Opinion to Elon Musk: improve craftsman, increase profit

Opinion to Elon Musk: improve craftsman, increase profit

I have inspected the interior of the refreshed Model S. The car is in the overall superior to the S550 and BMW 5, but unfortunately I still notice the interior craftsmanship is behind the competition. My humble suggestions to Tesla:

1) please make the craftsmanship interior equal or superior to the Benz and BMW. Look at the BMW 750 or Benz S550 and you can tell the material and quality is impressive. Obviously that is the least hi tech aspect of the car. That is just investment in the right supplier and labor to install components.

2) please increase profits of the company. It really seems Tesla could sell the base Model 3 for $39K (then people would still order more options anyway). The operational costs when compared with the junk C300 and BMW 3 still make the Tesla cars cost effective. Imagine if Tesla could make 20% profits in the Model 3 (I assume it is not). Company would thrive and continue your remarkable success. Please do not worry serving the cheap car market buyers since GM, Ford etc will be there to fulfill that role once Tesla remains successful and very profitable delivering quality Model 3 cars.

FelixMendeldog | May 11, 2016

Please, everyone advise Elon and the others at Tesla exactly how to run their company.

NKYTA | May 11, 2016

Oaky. Don't do what BMW does.

NKYTA | May 11, 2016

There was an EOM at the last of that. Silly angle brackets.

sp_tesla | May 12, 2016

Patience young grasshopper, CEO genius engineer will approve/grant your wishes of interior craftsmanship upgrade only if EV version of: BMW 750, Benz S550, Lexus LS500, Audi A8 will be offered, most likely within in the next 3-5 years.

PhillyGal | May 12, 2016

Tesla can't increase the base price of M3 at this point. They've already gone on record to a bajillion people around the world about $35k.

dsvick | May 12, 2016

@Felix - +10
Please, everyone advise Elon and the others at Tesla exactly how to run their company.

Bighorn | May 12, 2016

Take advice from crazy people on Internet forums. No offense, but these are shit ideas.

Red Sage ca us | May 12, 2016

MarlonBrown: As I've pointed out before, despite the perceived 'quality' of 'luxury' features found in Porsche Panamera, AUDI A8, BMW 7-Series, and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Tesla Model S outsells them all. The Model ≡ will likely do the same to A4, 3-Series, ATS, IS, XE, and Q50. Tesla Motors is not going to change their interior design schemes to mimic Victorian Era concepts of horse drawn elegance, exclusivity, and 'luxury' -- EVER. Tesla's cars are engineered, not 'crafted'. Maybe you should wait for Pagan I to make a fully electric sports sedan instead?

mos6507 | May 12, 2016

Different strokes for different folks. Some people like Victoran era concepts of luxury. Tesla can't be all things to all people. They're entitled to their taste. It's not a right or wrong thing.

Drdpharris | May 12, 2016

I am sure third parties will appear that will appoint your Tesla to the degree you wish. While I am a bit of a traditionalist, I would like to see a clean and functional interior in the M3.

MarlonBrown | May 12, 2016

Felix, very silly comment. A forum is about sharing our humble opinions. It is up to Elon to listen or not. Not you.

MarlonBrown | May 12, 2016

Mos6507, it is not about a taste when the doors are kind of clumsy. I believe this is more about getting the right supplier and investing in quality materials. I really appreciate the design and simplicity of the Tesla cars. I am specific saying about the craftsmanship that would simply blow Benz, BMW and the competition away if that item is improved.

Captain_Zap | May 12, 2016

I love the Model S doors! Don't change a thing!

monosodiumphosphate | May 12, 2016

Please, everyone advise Elon and the others at Tesla exactly how to run their company.

sp_tesla | May 12, 2016

"FelixMendeldog | May 11, 2016
Please, everyone advise Elon and the others at Tesla exactly how to run their company."

Does running a company involve Mfg what customers need or want?

Red Sage ca us | May 12, 2016

MarlonBrown: If by 'quality materials' you mean things that are thick, padded, and heavy -- that ain't gonna happen either. When you choose to build a car to aerospace engineering specification levels, that means you also attempt to reduce weight in any way possible while maintaining a strong structure. A Rolls-Royce is built to a different standard, one that values heft and thickness without regard to fuel economy or range.

