Model 3

Delivery experience: Should have rejected delivery

edited November -1 in Model 3
Hi all,

Yes, this is my first post. Yes, I have pictures. :)

I took temporary delivery of my M3 a week and a half ago at Owings Mills, MD. I'm a Day 1 (standing in line) reservation holder, was invited in the spring to configure, but was waiting on the AWD info. Once I knew that, I was ready to configure for that and then realized it would put me over the limit for the MD rebate based on my current configuration, so I decided to configure for the RWD and save the money for a Model Y if I liked the M3.

Delivery was scheduled for 7/21 and everything looked to be on track. Thanks to many of you whose posts I've been reading for months, I knew what to look for. We were disappointed that they made us sign the paperwork before actually checking out the car, but they assured us that we could rip up the paperwork if there was a problem. We inspected the car (even using a flashlight) in the VERY bright showroom, and were very disappointed to see a badly misaligned (sunken on one side) hood and numerous very small scratches on the hood and trunk. We were given the option to refuse delivery, or let the SC fix the problems which they assured us could be fixed. We really thought that the hood was easily fixable and that the scratches were minor and should be fixable, so we accepted the car.

We had 3 great days with the car before returning it to the SC. They fixed the misalignment, but it had to go to the body shop for the "paint defects." Then they said that the body shop said they had to PAINT the trunk and a panel next to the trunk over the window to fix it. I was shocked and kind of sick because were really thought the scratches were minor, and we would NOT have accepted delivery had we thought it needed to be painted. I was afraid that maybe they had done something to make it WORSE which required painting, so my husband checked it out at the body shop. Turns out it had to be painted not because of the scratches, but because there were CHIPS out of the paint on the trunk and where it meets the panel over the window. We never would have accepted it had we seen the chips. I haven't seen it, so I can't say how we missed it, other than it was so bright in the showroom it made it hard to really see (as counterintuitive as that sounds) and we were focusing more on the horizontal surfaces and less on the vertical ones. I really don't know how we missed CHIPS.

The body shop also said there were other defects on the trunk paint, and painting it would fix that. (But in the bright sunlight, my husband had trouble even seeing those defects - I think the metallic blue hides these imperfections somewhat). SC said this was really the only option to make this right. I asked if they could give me a new car, and they could not because I took delivery. At that point we didn't think we had any options other than to have the two pieces painted.

It's still in the shop and I hope to get it on Friday.

This has been terribly disappointing and really makes me feel sick. The SC has been great and we are hoping Tesla will make this right for us. But we are really kicking ourselves and think we should have rejected the delivery (and would have had we seen the paint chips). Part of me thinks this is terrible of Tesla and that I'd prefer "good" over "fast" and the other part of me acknowledges that this is what happens when you buy something as new and revolutionary as the M3 and we knew that risk when we signed up. We want to support Telsa and what they are trying to do, but we really wish they'd realize that sending out cars with flaws like this might hurt them more in the long run than selling lots of cars fast will help them in the short run.


Trunk scratches (note that these are MUCH more apparent in the photos than to to the eye):
Hood scratches:
Hood scratches:
Paint chips:

One suggestion I have for others - take delivery on a weekday when the SC is open. That way if there are paint issues, they can try to correct them before you have to decide on taking delivery or not.

Bumming in MD...


  • edited August 2018
    What is your VIN? I am waiting on my blue RWD and it is a 59XXX.

    Those issues would make me sick to my stomach. I hope Tesla makes it right for you.
  • edited August 2018
    Ugh. I feel your pain. They know they have paint issues on delivery but they just can't seem to get them solved. It is sad. They are not keeping up with the volume ramp. Too many new employees being pushed hard to meet production goals. They are trying hard to be responsive but are just overwhelmed. They are, though, delivering a lot of cars with no issues. We just don't hear about those....
  • edited August 2018
    That's just terrible...
  • edited August 2018
    To afcop2: My VIN is 31XXX. Maybe yours will be fine. The blue is spectacular!

