Really Tesla? - Yes, they do care and will make it right.

Really Tesla? - Yes, they do care and will make it right.

VIN 5YJSA1CN7DFP15772 was the car that got assigned to us. Sold our old car, got insurance on the Tesla and Went to pick up our Tesla today at Fremont. Signed the papers and made the payment. OK ... so far so good.

During the walk through we saw that the roof of the car was not properly aligned with the rear glass panel on one side (Issue #1).
The rear glass itself was misaligned with the rear side frame of the car (Issue #2).
On one side of the car there was so much space between the rear and side panels that my thumb did fit in but on the other side (mirror opposite) the space could only fit my finger nail (Issue #3).
The inner upholstery near the ceiling at the window on the driver's side was ripped a little and the sponge of the roof was visible(Issue #4).
Plastic piece behind the tail light in the trunk was well secured on the left and but loose on the right (Issue #5).

At this point we stopped looking at this car and started to examine the other Teslas nearby that were ready to be delivered. Oh wait, their frames are in perfect condition. We didn't check their insides, of course. OK, so we informed our delivery specialist who sent a salesperson over. The sales agent gave us two options:

1. Wait 3 months for a new car. No loaner. You are on your own. Wonder what happened to their marketing slogan of getting a top of the line as a loaner ???!!!

2. Take this car. At a later time bring it back in to a service center. It will take 2 weeks within which Tesla will cut the roof and realign the whole frame and then fix the roof back. You may or may not get a loaner during this time.

Now I am thinking, I just sold my car thinking I could have this. What could go wrong with a Tesla, right??!! And if you have to take the roof off my car and re-assemble it, it is no longer a NEW car!

And then we get taken to talk to a service person Mike, who says, "Well, if I were you, I would just take this car". After hearing this I was really glad that Tesla does not need regular servicing. Imagine having to bring the car to this guy for check ups. Upon inquiring as to when he can get the car fixed, his response was that he will be not able to get to the car in the next 3 weeks and it will take another 2 weeks to fix it. Keep in mind that it took 6 weeks to get the whole car built from scratch in the first place. Apparently he already has customers to deal with. If this is how you deal with a potential customer I wonder how existing ones are treated. I can understand an error with workmanship but suboptimal service (or in this case the lack of any) has no excuse. I had better service buying a $9000 used car much less a 90,000 new car.

At the end of this experience I was left with one expression .... WOW ..... and that certainly was not in awe of Tesla.

We were left stranded at Tesla with no ride back home. At least they were courteous enough to pay for a cab home. Now have to figure out how to manage without my old car.

Updates: Tesla did reach out to us. Delivered a loaner and promised a new car with an expedited delivery date. Now this is customer service! Again, thank you folks for your support.

The head of manufacturing (Mark) called me and told me that he had personally looked at the car. He agreed without any reservations that the car was faulty. He said that he is surprised that this piece even passed through Quality Check.

He said that there were three major pieces in the car that were faulty and were also misaligned. Though they are revamping the whole alignment of this car he has assured me that I will get a new one, which he will personally walk through.

I would advise anyone with these kind of issues to contact the top management without any hesitation. I felt that their response is immediate and effective.

Tesla actually responded within 24 hours. It did not take a few days.

For those who were looking for a more detailed response and timeline of events: I sent the email out explaining our trouble a little before midnight. A little after 5 am the next morning I got a response from JG saying that he would look into it. At around 10 am another note saying that they are working on resolving the issue. By 330 pm we had the loaner and promise of an expedited delivery on our new car. As stated, the top management was very responsive. I understand that manufacturing and QC errors happen. Perfection is a work in progress. But sub par service from the staff has no excuse. The response from the top execs is what makes me respect them and the brand. At around 5 pm the head of manufacturing called. He accepted that the QA had failed in this case. Made no excuses. Really respect that. And this builds trust in the folks working for the Tesla brand. He promised to QA the new car himself this time before handing it to us.

