? If you're around the Rice area I'll keep a lookout for you :)

Oh yeah, and +1 @riceuguy too

@MrSpaghetti, after a long stint in Houston (mostly in and around the Rice area), I moved to Austin about 7 years ago. But once the superchargers are in on I-10, you will likely see my Silver 60 (no pano--silver roof, that's how you'll know it!) in the Village or at Goode Company Taqueria sometime shortly thereafter! I gather you're in West U? I'm picking it up Saturday at noon...finally!!!!

I hate signing things like this but agree as well. I expected my car to be delivered with fog lights and cornering lights as I ordered the tech package. Just dropping this un communicated to people who already are locked iin is kind of a crappy way to treat someone who put a deposit down 4 years ago. Yet another aftermarket additional to add to the list of a supposedly premium vehicle.

I would think the proper way to handle this would be:

1) Tesla decides to make a change
2) Puts a notice on the web site of the change and the cut off date for orders before the change occurs (could be immediate but not retroactive and notice would be helpful)
3) All cars ordered after the posted change date are made with the change and those before do not have the change.

Telsa and Elon are driving for direct sales. They need to manage their customers with great communication since the do not have dealers to do it for them.

Six
agreed. Simple and fair.

it's not only with this issue. tesla found out during last winter, that the model s experienced serious problems with the handling under cold conditions. Instead of fixing it, they just decided to introduce a cold weather packet for those who face minus degrees.
customer has to pay for lack of testing and fixing a problem?

Even before we get our car after one year being on the market?

We gave an huge credit without interest to Elon and got that back in return?

Eberhard

Six +1

Car companies make unadvertised changes all the time. Some times it's with a "model refresh" sometimes it's just the "next year's" model, sometimes just partway through a run. Stuff moving in and out of different packages is really common.

Tesla should aim to be -better- than other mfgs, but with this they are certainly no -worse-.

Give us parking sensors to replace the missing lights.

I'm reading this thread and scratching my head, hard to believe that customers so worked up about such seemingly small matter as fog lights on this great vehicle. I have had signature performance for over 4 months with over 5K miles and did not even realize that I had fog lights. The headlights are more than sufficient in my opinion for visibility. And drive in the dark often, including bad weather and fog. Need to relax a little bit-car is magnificent with or without fog lights.

A Signature Performance without foglights, it's a joke?
I am expecting the folights on my European #S200.

So if we receive a model s that doesn't have the fog lights, can we still add them? Someone mentioned the wiring would still be there and the socket would plugged, but it would be removed from the software to turn them on? The person said all you would have to do is plug the light in and it would then be available on the screen. Does that sound correct? Is it quite possible they were removed because of too many lights or some other DOT restriction? I just don't understand why. Maybe Tesla is going to make it an aftermarket option to make more money on accessories? I know they are just lights, but why go through all the trouble to put it on the car, to have it taken off?

"A Signature Performance without foglights, it's a joke?
I am expecting the foglights on my European #S200." @kubisf, You need to learn to read the posts. I did not say that my sig vehicle was without fog lights. said that I was not aware that it even had fog lights. Such small item in a great vehicle, the headlights have more than sufficient illumination. I have zero interst in whether vehicle has or does not have fog lamps. My point is that seems not worth getting worked up over such small item.
.

Just got off the phone with my DS at HQ in Palo Alto. I am waiting on a multi-coat red (pickup mid-May from Fremont). I had sent her an e-mail about a few issues, including the fog lights, and copied the e-mail to George B and Ownership. She called me pretty promptly, and confirmed that forward production of the Model S will NOT have fog lamps. I politely expressed my concern and disappointment, and the lack of any communication regarding deletion of a feature that virtually any other high-end car has. I noted that there needed to be a high-level response, and that maybe George B needed to post another blog on the subject. She could not give me a reason, but was going to push my concern up the food chain and see if someone more senior could get back to me with a good answer. YMMV.

I could careless about the foglights, but Tesla's lack of communication is exactly the type of BS I expect from a Toyota/BMW/Lexus stealership.

This hurts Tesla's brand / image and needs to rectified quickly.

JPPTM

Thanks for pushing this up the food chain at Tesla and updating us here. I'm inclined to call as well... perhaps with enough feedback they will realize this is not acceptable.

Please let us know if you hear anything further.

-sc

As a note for those who don't care if they have them, or were ignorant that they even did: this thread was created for those who WERE interested in them and concerned they weren't getting them.

You can opt to NOT sign a petition, but please don't actively campaign against those who would like something if you are already satisfied. Wouldn't you prefer Tesla remain competitive with what a significant segment of customers expect of a similar luxury vehicle?

Thanks.