    To M34ME: I really wonder how many "perfect" deliveries aren't really perfect. The scratches on my trunk only showed up in the photo but not to the naked eye (I was trying to take a picture of something else that is hard to describe and which didn't show up on the photo). The ones on the hood only showed up if you looked at them with the ceiling lights reflecting on the hood in a certain way. For the 3 days we had it, it was outside (still working on making space in the garage), and raining, and when it wasn't raining, we couldn't see the scratches at all even when looking for them. In other words, even though there were many scratches, they were really hard to see. So how many others have them but didn't notice them? If it hadn't been for this forum, I wouldn't even have looked. I have never inspected the paint of a new car that I bought the way I did the M3.

    Thanks for your support. I'll post an update after I get the car back.
  • edited August 2018
    Can you actually feel the scratches with your fingernails? If not some polish will take them right out. If you can feel it it may have significantly gouged into the clear coat, warranting a repaint. Either way it's unfortunate that it was not fixed before your delivery :(
  • edited August 2018
    The paint chips would be a deal breaker for me. The scratches look like they could be bugged out by a good detail shop. Sorry you’re going through this. :(
  • edited August 2018
    I'm sorry to hear about your experience. I feel like someone's kicked me in the stomach the first times I've found something wrong with the finish on my cars in the past.

    Paint chips are inexcusable. To me, some of those scratches look like swirl marks that may have occurred when they prepped your car (washed, dried, made it look clean and sparkly new). Obviously, no one can be 100% sure how they occurred.

    My last brand new car (Audi), I asked that they do not wash or prep the car before I took delivery. Shortly after delivery, I took it to a detailer for a new car detail where they did minor paint correction, etc. I plan to do the same when my D-day arrives. I suggest you consider doing the same. I also live in MD so I know a few if you are interested.
  • Wow the blue is beautiful, makes me wonder if I made the right choice with the red. Chips are crazy horrible, I feel terrible for you and your husband - hope they make it right fast and this becomes a distant vague memory as you enjoy your car for years to come!
  • edited August 2018
    Ok...from what I've read here the issue is paint....

    Not functionality... Paint.

    You wanted to refuse delivery for Paint? Nothing else. Paint. Which they're repairing & making right for you. Please correct me if I have it wrong so far.

    I'm going to relay something here....I took delivery of a Model X on June 29 which I assure you is DOUBLE the cost of the Model 3. My car had paint imperfections too. I paid my detailer to fix my paint flaws.

    You've read about it & admitted KNOWING the paint flaws in advance. Yet you still wish you had rejected the car?!?! Even though other than the paint WHICH IS BEING REPAIRED by Tesla, the car is functionally perfect?!?!

    This isn't a car company that's been making cars for 100 years. They're basically a decade old. You're working with them & they're making it right.

    C'mon man!! Enjoy your car!
  • edited August 2018
    @jjgunn, he said he only saw scratches on the hood and not paint chips. Found out about paint chips after accepting delivery.

    I think he is justified for how he feels. Not everyone has the money to take a brand new car for paint correction, nor should they expect to.

    I understand you took your imperfections as part of going with a start up car company, but when you drop that kind of money on a car, the paint shouldn’t look like it’s 5 years old.

    Tesla is branding themselves as a premium car company and delivering cars that need body and paint work on day 1 is definitely not a premium experience.

    OP, sorry to hear about your troubles. Hopefully, they will take it right.
  • edited August 2018
    At the core of your concern seems to be regret for taking delivery, correct? If it helps, there have been stories posted here before where the customer had problems such that the solution was not as simple as a paint job, or had a cost that Tesla declined to pay for because the issue was within "tolerance".

    Assuming the paint job is done properly it seems you will have a 100% car, for only the price of some time and a bit of [valid] disappointment, but no need for remorse about taking that particular car. It will likely be a good car, just with a war story associated to it to share with others.

    Good luck. Sorry you drew that short straw, but if this was happening on a high percentage basis, with the thousands of cars poring out of the factory it seems there would be a deluge of posts about it.