And more updates: Car was promised on Aug 22nd. On the 21st we got an email saying that it was not ready. So rescheduled. Aug 30th and we finally got it!!! Thoroughly inspected it thanks to nickjhowe's list. The staff was very professional. They told us that Tesla modified some protocols after our experience. We told them that that is what we were hoping for aside from a "perfect" automobile :). We are very happy with car and the service. The delay did work out in a way because we were able to add parking sensors. Got a follow up email from JG asking us if it was satisfactory. LOVING IT! Go Tesla!!

tobi_ger | 25. Juli 2013

This is certainly not the happiest day for you, sorry to hear that.

But why did you not go with #2 (take car, refit later) especially when you do not have one anymore?

I think the TM people will do whatever they can within their power to correct the faults as soon as possible, under the circumstances.

Sidenote 1: the total build-time per car is not 6 weeks, but rather one week. It's the overall production line queuing and delivery process that in the end account for 6 weeks, afaik.

Sidenote 2: a loaner was never promised to be available for pre-delivery.

AmpedRealtor | 26. Juli 2013

Because its a bummer accepting a vehicle that has obvious fit and finish issues. I would be mad, too. They don't have any inventory vehicles to sell you?

toby_wan_kenoby | 26. Juli 2013

You did the right thing not taking the car !!!
In the longrun you would not have been able to look at the car and not be remembered of the fact that it had/has quality issues (some of which you might not even had a chance to discover)

I have read on the VIN# thread that people received their cars 3 1/2 weeks after completing the selection process. So you should be getting a NEW replacement car within a month. Keep pressing Tesla.

If you have a well built car in a month then in my eyes it was well worth it.

Keep trying with Tesla about the one month gap in mobility and see if they are willing to accomodate if you escalete the issue.

Good luck.

xradr | 26. Juli 2013


Soooo sorry about your crappy experience. I know you're probably not in the mood for it, but consider taking it up the chain. If you're not getting the responsiveness and professionalism Tesla expects of itself, take it all the way to george blankenship.

gblankenship AT teslamotors . com

I know they will have more and more growing pains as they continue to build out and add workers. That doesn't excuse sloppy work and I believe they will do everything they can to make it right.

Jean PierreD | 26. Juli 2013

NO, that should not be Tesla; it is not the kind of experience to attend from a carmaker, reservations holders have supported at their own risk during years ...
we, hundreds of clients, should post claims to headquarters and get excuses from Tesla
and after excuses, forget!.

pimp-boy | 26. Juli 2013

I don't understand those people on the forum that state "yea, you should have taken it." Why the hell would you want a brand new car that has "never been driven" and assembled sloppily, with damage that needs to be ripped apart to fix it then put back together? Glad your standards are pretty low and easy to please.

Anyways, what I don't understand is why would Tesla present a car to you w/o the quality control that should have been done before delivering? Either the bad batch of people that don't have passion or care about their job is a thorn in Tesla's side. Elon needs to get rid of those people or train them better. People that take pride in their work.

Tâm | 26. Juli 2013

According to VP of Manufacturing Gilbert Passin, it takes three to five days to build a Model S from raw materials.

earlyretirement | 26. Juli 2013

I'm really sorry to hear this happened to you. It's one of the reasons why I wanted to wait until next year to buy one but couldn't resist and ordered.

I recently went to a Tesla group meet up where there was a Tesla service tech there and he said sometimes the cars come in that night for a delivery the next morning. They REALLY need to do a quality control check first to make sure the car is presentable with EVERYTHING working.

Yes, the car is cool but we as Tesla owners must always remain objective. It's good to be quick to point out all the cool things that the company is doing right. But we must be there quick to point out the things the company is doing wrong too.

Only then will the company be around for the long haul. Asking a customer to accept a car that obviously had quality control issues is NOT sound.

This was one of my fears of selling my car before the closing and taking delivery of the car. I think I will wait until after I see that the car is fine with no quality control issues.

