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Marketing Claims

I don't know about anyone else (actually I do) but I've been following this car for a very long time. And throughout that entire time Tesla has boldly, and repeatedly made the claim that they could deliver an all electric sedan that could go from 0-60 in 5.6 seconds for $49,900 (after incentives). Did they? I say they didn't. In fact they say so right on their options listing page. Yet, maybe because we love the car so much, none of us are willing to say anything about this? Shouldn't we be honest enough to call this what it is, regardless of our support for the car?

In 5.6 seconds, Model S is traveling 60 miles per hour, without hesitation and without a drop of gasoline.

(big numbers here)

Specs for Model S equipped with the 85 kWh battery.

.... So I dunno if they modified that recently, but they might as well modify it for the performance package. 4.4 seconds / 130 top speed!

Jason - Great. But does that change the fact that you can't get that 0-60 performance for the $49.9 they repeatedly promised during design and testing of the car?

I'm just befuddled as to why nobody is willing to touch this.

Let me ask this another way. We've all seen this 0-60 in 5.6 claim, a lot. Has anyone out there seen it connected to a price tag of $69,900? Or has anyone seen it directly connected specifically and only to the 300 mile battery pack (by tesla or Elon Musk)?

I believe we are willing partners to this situation. We often read/hear/understand what we desire rather than solely what is presentied. If there is room for interpretation, we happily add what we want. Read back through the threads of this forum and count the optimistic spins on whatever is under discussion.

How many auto commercials distinguish among all the variations when they are extolling products? For that matter, how many electronic devices- cellphones, tablets, laptops, etc provide such distinctions? No, we are allowed to apply our own interpretation, our own desire, our own dreams. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way.

The model S is not one car. It never has been. It is three. They differ. They always have. No matter how much we may wish it to be otherwise.

jackhub, Awesome. But can you try to answer the question? Have you ever seen, heard, read ANYTHING at all that indicated the capability to go 0-60 in 5.6 seconds would require the 300 mile battery pack? I know I haven't. And this isn't an interpretation, this is based on my standing on the factory floor at Tesla and hearing Elon Musk tell me, and who know how many other people, that this car would go from 0-60 in 5.6 seconds and it would cost $49,900.

Sort of like saying, "Our new Porsche is capable of going incredible fast for only $20,000. Actual fast speed will require the purchase of an engine, at a significant option charge."

I'll say this, I made one prediction about the automotive press and I'll make another.

This press release was made based on a tactical approach. Done during the holiday schedule the press may not pay quite as much attention to it as it would otherwise get. That said, after the holidays expect to read something in the press indicating that Tesla missed this target. It was widely and repeatedly promised, and was not delivered. I can think of no other automotive company (and I bet you can't either) that makes so many promises of delivering a performance statistic at a certain price point, then simply doesn't do it.

"MS Have you ever seen, heard, read ANYTHING at all that indicated the capability to go 0-60 in 5.6 seconds would require the 300 mile battery pack? I know I haven't."

Yes I certainly have known this for as long as I've been following the forums. There has been much written explaining that although the small battery might be lighter, it would not have the necessary Amp punch to accelerate like the 85kwh pack. What has not been known until now were the specific performance loss. In the end it is not that much loss. The car is still faster than most other cars in it's price catagory. Let it go!

Thumper - I've been here as well. I've seen what people have said. I've seen not one word from Tesla, have you? Let me answer that for you, "no". They have stood by this performance benchmark from day one, and clearly associated it with the base price of the car. So, while people on a forum said it couldn't be done and the automotive press said it couldn't be done, Tesla, and Elon Musk said it could.

People, do you realize you're getting your panties in a knot over nine tenths of a second?

I'd be willing to bet that very few drivers could tell the difference between 5.6 and 6.5.

Give it a rest.

@mscottring: In my view, you're beating this to death. Okay, Tesla didn't meet a marketing claim for the base model. Is that the first time a car company (or for that matter, any company, start-up or well established) has missed a marketing claim for a product that was under development? Is it the first time that a marketing claim has to be qualified based on the options chosen? Is it the first time that a company spokesperson has gotten caught up in his own hype and misstated the specs of a product. I think not.

It seems to me you're holding an innovative start-up to an impossibly stringent standard, particularly because the product they're talking about is evolving with time.

In my view, the most important aspect of Tesla's journey toward product release is to deliver a very high quality product on time. Missing a marketing claim is laughably minor by comparison. It's not as if they delivered product and then customers realized it wouldn't make its 0 - 60 time or wouldn't accommodate supercharging. Everyone has been given seven months lead time to make their decision. Apparently, that's not enough for some folks, but that's their problem, not Tesla's.

We'll see. If the automotive press gives this a free pass then I'll gladly say I was wrong. But this is a big miss in my opinion. This was one of the MAJOR claims they made about the car. Not some minor thing they mentioned along the way, but one of the most major things they said about it, over and over again. And they didn't do it. That, to most people (shareholders of a public company for instance) actually matters in the real world. I can tell you, based on actual fact, that when a public company misses a target it usually ends up paying for it. So go ahead and say this is all me, just overreacting. Wait and watch.

The Bottom Line

mscottring | December 22, 2011

After having a bit of time to cool down and think about this I believe I will keep my reservation. I love the car just as much as ever. I'm not exactly thrilled with the price structure, but I can live with it.