    Good luck and happy motoring!
  • edited August 2018
    @jjgunn Seems like you need a hug...
  • edited August 2018
    @jjgunn: Yes, the issue is one really bad mis-alignment and paint issues. As I stated, I didn't think the scratches were a deal breaker. I'm not an expert on paint, and maybe you can calm some of my fears with this, but my biggest fears are that 1) they won't be able to match the blue and 2) maybe a factory paint finish is better than an after factory finish. The body shop assured us that the paint wouldn't be a problem to match (and the SC has total faith in the body shop). I still don't know if we should worry about an after-market paint job, but the SC assured me that if it's a problem down the line (I'm mostly concerned that the panels will age differently) that they would make it right.

    So I guess I'd say we aren't worried about the paint; we are worried about the repainting consequences. (And I did enjoy the car - for 3 short days. It's a great car!)

    One reason I am posting this is to let others know my experience, and see what others (more knowledgeable than me about paint) think about it. If you have anything to say to make me feel less bad about this situation, then I welcome that. Sounds like some of you don't think this is a big deal, and that makes me feel a little better.

    @grahamcrackerscomics: I was torn between blue and red. I even held off ordering until I could see them both - we were vacationing in CA and flew out of San Jose, so we drove by the delivery center in Fremont and saw them side by side. The red is stunning also, but the blue had me at "metallic" and I'm more of a blue person than red. The blue
    doesn't look as stunning when not in bright sunlight, but in bright sunlight it is gorgeous. Red was our second favorite though, and I feel you can't go wrong with either!

    @conartist329: It was raining at delivery, and they dried the car off before we saw it, so it's possible that was where the scratches came from. Hopefully once we get it back, it will be perfect! But I am also interested in a ceramic coat, so if you have a detailer recommendation in MD, I'd be interested in hearing it. Although I must admit I'm hesitant to take advice from a stranger on the internet who goes by the name "Conartist329." :)

    @dt22cc: I agree with your point about cars needing work on day one being bad for business. I want Tesla to succeed. Having to fix these problems is absolutely the right thing for Tesla to do, but not having problems to fix is the better plan from a business perspective. I would have preferred that they took the time to do it right. I know they are under tremendous pressure to produce many cars, and I understand that. Again, I realized this when we signed up, but it's still a bummer when it happens to you.

    Thanks again for your support.
  • This is obviously subjective. But I would have happily taken delivery of the car despite the paint damage.

    Enjoy your car. Don’t stress over perfection (no automaker and no car on the road was perfect from the factory). Enjoy the rental they put you in.

    In my years as a technician and car enthusiast. Those should’ve been sanded and cut/polished to remove. Not repainted. The paint chip should’ve had touch up paint used and the sanded/cut/polished to blend in.

    Those pics don’t look like they needed an entire repaint
  • edited August 2018
    It's pretty clear to me that paint is an issue with recent deliveries. The good thing is it's easily correctable. A new paint job sounds like a good fix to me. Yes, it's a pain to have to wait, but let them take care of it. You would have ended up waiting longer if you rejected this one for another vehicle.
  • edited August 2018
    What bothers me the most is the ethics of trying to push cars on people with defects that have been clearly visible all the way back to the factory. Anyone the least bit detail-oriented along the chain would have seen this along the way and deliberately done nothing with the thought that the majority of those taking ownership probably won't notice and just take them as-is without requiring rework.

    All of these instances of people being told the car is ready only to be notified last minute that it ISN'T quite ready is evidence that these defects are sometimes being caught and fixed last minute, but the delivery centers should not be put in this position of having to play last-minute whack-a-mole as the cars pile up. There's really no free lunch here. Either the cars get built right (which takes time) or they get effectively "finished" in a body-shop near the point of delivery. The only way Tesla is circumventing this is that some percentage of cars with quality defects are being accepted by more forgiving buyers.
  • edited August 2018
    I really wonder how many people would have paint concerns if they hadn't heard about it on here and so approached like they had any other car they had bought rather than putting it under extreme scrutiny. Paint chips aside, I really wonder how many other manufacturers would stand up to the type of scrutiny being placed on these cars? I'll admit I fell victim to it too. I've never looked over a car as close as I did this one, and it didn't disappoint.
  • edited August 2018
    Mos- its just as likely the delivery center is causing these scratches when preparing cars for delivery because they are trying to churn them out fast.
  • edited August 2018
    @JE in MD
    Hello from a fellow Marylander! So sorry to hear your car had paint problems. We took delivery from Owings Mills in March, and luckily we didn’t have any such issues. I hope your car looks good as new when you get it back from the body shop. I agree with others that you’ll forget it was ever an issue down the road. By the way, I agree that the blue is stunning in the sun. I would’ve gone with blue if it were my choice, but our Model 3 is my wife’s, I already own a blue Tesla (Model S), and I agree that the red is also eye-poppingly gorgeous.

