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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
On 9 October 2014 Tesla announced the D version Model S with dual motor AWD. But some people who recently bought a Tesla are not happy about it (*). In some cases these customers haven't even received their car yet and can not change their order because confirmed orders can't be changed.

I think the main problem with random release dates is that you don't know these dates therefore you can't make the decisions. The control of the decision making is taken from the customer. Tesla doesn't to follow the yearly release model all other car makers use because Tesla innovates faster. I think therefore the solution would be to have two or three fixed release dates per year.

For example if two release dates are enough then January 1 and July 1 could be selected as release dates. This way customers can decide whether to wait for the next release or not. If two per year is not frequent enough for Tesla then they could announce a new model every 4 months. But the dates must be fixed and not random.

With fixed release dates the customers make the decisions. The customer will own the decision. If he decides not to wait he will blame himself. With random dates customers are blaming Tesla and rightly so for having missed out on new features.

(*) There is a topic here and another one here and here
 

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Surely the easy answer for a customer in a queue would be for Tesla (or indeed any other manufacturer) to allow anyone who prefers the newly-announced product is to let them cancel and re-order with no loss of deposit, but they loose their place in the queue and re-join. If they prefer a car quickly then they keep their original order, or if they prefer the new specification they re-order and Tesla keeps their deposit a little longer to compensate for Tesla's inconvenience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nick, I like your idea. It would ease off some of the problem. Unfortunately Tesla doesn't allow changing orders after you confirm.

There are also buyers from China and Hong Kong where deliveries take a long time. If the car is already built and is on its way on a ship then letting them cancel and re-order with no loss of deposit would be impossible without a big financial loss for Tesla. Those cars lose a big percentage of their value even before they arrive, which is exactly the point those people are complaining about.

The autopilot features were added on 19 Sep 2014. The dual motor was announced on 9 Oct 2014. There are just too many and too frequent changes to the hardware. Imagine you are a buyer from China and by the time the car arrives in 7 months it is already two models old.

There is some recent discussion here in the comments section of the blog post. Tesla took their forums offline (probably because of bandwidth issues) therefore some of the heated discussions moved to the blog post. There are a lot of people who are upset because they took delivery recently.

I've just watched the D unveil with a sick feeling in my stomach
Source
If tesla doesn't figure out a way to make this right for me not only will I never own another product from them, but I'll make sure to tell all prospective buyers what a joke this company is.
Source: Click here and search for jscully
 

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If you must have the best, and money is no object, simply buy one over retail from someone that has just had the car delivered. Problem solved.

People bitching that they ordered the "top of the line" car, and are now aggrieved that their car isn't the highest possible spec, get no sympathy from me if I'm honest.

Surely it met all their needs (apart from vanity) at the time of order, or they wouldn't have put a deposit down ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It is not just top of the line buyers complaining.

Great news and fantastic advancements. However, extremely disappointed as someone who bought a Tesla Model S 3 months ago that there was no visibility into upcoming advancements and no options to upgrade to add the autopilot capabilities.
Source: Click here and search for skoushik66
If there are ways to create a better customer experience, why not do it? People are not complaining because their car is now an old model. They are complaining because they didn't know the next release date and therefore their control on making decisions was taken away from them. This would be disappointing even if you were not buying a car or even if you were not buying anything. Generally speaking, imagine something is going to happen that affects you badly at some point of time in the future but you are not allowed to know when and the people doing this are the same people who were treating you very nicely. But now they don't care that you are upset because you didn't know the time. This is not a good experience independent from the subject.
 

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Seems like only yesterday I was reading how fantastic it was that, unlike with other vehicles, Tesla owners always got the latest upgrades. Today I'm reading that Tesla is just like other manufacturers - you agree to buy today's car with today's features, if tomorrow there's a new feature then you need to buy tomorrow's car.

Are you buying a car with features you want at a price you think is reasonable, or a fashion accessory?
 

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It is not just top of the line buyers complaining.



If there are ways to create a better customer experience, why not do it? People are not complaining because their car is now an old model. They are complaining because they didn't know the next release date and therefore their control on making decisions was taken away from them. This would be disappointing even if you were not buying a car or even if you were not buying anything. Generally speaking, imagine something is going to happen that affects you badly at some point of time in the future but you are not allowed to know when and the people doing this are the same people who were treating you very nicely. But now they don't care that you are upset because you didn't know the time. This is not a good experience independent from the subject.
I do have some sympathy, but it's true even of mainstream cars, just not so visible. Manufacturers don't publicise them as heavily admittedly, but continuous improvement happens every day without most of us knowing.