Mark K | 26. Juli 2013

Ravikanth - very frustrating, particularly after so much anticipation and preparation.

Absolutely appropriate to reject the car, and ask for expedited delivery of an undamaged car that matches your order spec.

My guess is that something damaged the car after production. The welding and assembly robots a far more precise than could account for that much misalignment.

What was sorely lacking in the delivery staff was a reasonable modicum of empathy for the customer's understandable concerns and disappointment.

The man just spent $90,000 and was asked to start his relationship with damaged goods, and then sign up for weeks of hassle to get it fixed. It should take no more than 5 seconds for the boots on the ground to recognize that this was untenable. No one would willingly pay to take on a mess.

GB, don't wait for this guy to chase you down. Ownership should quickly reach out to him and make this right.

Ravikanth - once this is rectified, I can personally attest that you will get extraordinary joy from this car.

This is a case study for TM employee training, and ownership should deconstruct what went wrong.

I am reminded of an aphorism from Winston Churchill:

"America always gets it right ....Eventually".

Tesla is a rare company that honestly has a soul. They are serious and sincere about their mission. Even when they sometimes get it wrong, they don't give up. They truly want to do right, and they will.

RZippel | 26. Juli 2013

I think customers need to treat Tesla like any other manufacturer and not give them a coolness or hype factor bonus. I will examine my MS closely and if I am not satisfied it will stay in the shop and I will not release the payment. Good to live in a civil law country where contracts can't void rights...

negarholger | 26. Juli 2013

Sorry to hear about your experience. If the body isn't put together correctly I think the only choice you have is to reject the car. My car also came out of the factory with a minor defect (airbag) and after barely a week of ownership the car was sitting in service for the rest of the month and I went through very colorful emotions.

What Tesla management does know they can't fix, so my advice would be to send a nice note to GB
(a) describing your problem with the workmanship ( if you have pictures it would help)
(b) why wasn't this spotted at final inspection
(c) ask for a faster replacement car build ( the DS or saleperson is not authorized to do so, GB is )
(d) voice your disappointment mildly

I work in manufacturing making about 2 million parts a day... some will not be perfect. Customer feedback is very important. When a bad part shows up at the customer all I can say "I am sorry" and replace it. So the key is to catch it before it goes to the customer. When I took my current job I had hourly customer complaints, then it went to daily, weekly, monthly and now I have not had a single one in 18 month... I feel kind of bored now in a good way, but without the customer feedback I would have never reached that point.

Carefree | 26. Juli 2013

I would go as far as tweeting Elon about this. It is not acceptable for ANY manufacturer to deliver a defective product, esp. Tesla.

Fred O | 26. Juli 2013

You're were right in not accepting a brand new car with this level of flaws. And Tesla should give you a loaner while waiting for a new one to be produced because they are in the wrong. After repairing the car they could use it as a loaner for other customers.

lolachampcar | 26. Juli 2013

Never accept a new item with a significant or material defect. It does you no good and it gives the line a chance to cover up a significant issue (and thus not address it).

WRT to "tweeting" this, honey works better than a sledge hammer.

eddiemoy | 26. Juli 2013

hmmm.... when did u order the car? i dont see your vin on the tracking sheet...

eddiemoy | 26. Juli 2013

also a quick search reveals you never posted here before. story kind of hard to believe.

Mathew98 | 26. Juli 2013

Let's give the OP the benefit of the doubt. As other threads also indicated that most owners/soon to be owners will not post unless there is a problem.

I took delivery of my MS last month with three known (minor) defects that I caught prior to driving out of the SC. This is the first model year production so I'll cut TM some slack.

However, it didn't seem like the Quality Assurance department or the delivery specialist took final inspection prior to the delivery because these were fairly obvious defects for my car.

I still haven't brought my car to the service center due to the combination of
- waiting for the parts,
- availability for a MS loaner
- service center appointment.