    Sadly, our 4.5 month old otherwise flawless gorgeous red Model 3 has suffered a couple minor mishaps (one my fault, one a family member’s) that require body and paint work. Would you mind sharing where Tesla sent your car for the paint work and whether you were happy with the results? We’re gonna need to find a capable place for work on ours soon.

    Best of luck, and let us know what you think of the rest of the car besides the cosmetics.
  • edited August 2018
    Oof yeah that sucks.
    I do think that rejecting it outright is a bit of a histrionic approach but hey.
    I hope that on our delivery Tuesday/Wednesday we have better luck and temper.
    Sympathy though!
  • edited August 2018
    If it is something that the SC will make right, and isn’t obviously structural, I will be taking my car absolutely.

    This isn’t even a question in my mind: there’s a legitimate problem, Tesla has acknowledged it, and Tesla is working to make it right.

    This is how properly functioning companies work. Perfection doesn’t exist, I’m sorry that is simply a fact of life. Scratches and detailing issues happen all over the place, the sunken hood who knows.

    But this isn’t just Tesla, I could label dozens of problems in shipping all sorts of things to me and it is all functionally the same: if it is a legit problem, and the company (Amazon, Wayfair to name two everyone has heard of) makes it right, I’m fine.

    As a result I see this as a positive not a negative... if Tesla weren’t fixing it then I’d be concerned, but taking ownership of the issue is right, and they’re handling it.

    I get it, emotionally nobody wants to be deprived of their new toy and I can empathize, but long term it isn’t going to rate and as such really isn’t worth worrying about. You will get your car back, and probably enjoy the hell out of it for however many years you keep it for and 10 years from now this isn’t going to be an issue for you OP, so don’t sweat it now.
  • edited August 2018
    "I really wonder how many people would have paint concerns if they hadn't heard about it on here and so approached like they had any other car they had bought rather than putting it under extreme scrutiny."

    The sole purpose of FUD is to turn people into basket cases.
  • edited August 2018
    [its just as likely the delivery center is causing these scratches when preparing cars for delivery because they are trying to churn them out fast.]

    While I hope they aren't scratching the cars with bad cleaning/polishing procedures I actually don't think surface-level scuff marks that would come out with a good polish are a big deal, although it's hard to tell how visible they are from the photos posted. I'm more concerned with chipped paint or panel-gaps (which seem to be getting less common but are still being reported here).

    For all of Tesla's rhetoric about increasing tolerances to, what was it, 10x industry average, I don't think defending the status quo on the basis of "ah, every other carmaker ships cars with paint chips" is consistent with Tesla's (we're BETTER than everyone else) hype. If you're gonna brag, you better follow through on it.
  • edited August 2018
    I had a paint defect and a ding in the second Model 3 we got. The first didn't have any issues. However the fact that Tesla has to take it in to a body shop to have some panels repainted is inconsequential to me. It's a car that's going to depreciate and experience wear and tear like any other. As long as the repair work is done correctly, it doesn't matter.

    The reality is that many, many cars are damaged in transit to car dealerships and the car dealerships have body shops fix them. It doesn't have to be reported nor disclosed. You could have had taken delivery of a brand new car with no blemishes in the past, but in the fact they were repaired prior to you purchasing them.
  • edited August 2018
    I may receive ridicule from what I've learned to appreciate on my short time on this forum, but I agree with mos's point here. Let's say that most cars Tesla produces are actually A average, but occasionally they produce a B, C, or D. The question is, if Tesla was your child, are you a parent who accepts B, C, or D average grades, or the one who sends your child back to toil harder? If your parents are/were like mine, you'd know that all the A's in the world don't make up for a B or C.

    I don't want a C average car.
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