Sure big items like front facing cameras and radar that are fitted to new cars are a problem if you just had a car delivered without it. But for a long time subtle changes have happened on a monthly basis. (I used to own an Exige, mine was an early one that had only one gas strut opening the boot, ones off the line a month later had 2, and subsequently the boot shut properly. No MY change, just luck of the drawer on when you ordered it)

Ultimately I am driving around my car now, it is what I ordered, and I completely understand there will be improvements on every car newer than mine.. . On the flipside, the people that have the latest versions however have not had the joy of driving an S for the last X months.

Mine still serves it's purpose exactly as I expected on the day I gave Tesla my deposit (Effectively entering into a contract). In fact it is better as the software has improved the car since taking ownership.
 

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Are you buying a car with features you want at a price you think is reasonable, or a fashion accessory?
In Tesla-land a bit of both unfortunately...

Especially with the "Teslarati" aficionados. I parked my car (an S60) next to an S85 with some options on at an EV event today.

When asked by Joe Public what the difference was, I often said 1x Nissan Leaf.

Having been at Tesla events, there is a definite muted snobbery when you say you are going for the 60.
 

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I know some manufacturers in some territories (all even) stick to certain "model year" patterns to greater or lesser degree but if everyone knew when you were going to change your car(s) and announce new features I imagine you'd risk demand falling of a cliff in the month, two months or even more before people knew you were going to announce your new lineup.

I don't think its practical really from supply chain or sales points of view. Imagine an Apple like predictability (even though they don't pre-announce things or guarantee timings) plus the regular up and down of number plate changes combined... I think that's the crazy kind of hot/cold ordering pattern you'd risk ending up with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Paul, there are ways around it. Tesla could drop prices when you get closer to the release date (this would increase demand for old model) and compensate for it by increasing the prices for newly released model (this would decrease demand for the new model) then drop that price after a while. At the end they would make the exact same money as they do now by controlling demand with prices.

Another solution would be to open a new showroom somewhere. In the latest conference call Elon said they can drive demand up at will by opening showrooms. To listen to that conference call, open the following link, click on the Jul 31, 2014 link and enter some random login info. http://ir.teslamotors.com/events.cfm

Edit: Here is another source for what Elon said back then:
We can drive demand up at will. But if drive it up too much, then people would get upset with us because they waited too long for their car....[W]hen I was visiting in China, the only unhappiness I saw was...because customers were upset about waiting too long for their car. So it's like, boy, we better not stoke demand in that situation.
Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/tesla-push-the-model-x-2014-8#ixzz3FsvD84Cf
 

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This kind of thing happens all the time in technology - phones, tablets etc... cars have been on a yearly cycle for a long term I know, but IMO the incremental approach makes a lot of sense. You can only purchase based on the facts available at the time.

The sting in the tail of course is the delay between purchase and delivery. If I order a new phone I get it the next day. Though houses have that lengthy period too...
 

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This kind of thing happens all the time in technology - phones, tablets etc...
The only one I follow is Apple and they do not have any published set schedule or plan so far as product life cycles go (of course internally they do, but so does any company).

It's fairly predictable, but not pre-announced or confirmed in any way, but it is what they do.

Funnily enough when some folk bought the iPad 3 they were really upset when shortly after the "iPad with retina display" or whatever they called it came out with more power and a different connector. Nobody made any promises, but because their iPad had a shorter "being the newest thing" window a lot of folk got really upset.

As much as people sometimes paint Tesla as the Apple of cars, cars and gadgets are not the same thing and have very different production and supply chain demands.

Again it's very common for cars to have "model year" patterns and the hardcore fans know pretty well when new (major) updates will be announced and available, but they still will add new technology, even new models, between and off of these cycles.

Tesla are also new and have a tiny model range so I imagine in many ways they are weak compared to the likes of Ford, BMW and such in terms of supply chain control and demands.

They're not Apple, who shifted somewhere over 160,000,000 iPhones alone over the past 12 months, they're not even BMW who sold close to 2,000,000 vehicles in 2013, they're a niche – innovative – automobile manufacturer, so I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that some of these things are just not practical for them to do just now.

Regarding the share price comment above, as much as Elon's tweet boosted it, the car announcement itself dropped it by 8%. As a huge admirer of Tesla I can't help thinking it'd be better if the products themselves were leading the price point, not the figurehead of the company.
 

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It is not true that you cannot change configuration after confirming your order. I did, and several other UK owners have done. It is more correct to say that it is possible to put in a change request, and that they will accept the request if they can. The closer you get to production, the harder it is to get a configuration change approved.

Tesla have always struggled with communication and expectation management. The recent "MY15" announcements just prove that nothing has changed.