With that said, I have been driving the most awesome piece of gadget on four wheels for the last few weeks and wouldn't trade anything for it. Well, I might trade up to a loaded loaner...

randyy | 26. Juli 2013

@Eddie, enough with the conspiracy theorist stuff. It's super likely, QA problems are not un-heard of. Most people don't post on forums until they have a problem.

tobi_ger | 26. Juli 2013

Please indulge my question about the observed fit issues with the OP's car, especially the outside/panels/roof:
with the heavy automatization of production, are those issues basically programming errors of the robots' movements/arm rotations (where a tenth of a degree in angular movement can make a huge difference) or positioning differences of the lifted car at each station?
Could the same issues end up in a row of cars (e.g. for a specific shift)?
Thanks for any insight/clarification.

rsigman | 26. Juli 2013

I wonder what the "Final inspection, prep, and coordination $180.00" fee is for, if not to prevent such poor customer service experiences.

bobby.clark | 26. Juli 2013

Not sure about the rest of you, but I don make it a common practice to purchase broken new cars. WTF. I take delivery of my MS on the 13th. If my thumb fits between any seam in the metal... my head will explode. I would not have left that factory without a loaner MS under my ass. Lets just say my reaction/response would be newsworthy.

These kinds of mistakes by Tesla are opportunities for this company to build a namesake for itself. You melt the defective car, give the guy a loaner, follow up with phone call answering any concerns the customer might have. Three weeks later you deliver a car that changes the automotive landscape.

Then, EVERYONES HAPPY. How much would that cost Tesla ? How much would that cost Tesla to have a truly pleased customer expressing, every chance they get, how this company does things right. How this company demands excellence. How this company truly cares about customer satisfaction.

I own a small business. Lets just say, if I ran it like this, I wouldn't be in the market for a Tesla Model S.

RedShift | 26. Juli 2013

Stop with the inane conspiracy theories.

He posted a VIN#, isn't that enough?

info | 26. Juli 2013

Sorry to hear that you had a problem. The complaints you have aren't minor and I, too, think you did the right thing in leaving as you came---carless. My guess is that with a polite request you should get either a loaner or a rental. I had a slight problem with mine when I left the factory and took it because I was told that since I came on a Saturday, no tech was available to do the repair. When I took it into the service center on Monday I was provided with a rental, a perfectly good ICE. I had only had my car two days and I dreaded using the gas car. My car is in service now and I have a loaner. I specifically waited to repair some issues until there was a Model S loaner available.

Tesla can get you another car within a month and a month's rental can be had for around $500. This is a small price to pay for a happier (not happy) customer. I would be amazed if this isn't offered. There may even be a service center near where you live that could loan you a car.

The problem is that Tesla is the only game in town. If you don't like your Mercedes there's always Audi, Bmw or Jag. Don't like your Tesla? Volt? Leaf? I don't think so. On the other hand, you are more important to Tesla than they are to you. I can't believe I'm saying this and everyone who has heard me talk about this car would doubt the truth of the following, but you CAN live without this car. (I can't but you can). If Tesla's cars aren't up to snuff, the service has to make up for it.

My car has had a couple of things that would have put me in the PITA category but the service staff has taken such good care of me, I look forward to something going wrong so I can be pampered.

The bottom line: Start over. Get a new car. Ask for a rental until they make your car. Too bad you didn't have this problem last month, I would have loaned you my old Mercedes until the car came. Once you have your car you'll be forgiving of most imperfections. Even supermodels get pimples now and then.

slr_pwrd | 26. Juli 2013

If it is true that only owners can create a privte thread, I encourge everyone to do it for issues with the car on or after delivery.

