Love the car, but the delivery process is broken.

Love the car, but the delivery process is broken.

So received my car last week, and I love it, but wow what a bad delivery experience...wrote it up for a little blog site I contribute to...

runswithscissor... | March 4, 2013

I had a great delivery experience. Car arrived 2 weeks early. I got multiple contacts from DS. The car was fully charged. All equipment was included. The DS spent an hour going over the car and instructions(my wife was not a prepared as I). It would be interesting to find out what percentage of the deliveries were a poor experience, and if it is location specific. My delivery was Portland, Or.

Pungoteague_Dave | March 4, 2013

OKAY, so the tags showed up by mail directly from the VA DMV today. So I am now legal.

For those who want to blame the states and complex regulations, I will offer the following. Neither Maryland, Virginia, nor DC have onerous titling and registration systems. Years ago I wrote the TARIS computer system manuals (Titling And Registration System) for the state of MD as a between-jobs consultant. The reuqirements for dealers aren't complex, and for most transactions, these agencies work very well and reasonably efficiently. However, it IS dealer-service-oriented bacause that's how most people buy cars, and except for Teslas, it is how ALL people buy new cars.

These jusriductions have set up systems where the dealers can work as direct online agents for the state, and can issue plates right here, right now for any new car buyer, and most used cars buyers. There are also titling agents who, for a fee,will walk paperwork through the MVA (Maryland), DMV (Virginia), etc.

Regulation of auto sales, like insurance, public accountancy, law or accounting practice, even hair cutting or nail trimming, is by constitutional law, a state responsibility. Every state has its rules, and most are set up to do what its legislature sees as necessary to protect the public. In some cases, they also do things that defend (or pander to if you wish) local businesses. I railed for many years against the Maryland laws that forbid internet sales and shipping of wine from my favorite west coast vineyards, and helped lead the charge in Annapolis that had that law overturned two years ago. So I understand the knee-jerk reaction that some have about states and dealership groups being theatened by Tesla, and fighting them, as we have seen in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Hopefully TM will prevail. However, that is not what this is about.

MD, DC, VA, and the other states where TM is having problems with licensing and regulation, are perfectly willing to issue tags expeditiously for Tesla cars. All TM has to do is understand and follow their fairly basic procedures, which unfortunately, vary due to state evolution and history. This means that it requires local knowlege, just as being a local lawyer or accountant requires state-level testing and licensing. I am a saltwater fisherman, and am usually reasonably successfull, but I don't go fishing in a new are without local guidance. I sometimes will even hire a local captain on my own boat to learn what he knows about which canyon has what, where, which baits and methods work in that locale, etc. I believe that Tesla lacks this local knowlege and has bitten off more than it can chew here.

This is a much more complex issue than sales tax. Even Amazon is having a devil of a time gearing up to collect state and local sales taxes, and it can spend many millions on the task. TM does not and will not sell enough cars in most states to justify having staff in every state to handle each jusdiction's(and sometimes county-level) specific regulatory compliance. For example, in Virginia, we have more intense testing and inspection requirements for car owners in the three counties around DC, compared to the more rural countires. There are logical reasons and a history for the different requirements (not that I agree) that have nothing to do with making life difficult for out of state car sales businesses. How can any business based in California, that insists on doing all regulatory paperwork remotely, begin to comply with that? Further, because it is not a registered dealer in most states, TM probably cannot ever qualify to be a direct-issuer.

Virtually every large car dealer has at least one full time person to do nothing but titling, insurance and registration. TM is trying to do this for the entire country with a handfull of people located in California - staff who cannot just drop by the state agency and resolve a problem or expedite a transaction immediately, as any car dealer here can do.

I do not know what the answer is, as it is emblematic of a 'new' sales paradigm that isn't fitting well with existing titling and registration infrastructure. That fact is that it took 31 days from delivery to have my tags, plus a future court date to tell a judge why, and the state had no role in creating either the delay or the lack of a local temp tag (or the failure to have an inspection sticker). If my car had been impounded (next step according to the cop who pulled us over twice), TM would have needed a lawyer to recover my car and defend me in court. TM needs to figure this out, not the states.

PBfoot, three of my four police stops were in MD, one inside Baltimore City limits, so you may just be lucky so far. Perhaps the word is getting out among police. I did ask each officer to suggest that an internal memo be circulated alerting the state troopers and local police and sheriff's offices that our temp CA slips of paper are legal, no matter how alien to them.

On a brighter note, receipt of tags allowed us to re-register the car online in VA this evening for our new plates - "SHOCKS". We own an oyster acquaculture farm, and I also obtained "SHUCKS" for the F150 pickup sittng next to it.