Other manufacturers have a similar policy of continual improvement rather than sticking to Model Year, for example Land Rover. This works well for lower volumes, but I predict that the difficultly of sticking to this approach in a customer-friendly way will lead to a formal MY or MY.5 approach in Tesla, as soon as they can harmonise changes for all markets to come in at the same time. Maybe they should have kept the versioning from the Roadster era running.

IMO, the stock price fall is more about the X and less about the D. Without X, Tesla as still a one product company, and there was a lot of speculation online that there would be an X announcement as well as the D launch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Tesla messed up big time. They added autopilot hardware to cars without announcing it. Some people who ordered on the same day received it and others didn't. Just read the story of this customer. It is hard not to agree. It is very well written.
 

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Some people who ordered a car on the same day got a free, unannounced (at the time) upgrade, others did not.

Whenever they announced it, some people would have "missed out".
 

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I do sympathise with anyone stuck knowing that if they waited a few weeks, or even a few days, they would have got a better product. However, this is going on all the time with all manufacturers and so to single out Tesla as some kind of demon in this respect is not right.

We ordered a new Nissan Qashqai. At the time we ordered it did not come with auto-folding mirrors as standard. They were an at-cost option. We did not order them and just ordered the basic car. By the time our car was delivered Nissan had added auto-folding mirrors and roof rails as standard. When our car arrived it had both without us paying any extra.

When we ordered the Qashqai we wanted the auto gearbox and that was only available with the 1.6 diesel engine. We could not order the auto with the super-efficient 1.5 or the fantastic 1.2 petrol. I would have prefer either over the 1.6. The very day after we took delivery of our Qashqai Nissan announce the auto was now available with the 1.5 and the 1.2! We were hugely disappointed.

Similarly, when we ordered our Nissan Leaf it was not specced with the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). It came with it nonetheless and is now standard.

This is happening all the time. Perhaps it isn't right and when you get caught it is always going to be disappointing but this is what car manufacturers do... all of them probably.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
the very day after we took delivery of our Qashqai Nissan announced
Tesla never announced anything. They just added the new hardware on 19 Sep and kept quiet for 20 days until 9 Oct.

This is not happening all the time. You are not following the discussion because you didn't read the link in my last message. People who ordered on the same day received different hardware for the same price. Also somebody who confirmed an order two days later didn't get the hardware but somebody else who confirmed two days earlier did.

When customers were receiving different cars Tesla kept quiet and didn't say anything. The hardware change happened on 19 Sep 2014. Buyers who care about the hardware but didn't have them could have refused taking delivery if they knew Tesla is adding new hardware. They would have lost $2500 deposit. They could reorder a new car and have the hardware. Now trade in upgrades cost between $14.000 and $30.000 depending on sales tax in that state.

The hardware that was added unannounced consists of the following. Notice that even when people were receiving this hardware Tesla didn't say anything. First time it was known was when some buyers posted pictures. These options were not available on Tesla's website until 9 Oct 2014 (20 days after they added them to the cars). These autopilot features are going to be activated with software updates in the following weeks and months to rub it in even more to those who missed out.

Inıtially people thought this hardware is for ACC and collision avoidance. Now Tesla says (link) it will do all that but it will also add autopilot features that don't exist in any car in the market. These include things like changing lanes by itself, parking itself in the garage after you exit the car and drive from the garage to your front door by itself to meet you there.

1. There is a front long range radar under the nosecone.


2. The rear view mirror has a few vertical stripes and behind it is a new front camera.


3. There are 12 new ultrasonic sensors around the car.


4. New steering wheel stalk for adaptive cruise control
 

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@Teo cars are not built in the same sequence that orders are confirmed. Look up the concept of "slotting" in an automotive context.
 

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@Teo cars are not built in the same sequence that orders are confirmed. Look up the concept of "slotting" in an automotive context.
Indeed, ordering, production, delivery is not (often? ever?) a direct and linear process.

As discussed above this type of thing is not unique in the automotive world. I understand frustrations and disappointments but if you get the car you ordered great, if you get the car you ordered + freebies, even better.
 

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Indeed, ordering, production, delivery is not (often? ever?) a direct and linear process.

As discussed above this type of thing is not unique in the automotive world. I understand frustrations and disappointments but if you get the car you ordered great, if you get the car you ordered + freebies, even better.
Indeed my car has dual charger hardware according to the diagnostics, something I didn't order. It worked for a bit too, not sure if it still does since the last hardware upgrade though.

Theoretically I could complain, because I am lugging round the weight of a piece of useless electronics. However life is too short.

I got exactly what I ordered, at a price I deemed fair at the time.

The biggest downside will come resale time, when two identical cars are worth a different amount, just because one went down the production line a day later.. However this really isn't a problem for those on the finance deals, as Tesla will be picking up the shortfall.
 
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