It authenticates the story and is more helpful to owners than others. When it is posted as private, I tend to read those threads exclusively.

cfOH | 26. Juli 2013

Wow, that's not a way to start a relationship with a customer. I hope they can get you a new, and correct, car asap. ravikanth even reading these responses? He's been AWOL since leaving the original post.

eddiemoy | 26. Juli 2013

i don't know, doesn't fit the mold. most people who order it come here and participate in the threads. countless people have provided their vin's in the vin thread. i know i have.

this is the first post from this guy. so for the last 6 weeks since he has ordered, he's been looking at this forum but not participated in a single thread? nothing of interest?

also the thing about the pano roof, a robot take picture and based on picture aligns the roof.

like i said, hard to believe. not conspiracy theory, just seems suspicious.

if i was him, this wouldn't be the first thing i do, the first thing i would do is try to go up the chain, even tweeting elon. if this is really the case with all these huge flaws in the car, management should know about it. especially jerome.

mumanoff | 26. Juli 2013

As a soon to be owner, these discrepancies are difficult to believe in light of their magnitude and having had the chance to watch the production process videos. Also difficult to accept the "attitude" of the Tesla employee's based on my interaction as well as the numerous posts of praise that I have seen. If this is indeed what has happened then I wait for delivery with some trepidation.

garcilamd | 26. Juli 2013

That really sucks! I would have done the same thing and not accepted delivery as well. It seems like such a no brainer solution that they should expedite a new car to resolve the situation. Personally I think you should escalate the issue. I would call Tesla and I'd be surprised if corporate office didn't bend over backwards to help.

I had a very minor misalignment issue with the rear hatchback but luckily there are rubber stoppers that can be easily adjusted to fix the issue. Unfortunately, your issues seem much more severe. I wish you the best of luck. Once you start driving it, you will realize how much of a game changer this car is.

rtb | 26. Juli 2013

I think you made the right choice--imagine the defects you didn't see. Defects happen, but the response given was horrible. Tesla should use this as a case study on what not to do.

jt19jt | 26. Juli 2013

Wow...sorry to hear of your experience. It makes me a little worried! My VIN is pretty close to yours (5YJSA1CN9DFP15689) and is being delivered next Thursday! I will definitely inspect my car more thoroughly than I think I otherwise would have.

cybrown | 26. Juli 2013

Mine is 15736 and I take delivery next Thursday as well (in Rockville - jt19jt where are you?). I'll report back here on any similar issues.

Ravikanth | 26. Juli 2013


Thanks for all your support and feedback. I have sent an email to the executive staff including Mr. Elon Musk. Is Twitter the best way to get a message across to him?

For the non believers and conspiracy theorists, I am not a ghost and yes I am real. I live and work in Redwood City. I was at the Tesla factory yesterday (Thursday 25th at 2:00 pm). I also had a tour of the factory and the much famed robotic assembly line along with my friends. VIN 5YJSA1CN7DFP15772 was the car that was offered to me. I dealt with the following individuals at Tesla - Oksana, Tyler, Nick and Mike. Some were definitely nicer than others. My email is You can contact me if you still have any doubts about my existence or check with Tesla with the information I have given you.

Just because I have not posted on this forum before does not mean that I am not real. Every one has a first post and this is mine. More importantly I want to make sure that others are aware of the faults that Tesla can have. I've even disclosed the VIN# so that a potential buyer does not get stuck with this defective piece.

Ravikanth | 26. Juli 2013

tobi_ger- No, Tesla did not promise a loaner pre delivery but they actually gave us the fobs and told us that the car was ours now. Don't know at what point you consider the car "delivered".

eddiemoy- we ordered the car in early June of this year. Posting it on this forum was the second thing I did. The first was to email the executives.

nickjhowe | 26. Juli 2013

Definitely fire a note straight to GB. Every Tesla exec I've spoken to would be horrified by this story.

eAdopter | 26. Juli 2013

There is no excuse for Tesla to put you through this. Please keep us posted. If at some point you decide more "noise" is needed, let us know and we can all send an e-mail to GB, and keep this thread alive for visibility.

My car had multiple issues but TM Service has provided great support so far. However, I've had major issues with the "corporate" side and absolutely understand your frustration. Again, please keep us posted.

jt19jt | 26. Juli 2013

@cybrown...I'm in the Seattle area and will take delivery at the Bellevue Service Center. I'll report any problems as well. Also, you should print out the delivery checklist that I found in another TM Forum thread. It's very detailed and has links to other useful threads.