Pbfoot | March 4, 2013

Guess I was lucky then. Makes up for the time Balt. police impounded my car claiming that their records said my car wasn't registered because I had sold it (totally wrong).

I thought about getting vanity plates but my DS said they weren't sure how to handle it and that it would potentially screw up the process. So I stuck with standard issue tags.

Glad you got your tags.

negarholger | March 4, 2013

P_P - glad hear you got your tags.

I think TM was a little naive to tackle all 50 states at once at the very beginning. When I was looking at cars last year I wanted to look at a Ford CMax Energi but could find any locally. Later I learned that Ford was gradually releasing the model by region. That kind of approach would have made it easier for TM.

CC | March 4, 2013

My over-all experience was excellent, I had no issues, may be I was lucky.

My product specialist kept in touch the best she could, usually answering my e-mails within 1-2 hrs or at most 1 day. She told me they can barely keep up because the factory is producing the cars so quickly.

My delivery specialist was great. I went to the PA service center to pick up the car. He spend 3 hrs with us (4:30pm to 7:30pm), answered all my + wife's concerns and questions, even played with my 5 and 2 yr old sons while I was going through the Model S check list from this forum. When I noticed it was so late, I offered to buy dinner for him, he says he is very hungry, only had 2 donuts for lunch, but he refused the offer since he has to finish paper work before ending the day. Can't ask for more.

Brian H | March 5, 2013

I think that's the rule, and the problems are the exception.

Brian H | March 5, 2013

Note to all future delivery recipients getting DS service: Arrange to have a pizza or two delivered when they're there! All-dressed.

Filipe Portugal | March 5, 2013

some one didnt get any "NO" when they where groing up...picky picky

RyanMN | March 5, 2013

I received my car last night sans mobile charging cable and paper plates :( Looks pretty, but sadly it looks pretty in my garage today.

Alex K | March 5, 2013

@Pungoteague_Dave | MARCH 4, 2013: There are also titling agents who, for a fee,will walk paperwork through the MVA (Maryland), DMV (Virginia), etc

Yes, most states have these and I don't understand why Tesla didn't opt to use them where appropriate. They could have also treated the purchase as an out of state purchase and sent you a MSO and had you take care of paying the taxes and obtaining the registration.

Vawlkus | March 5, 2013

I think Tesla made an assumption that knowing how the process works in CA, they figured the differences between states & locales would be minimal, and this is proving not to be the case. More research would probably have flagged this, but Tesla is only human at it's core, and they will screw up occasionally.

FWIW, I don't think the delivery system is broken, given we have a small number of bad deliveries being posted about, but there's no arguing that there's definite room for improvement. The question is how quickly can Tesla adapt to the pressure to perform that it's put itself under? Only time is gonna answer that one.

In the meantime, while we do need to know where Tesla has fallen short or flubbed stuff, we don't need to sensationalize it. That's a job for FOX news and their ilk.

Brian H | March 5, 2013

A bad delivery is about 100x as likely to generate a post here.

Alex K | March 5, 2013

@Vawlkus | MARCH 5, 2013: I think Tesla made an assumption that knowing how the process works in CA, they figured the differences between states & locales would be minimal, and this is proving not to be the case.

Didn't Tesla also sell Roadsters before? I would think they had gained some experience with those, so they would have gone into this with their eyes wide open.

Vawlkus | March 5, 2013

Not in the same volume, or at the same pace as they are with the S. I mean, they've already produced close to double the number of S as compared to the total Roadster production run, and they did it in a couple of months instead of a couple of years.

agiangone | April 11, 2013

Took delivery at 8:00 AM this morning. Unfortunately that was 6 days after the initial delivery date which was pushed 3 times.
Logistic is definitely something Tesla needs to improve on.

Home delivery also detracts from the experience because the trucks are so large that often times they can make it onto a side street. I took delivery on a busy street during the busiest time of the day right next to a High School.

While the truck was closed and the car wrapped in a white elastic cloth, it had a small scratch on the driver door and a swirl on the hood. The door was dirty and there were scuff marks on the inside as the truck driver had to get in from a very tight opening.
The floor was dirty as well as the paper covering it had been pushed up.
The really sad part were a couple of black spots on the tan leather (which I now regret having picked) on the back seat. How that happened is surely not the truck driver fault.

All these small issues could have been avoided if the car had been delivered to a center, prepared for delivery to the customer and then given as one would expect from any other car manufacturer.

The good news is that the delivery specialist (Aron), was extremely accommodating and assured me that all of the issues will be addressed very soon by stopping by the delivery center where they can get the scratches, scuff marks and most importantly the black spots on the leather, removed.

The car is great otherwise and can't wait to drive it some more tomorrow.