From your recent barrage of peevish postings it sounds like perhaps you need a bit of more time to cool down. I agree with Soflauthor and others that we need to keep things in their proper perspective and "Missing a marketing claim is laughably minor by comparison" to delivering a high quality product.

Have a Happy Holiday,


Honestly I can't understand the "underraction" I've seen. This would be exactly the same as BMW announcing the new 5 series sedan at it's price of $46k capable of going from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, taking orders for it for a couple of years, then telling the people that ordered it that the only way to get the 4.4 seconds is to upgrade to the M5, at a cost of around $90,000 US. There's no difference at all. And if BMW did something like that, or ANY company for that matter, I can assure you there would be some level of outrage about it. You know it as well as I do. But in this case we're supposed to just "give it a rest", "let it go" give them a free pass. Hell no.

I've never really understood blind loyalty to a company, and I sure don't now. I love the car, the company has lost me as a fan.

Really's 0.9 sec difference. Hardly and outrage in my opinion, but we get it; you are pissed. Just resist the urge to post any more redundant topics.

Brant - Seriously? In the BMW example I gave you, you would just say, "Oh, well cool"?

Brant - I may I ask what the title of the redundant topic is I posted was? Clearly I must have posted one redundant about this topic to get this reaction from you, so what was it? Brant? Hello? Yep, that's right, I didn't.

I've never really understood blind loyalty to a company, and I sure don't now. I love the car, the company has lost me as a fan.

I think its fair to say that after your repeated postings flogging this issue we understand your opinion. However, what you apparently don't understand that its not blind loyalty if folks simply don't care if the car is .9 seconds slower than an early marketing claim. For many of us you are unduely worked up over a trivial issue. Even you concede that this is not enough of an issue for you to cancel your reservation, nor in my opinion should it.


Larry - The issue is not .9 seconds. The issue is to meet the target one must spend tens of thousands of dollars (i.e., the BMW example above). Thus, the blind loyalty I mentioned.

What I read and heard was:
The Model S will start at 49900 after the tax credit.
The Model S will go from o-60 in 5.6 seconds.
The Model S will have 3 ranges, 160, 230, and 300 miles.
The Model S Sport will go from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds.
The Model S will have various options.
That is all true. It is still true.

The statements were not linked with 'and.' They were separate statements about 'The Model S' addressing a range of capabilities and often in answer to different questions. If we wished to have them all consolidated. . . well, we are disappointed with our wishes.

I don't believe we were misled, I believe we allowed our hopes to outrun what was presented to us.

Fortunately for you, Tesla will refund your entire deposit. What is your alternative? Personally, I'm done getting 20mpg.

Jackhub - Did you go to the factory? I did. I stood right there in front of Elon and heard him say the model s would go from 0-60 in 5.6 seconds, and it would cost $49k. At NO point, ever, was there any indication the 300 mile battery pack would be required. No assumption was made about how fast the car would go. I was TOLD how fast the car would go.

Its your apparent fixation on a 5.6 second target that is the source of your problem. It sounds as if even if Tesla missed that target by a mere .1 second you would still be posting how they missed this almighty target and how its going to cost you tens of thousand of dollars to achieve it.

If the Model S accelerated like a Leaf then that would be legitmate cause for the outrage you display in your repeated postings. Then I would be right with you complaining. However, the fact is that the 40 kWh model still accelerates about the same as many luxury sedans. Its not blind loyalty to tell you that most people simply don't ascribe the same obsessive importance that you do to that particular 5.6 second target.


David - I have to admit, I never get tired of these over simplified answers to complex questions. Someone takes issue with the company, NOT the car (and clearly states this far too numerous times to count) and the standard reply is, wait for it......, "well you should just cancel". Yep, brilliant.

Larry - Apparently facts matter to me, and not so much to you. I'm ok with that.

BTW, I was on the Fremont factory floor with Elon, too. He made both of those statements: the Model S will go from 0-60 in 5.6 seconds; the Model S will start at 49900 after the tax credit. I don't believe they were joined any more than I think that the 300 mile range was joined with the 49900, or the plano roof or the 21" wheels, or the air suspension. They were all mentioned, too.

Here's what I find odd. I posted an example of BMW doing something similar to this, and not one person will comment on that example. Why? Well because if BMW, or any company for that matter, promised you oranges, and delivered apples, you wouldn't be exactly thrilled with them. Again, this company is getting a free pass. The issue isn't about .9 seconds. If you think it is then you clearly aren't keeping up.

Jackhub - Fair enough. From the statement Elon made that day, what lead you to believe there was no connection between that price and that performance?

To me this is simple. At no point that I can recall has any car company in history produced an ad, or gone on record, indicating the highest performing option available for a new vehicle would be available at the lowest price point for that vehicle. We've never seen any company say their new Porsche, Chevy or whatever it is will go from 0-60 in 5 seconds flat for $30k, then turn around and tell you that it can, if you pay an extra $20k. Never. Some of you see no problem with this historical precedent. I do.

@mscottring, fine you made your point. So where does that leave you? You can pay for the .9 of a second, or not. You can buy a BMW if it pleases you. I haven't counted your posts but I'm sure Tesla has heard you. And I doubt there will be any changes that would please you. Hell, I'm not to pleased either. But can we move on? You'll either buy the car you want or the one you can afford, but most of us don't give a damn which way you decide any more.

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