Follow up to my post of a few minutes ago...just received an e-mail from my DS:

Good speaking with you today! I received an answers about the fog lamps from my manager and have included it below. Let me know if you have additional questions.

Tesla continually evaluates ways to improve the performance, reliability, efficiency and cost of our products. With many Model S in customer's hands, we now have real world data to help inform our evaluations.

Cornering lamps, have replaced the fog lights and serve a valuable purpose in nighttime driving. The cornering light illuminate roadways, curbs, and other obstacles that may be outside the standard low beam's light path.
Cornering lamps will remain a part of the Tech Package for the foreseeable future. For the purposes of illuminating low and wide, cornering lamps are more effective than fog lamps.

...and there you have it....and I'm OK with it as I have hardly ever used fog lamps.

"I could careless about the foglights, but Tesla's lack of communication is exactly the type of BS I expect from a Toyota/BMW/Lexus stealership." @bhuwan, agree on this point, and like your reference to stealerships, so true. Now that I see that cornering lights will be available going forward I am a little jealous, would like them in lieu of the fog lights that I have and are somewhat useless since headlight illunmination so bright.

JPPTM-

Something is not right about that answer. I believe we have had cornering lights all along.

If you look at the videos on the gallery page of this site and watch the "Super Charger Event" video, you will see what are clearly cornering lights. They illuminate when the car is turning, and it's only one OR the other lit, not both. Furthermore they are in the "middle" position of the stack of lamps in the assembly, just below the yellow marker lamps.

Now look at the "New York Meets Model S" video. At 24 seconds you see what are the fog/ground lamps. They are BOTH simultaneously lit. And their position is at the bottom position in the stack.

Both of these videos pre-date the February fog-lamp "change" quite a bit.

Finally, if cornering lamps are REPLACING fog lamps, why are cars being shipped with plastic covers in one fixture position?

The car had both cornering and fog lamps all along. I appreciate you passing on what was told to you, but I think that answer is a dodge.

-sc

-sc--

You might be right. I am a bit data deficient.

JPPTM-

Certainly not aimed at you, I appreciate your taking it up with Tesla.

Rather I feel the answer Tesla is giving it's customers is disingenuous.

-sc

I e-mailed my rep about it and got this response. I assume it's been a done deal for some time now.

"Thank you for your email. You are correct, the fog lights are no longer included with the tech package. They have been replaced with cornering lights. I just spoke with our production team and they said that it would be near impossible to retrofit them as the machinery that was used for fog lights has been repurposed."

As with the Alcantara headliner issue, "unannounced" removal of relevant features, like fog lights, is simply NOT a good approach to customer relations...esp. for customers with finalized orders. This is not a "reputation" that will advance Tesla's long-term well-being.

Don't get me wrong...IMO...product excellence is paramount and the MS has it in spades...but organizational CHARACTER and INTEGRITY are and will always be critical success factors as well. I look forward to my red P85 scheduled for May delivery...with awe and wonderment...but am profoundly saddened that my perception of Tesla's commitment to integrity and fairness is not moving in a positive direction...based on controversial (unannounced) spec changes.

Cars with the tech package used to get both fog AND cornering lights, so the cornering lights did not replace fog lights; fog lights have simply been removed. They are simply not telling the truth about this.

Are fog lights a huge deal? No, but that's not the point. The point is 1) that premium cars in this class have them, and so should Tesla, 2) the removal of features like these does not bode well for the integrity of the company or brand, and 3) they are not handling the explanation of the removal well, to say the least.

Smells like a cost cutting move to me. While I understand the need to cut costs when necessary and prudent, removing features like this is a cheap move to me. I expect more from Tesla and its leadership.

Took delivery of my P85 with Tech Package in early March. I have the fog lights and I do have cornering lights when driving slowly around curves and corners. I don't think the cornering lights come on when going faster than 10-15 miles (wild guess). Maybe the new cornering lights are different? I would be shocked (and very disappointed) if Tesla right out lied about this issue.

I also have a BMW X5. BMW integrates cornering lights and fog lights into the same light units. Tesla could have done the same. That at least would have been a great way for them to cut costs AND provide a reasonable explanation to customers.

When you buy from a dealer, you typically take the car you see. TM is attempting to introduce a new paradigm: buy direct, build to order. I understand that TM needs the flexibility to make changes, and the MVPA reserves the right to do this at any time, without notice. But if TM is serious about its new paradigm, it needs to find a way to communicate any changes BEFORE the purchaser locks in. Too many times TM has acted as though it is simply exercising its right to make changes, without recognizing that it has made commitments to particular purchasers who have a right to the benefit of their bargain. TM's arguments in Texas and in Congress about the right to sell direct are going to fall flat if direct selling looks like an abusive one-way street where the buyer must pay but the seller may deliver whatever it wants to deliver.


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