Red Sage ca us | May 12, 2016

Yet another reminder and stuff:

As Mark K wrote, "When I shut the Model S door, the feeling it gave me was indeed very different, and yet somehow, strangely familiar. I thought to myself 'I know this sound.'

And then it dawned on me. That sound, that feel, that is how the cabin door feels on a G5. A super strong, yet super lightweight structure designed to do things ordinary doors could never do. Radically different from a common car door, but the way things are done on a $45 million jet."

"Then the virtues of the car became even more clear for me. The safest, most efficient sedan in the world was also built with the same engineering ethics found in the highest-end transportation machines made."

Captain_Zap | May 12, 2016

+1 RS and Mark K

FelixMendeldog | May 12, 2016

@MarlonBrown: is my comment as silly as advising Tesla to raise the base price of Model 3 after $35k was repeatedly promised and the entire world is watching? Because I really think that’s demonstrably sillier.

Drdpharris | May 12, 2016

Do you think the mix of aluminum and steel in the 3s will preserve the 'aircraft feel' described above?

otto.olsen | May 12, 2016

It's not the style or the design but the way everything is put together and the quality of material.

The S is in no way a luxury vehicle like the large Mercedes, BMW or Lexus. You pay for the performance and the technology and you pay too much because of R&D and be an early adopter. It will change, cost of the technical part goes down ,"quality" improves with a price that stay more or less the same.

For the 3, it's different and it will have the perceived "quality" of a $35k car, no more, no less.

Bill Korea | May 12, 2016

I've got a problem with the door hinges in the model S - they look cheap and primitive. But maybe I'm among the few who look at hinges. I hope the model 3 has a better design.

Red Sage ca us | May 13, 2016

Drdpharris: Yes. I expect laser precise attention to detail -- where it matters. Most of the things that are designed to exude 'luxury' are all just window dressing.

pfg: I appreciate nice things. If you have seen the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies...? There is a distinct difference between how underground homes for the Hobbits, treeborne dwellings for Elves, and the underground cities of Dwarves are designed. But they all exhibit a strong level of precise quality and absolute detail. As nice as they are, none of them belongs in a Tesla Motors product.

Bill Korea: I noticed, but I think they look strong and sturdy. I used to work for a German company that sold hinges of various sorts for use in architecture and cabinetry. You might be surprised how defensive manufacturers are of their patents regarding those hinge designs. I've mentioned before that when it comes to such things, Tesla Motors had to be very careful with the Model S. So they designed things from scratch, in the simplest manner possible when they couldn't acquire something from a vendor. The result may not have the same 'refined' quality to it, but it will certainly be lasting.

bj | May 13, 2016

I find the whole premise of the OP to be insulting to Tesla. I think they know how to run their company, they don't need free advice on what to do. And if the OP is so brilliant at running car companies, why hasn't Tesla hired him/her?

Badbot | May 14, 2016

Is free advice ever worth what it costs?

Red Sage ca us | May 14, 2016

ed: It usually costs far more to follow free advice than it does to ignore it.


Haggy | May 15, 2016

Tesla made it clear all along that it was never their goal to have an interior like a Mercedes, and that they don't consider the one in Mercedes superior but a matter of taste. Customers agree. There are complaints about cup holders and the lack of coat hooks. I don't much care for the sun visors and I would have preferred adjustable seat belt height in the B pillar. There are some who want map pockets. But none of that falls in the luxury segment. If customers were walking away from the showroom because they didn't like the interior, Tesla would have changed things. But customers have other priorities and Tesla does too.

As for price, I'm sure that Tesla will have a configuration at the $39K price point that will be the minimum for most but not everybody. Prior to mid 2014, the Model S had an optional technology package that about 99% of people got. So the price looked lower on paper, but it didn't keep people from buying the car. The small percentage of customers that bought the car without it, or bought it with the original 40 battery might not have bought the car at all, but it let Tesla publish a starting price that was relatively low compared to what most people paid. And it got them a few more sales.