SamO | 26. Juli 2013


Actually GB isn't in charge of the service centers. Jerome Guillen is and I would also email him. I think that if you HAD taken delivery, you would have received a loaner from a service center.

Not arguing with what they told you, but the SC's have gone pretty far out of the way to help owners.

Makes sense you didn't take delivery under the circumstances.

Elon responds on twitter but @teslamotors is also VERY RESPONSIVE and I would expect a phone call within the hour if you tweet to them.

phat78boy | 26. Juli 2013

I'm set to pick up my car in 1-2 weeks...I would defintely have done the same thing. In my opinion, you did the right thing. If I was you right now, every executive in Tesla would know my name. The phone calls and emails wouldn't stop until I got the car I ordered in the perfect condition expected.

Ravikanth | 26. Juli 2013

I did include and so far he is the only one that has responded with an email to say that he is looking into this immediately.

carlk | 26. Juli 2013

They should have given you a loaner. I hope they finally do. The car you rejected would be an appropriate one. They could fix it later and use it or sell it as a demo.

RedShift | 26. Juli 2013


Good luck with that man. Sucks that your dream car was in this way. Rest assured, exec attention will help your situation, I am sure.

Your dream car will thrill you soon! Please be patient!

Owner for 4 months, and will not trade with a Bentley if offered!

Mark K | 26. Juli 2013

Ravikanth - Jerome is the man for this job. Very encouraging that he responded so quickly. Please let us know how this gets resolved.

machmike | 26. Juli 2013

I gotta say the "i don't believe you are real" people are starting to really d-bag up these forums. Its getting old people. Take it private. Regardless of what you think the value is, its lowering the bar. I would expect a different approach from grown adults.

on topic.

I really hope your experience gets better. I've had the same issues with previous large budget items I have had delivered. I had an OTARI concept 1 digital console delivered broken to my studio. With a repair window of 90 days. I was less than happy and my behavior was nowhere near as civilized as yours. You have been quite composed between your experience and the d-bags who have questioned your authenticity.


nickjhowe | 26. Juli 2013

I suggested GB (and still do) because the start of the problem was at the original sales "The sales agent gave us two options..."

The initial sales experience was sub optimal, so GB ought to know.

EMDoc | 26. Juli 2013

Ravi -

I know Tesla will help you make things right. Growing pains. I was one of the first to bring up the issue with the alcantara headliner not being on my P85. A couple of issues still being worked on, but Elon and the team has been quite responsive as others have noted. Once you have the car, you will not trade it for anything. I am willing to deal with the issues (some expected, some not expected) as the company is set to change the game as apple did, and in an environmentally friendly manner.

Also glad you did not accept the car...I wish I had noticed the headliner upon delivery. Best of luck and you will enjoy the car when it gets to you.

And people really need to stop with the conspiracy theories...ridiculous.

hademarco | 26. Juli 2013

If you gave them the checks, you should cancel them. They gave you the fob so it appears to them that they delivered you the car. Make sure you get a brand new car as well.

mrspaghetti | 26. Juli 2013

@eddiemoy +1

Ravikanth | 26. Juli 2013

Again, thank you for your support.

I did include GB in the email. JG and his team are responding. Nothing from GB.

Devin B | 26. Juli 2013

I sold my leaf last week and am waiting a month for my S. I am using Getaround to have a car until then. (I actually got a Leaf).

I hope Tesla steps up and gives you a loaner or does something to make this right for you!

eddiemoy | 26. Juli 2013


apologies, but at first seemed too unbelievable that they let so many issue go not caught in the qc process. but good to hear you are getting response from jerome so quickly. he is in charge of service not george.

i'm picking up mine next friday. i have my checklist ready and let the everyone if there were issues with quality.

please keep us posted on your progress.