I don't think Tesla always got it right when it came to deciding how to group or price options, and they had to make some adjustments, sometimes not long after features came out. They started off too low on the D option and that went up $1000 very quickly. They started off too high on the interior package when they dropped the tech package and made autopilot a chargeable feature, meaning they probably should have been charging for autopilot from the beginning and not charging for parts of the tech package. I'm sure that Tesla learned from all of this and will get things right with the Model 3, or end up changing things quickly if they find that orders don't coincide with expectations.

Badbot | May 15, 2016

I would like to see more Alacart choices. Some of the premium package items.

dsvick | May 16, 2016

@ed I would like to see more Alacart choices
I agree, I hate the way it's done now where you can't really get the sound system upgrade unless you also get these other 5 things you may or may not want. Want leather seats? They'll look good when viewed through the sun roof you also have to get with them.

topher | May 16, 2016


I am confused. I seem to be able to configure a car with just leather without a sunroof. Or the sound system with nothing else (though XM antenna seems to require a sunroof on the S). The only package appears to be the "premium upgrades package". Where are you getting theses requirements?

Thank you kindly.

dsvick | May 16, 2016

I was generalizing, and mostly referring to the current ICE manufacturers where everything is a "package" that often contains seemingly, unrelated things.

Rocky_H | May 17, 2016

@MarlonBrown, Regarding suggestion (1), I see this come up sometimes and have to remind people of this math of the costs of building a gas car versus an electric car. What is the cost of the part of the car that holds the fuel?

In a BMW or Mercedes: empty tank--$200.

In a Tesla: an array of over 7,000 high tech rechargeable lithium ion batteries, wired together in several firewalled compartments, liquid cooled, temperature monitored and controlled--about $20,000+

Huh. So it's pretty clear that those other gas car companies charging a similar price for the car had TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars extra to play with for fancy interior materials, advertising, hookers and blow, etc. How are they wasting all that extra money?

jfingas | May 17, 2016

I don't think MarlonBrown is wrong to want to offer feedback.

However... he's forgetting what Tesla is about.

It's not about replicating all the tropes of conventional luxury cars. Personally, I'm annoyed that people feel luxury cars "must" have leather and wood everywhere. It's a car, not a reading chair. It should look reasonably good and have solid build quality, but that's it.

More importantly: Tesla's goal isn't just to make money. It's to bring about widespread EV adoption and make the world a better place. You don't do that by purposefully gouging customers. And there's no guarantee that a higher price will make someone go to a cheaper EV from the likes of Chevy or Ford; maybe they'll get a gas-powered car in their desired price range instead. Keeping Tesla prices affordable helps everyone by reducing the barriers to EV acceptance.

jordanrichard | May 17, 2016

Marlon Brown, the MS has already blown away the "competition". It out sold the venerable S-Class in both the US and Western Europe.

Also, technically there is no competition for the MS. There is no other full or even mid size EV. If you want to use price point for establishing what is competition, then we should be comparing a Porsche 911 to MS, S550, 7-Series etc. However no one does. If we are using size of the car, then we should compare the Chevy Impala with the MS and S550 etc.

When speaking of competition, it is typically amongst similar cars. There is no similar car to the MS or MX.

Red Sage ca us | May 17, 2016

Rocky_H mused, "How are they wasting all that extra money?"

Well, they certainly aren't spending it on technology... And I rather doubt it is for those spectacular interiors. Maybe they hire really GOOD hookers?


$263,900 -- Porsche Panamera Exclusive Series
$189,350 -- Mercedes-Maybach S600 Sedan
$???,??? -- BMW Alpina B7 Biturbo

MarlonBrown | May 17, 2016

Jordanrichard, as I said in the overall the Model S is a superior car when compared to the Benz, BMW, etc.
However it is a consensus and recognized by people who understand about interior craftsmanship that Tesla cars are still behind. I took a look at the top Model S vs Benz S: you can touch the interior door of the Model S and the plastic is thin, clumsy and you can see it moving around if you press it. That does not happen in the my BMW and I know cars like the BMW 750 and Benz C and S are a beautiful thing inside. The actual interior of the Tesla cars is simplistic, subtle and beautiful. I am not talking about that. I am saying the quality of the seats, interior plastics, carpet. I am serious, if that is truly improved to match or exceed the German cars, then you are going to see people abandoning BMW and Benz in even higher numbers I believe.

MarlonBrown | May 17, 2016

By moving around I meant, shaking a little bit.

Red Sage ca us | May 18, 2016

Best. Hookers. EVER.

sp_tesla | May 18, 2016

"MarlonBrown | May 17, 2016
The actual interior of the Tesla cars is simplistic, subtle and beautiful. I am not talking about that. I am saying the quality of the seats, interior plastics, carpet. I am serious, if that is truly improved to match or exceed the German cars, then you are going to see people abandoning BMW and Benz in even higher numbers I believe."

True, sadly you can only lead a horse to water but can't make him drink.

Red Sage ca us | May 18, 2016

Tesla Motors offered a four seat configuration of the Model S. No one bought it. At least nowhere near the 1-of-20 minimum required to keep it around. Better that people just take their cars to aftermarket custom upholstery shops -- of which there are hundreds -- if they want a more luxurious interior experience. | May 18, 2016

The 2015 Maybach S600 (pictured above) base price is $187K. I expect much of that premium price goes into the interior. For a Model S I'm sure you can upgrade your Model S interior to be similar for far less than the difference between the S and the Maybach. For example, here's one done by Al & Ed's Autosound:

Red Sage ca us | May 18, 2016

Also...? Am I the only one who remembers when interiors for BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche vehicles were rather crappy? They might have been more expensive cars, but they weren't really appointed much better than a Volkswagen. I'm certain that if not for the advent of Lexus and Infiniti, they never would have 'upgraded' their interior offerings at all. Because the German cars in particular were very spartan for quite some time.

sp_tesla | May 18, 2016

" | May 18, 2016
For example, here's one done by Al & Ed's Autosound:"

Very nice but need supportive adjustable head rests.

sp_tesla | May 18, 2016

"Haggy | May 15, 2016
Tesla made it clear all along that it was never their goal to have an interior like a Mercedes, and that they don't consider the one in Mercedes superior but a matter of taste. Customers agree."

Correction: many affluent customers do not agree & don't buy.

Red Sage ca us | May 18, 2016

sp_tesla: Affluent buyers get Rolls-Royce or Bentley vehicles and don't drive either of them. | May 18, 2016

@sp_tesla - Seems like more people like what Tesla has to offer today as the Model S now outsells all the competitors (and they are all on a downward spiral). Note that the total luxury market hasn't changed much from 2014 to 2015 - just Tesla is taking all the sales!

I actually like the fixed headrests, but I can see why some prefer lots of adjustments. I suspect 99% of owners that have adjustable headrests have never adjusted the headrest or even know if they can adjust.

ram1901 | May 18, 2016

Took the words right out of my mouth.
(and that's a very unsanitary thing to do) <-- old joke but still can't resist writing it..

sp_tesla | May 19, 2016 | May 18, 2016

The point is that TM can get a lot more affluent customers especially in southern CA which obviously prefer more luxurious interior & exterior, especially around Newport, Laguna Beach & parts of LA, you see a lot more Mercedes, BMW, Audi and the very unreliable Ranch Rover than Tesla.

jordanrichard | May 19, 2016

The assumption is that Tesla wants that more affluent crowd. Should Tesla build a MS with gun racks and large mud flaps for the hunting and off roading crowd? Tesla is still making cars to order, meaning there isn't a stockpile of MS's sitting around. so they are obviously selling everything they make, with the car and it's interior as is.

Marlon Brown, I understand your point. I have owned Mercedes, albeit older models, since 2000. The model year span of Mercedes I have owned over the years goes form 1979 to 1994, back when Mercedes actually built their cars to a standard. However with that said, you can put gold laces and stitching in your sneakers, but that isn't going to make you run any faster.

I don't think Tesla is interested in selling cars to people who change cars with whatever the trend is at the moment or are buying it to maintain some image.

SamO | May 19, 2016


Nobody can argue with Tesla MIGHT make more sales under certain circumstances. The problem is it's just not provable.

But there is zero evidence that Southern California residents prefer any other luxury car. My own observations are the contrary. I cannot swing a dead cat without hitting a Model S.

The chart posted by TeslaTap also shows that Tesla is already the best selling Luxury Vehicle.

What's your point again?