Upset at major headliner issue

Upset at major headliner issue

Hello all -

I wanted to know if anyone else is familiar with a major change that took place and went unannounced by Tesla. I took delivery of a loaded P85 3/22 and have been very happy with Tesla and the car. I've expected a few things here and there though I am very detail oriented and a perfectionist. I'm ok not having the spoiler, HPWC, and parcel shelf available at the time of pickup.
However, the entire headliner is fabric instead of the promised Alcantara. This is unacceptable to me. It appears that recently the factory made a change and all cars come with fabric. Mine was one of the first to have had this. I was never informed. Cost savings? Im not happy about it at all and to me it completely changes the feel of the interior. I was promised a car as configured, and changes have been made without my knowledge or even approval. I'm working to see what Tesla can offer and will keep you updated. Anyone else in a similar boat?


Electron | 26 mars 2013

What is their official word on this? Note the website just says "Nappa leather interior with Alcantara accents and available carbon fiber décor". Is that what it always said? Curious.

TikiMan | 26 mars 2013

I think that was a Signature only thing.

Electron | 26 mars 2013

Yup, wayback machine has that same wording as far back as last July.

Captain_Zap | 26 mars 2013

Is it a global change or did they make an error on the specification of your particular order? Did you find that out?

My final decision on the car hinged on the headliner material and I made sure that I got the Alcanatara.

EMDoc | 26 mars 2013

Exactly-all performance versions should have alcantara and I'm used to that in my previous cars as well. Makes a big difference. Apparently, they decided a couple weeks ago that all cars will now be fabric. Not acceptable without informing buyers. At least cars that have been finalized should have the alcantara as promised. Lets see what ownership experience says...

Velo1 | 26 mars 2013

I have a printout from early 2012 (probably around January) taken off the TM website. Under P85 it lists "additional Standard Equipment: Nappa leather interior with Alcantara accents and carbon fiber decor" but I am not seeing anything specific to a headliner.

I have the standard 85 kW with the optional Nappa leather seats and accents, along with pano roof and the headliner is fabric. The car was delivered January 18, 2013.

Based on your comment that you are "one of the first to have this" (fabric), it sounds like you asked your DS about the headline and were told there was a factory change to fabric - is this correct? I can't imagine TM making a significant change without announcing it. Let us know what TM does or says, assuming you are pursuing this further.

EMDoc | 26 mars 2013

And the site always said alcantara accents but performance version has it as least until two weeks ago. It seems very shady on their part though. Not announced. And I noticed cause my friend picked his up last week and has alcantara, not to mention all the ones sitting at the service center. So it's not just mine. They need to be clear about it. For now, I feel cheated. Lets hope they can fix it somehow though would require tearing part the interior...

EMDoc | 26 mars 2013

Yes Velo, factory made change last week and did not announce it! Not acceptable to those expecting alcantara as promised on performance models. I want Tesla to survive and do amazing things, bit it's items like this that can ruin a reputation. I'm not happy about it one bit. I didn't get what I was was promised.

adstein | 26 mars 2013

Actually the headliner was always specified as fabric outside of the signature cars. Accents were limited to the seats. I asked multiple time starting 1 year ago and got a consistent answer. Thus I was pleasantly surprised that my car came with the alcantara headliner. I am sorry that you did not get the headliner you wanted but as far as I can tell tesla never promised it outside of the signature series.

EMDoc | 26 mars 2013

Well they should all be on the same page. It's quite a difference. I think all performance cars up until last week have had alcantara and indeed this is what I understood prior to finalizing.

Captain_Zap | 26 mars 2013

My car was a Signature to start with so that may be the case. I do know that the Alcantara headliner was the major reason I moved to a Performance model.

I guess I didn't realize that they were going to drop it for the standard performance models.

Six | 26 mars 2013

Alcantara headliner was a part of the reason I ordered the performance model. I will be disappointed if I do not get it.

I am not saying it was promised but reading threads about the differences between Performance and non performance cars factored into my decision.

Let us know what the resolution with Tesla is on this subject (if any).

EMDoc | 26 mars 2013

Will keep you all updated. I'm hoping to get it replaced at a good upholstery shop and will offer that suggestion to Tesla. And David-your car most likely will have fabric unless it was made prior to early march.
Just not right for them to switch things willy nilly.
At the test drive I was assured my car would look exactly as the one there.
Will keep you updated.

DouglasR | 26 mars 2013

I have a non-Sig P85 delivered Dec. 11. The headliner looks and feels like suede. I suppose that's Alcantara?

aaronw2 | 26 mars 2013

I received my car early this month (P85) and it has the Alcantara headliner.

EMDoc | 26 mars 2013

Thanks guys looks like you made the cutoff date. Still amazing they didn't publicly announce this change as they did with the third row seats.

GeekEV | 26 mars 2013

I'm in a similar boat but on a different issue. I've been refraining from posting about it until
I get official resolution from Tesla. Suffice it to say I whole heartedly agree the need to communicate changes to the car configurations as they're made so those waiting can adjust accordingly.

Captain_Zap | 26 mars 2013

Yes, DouglasR, the suede-like material is Alcantara.

I'd be really bent out of shape if I didn't get the Alcantara headliner. The whole reason I went to the Get Amped event was to check out the different versions of the headliners since I didn't like anything that I saw on the two Betas I saw. The test drive was a bonus. If I wasn't happy with the headliners then I was inclined to pass. Headliners seem to be a weak spot over time in many cars, including my BMW.

EMDoc | 26 mars 2013

Thanks for support Captain Zap. Yes, I'm really disappointed and for some reason it's as though they never saw this as a big deal.
Geek EV - I wanted to hold out on posting but I didnt want to wait weeks for this to get figured out. Especially because nobody can give me a timeframe. How long have you been in talks with Tesla Ownership if you don't mind me asking?

And yes Douglas - that suede is alcantara. Big difference!

jat | 26 mars 2013

Wow, I can't say that I have ever noticed the headliner in any car I have ever owned, either good or bad (I do remember poor headliners in my parent's car as a kid that would droop down). And here multiple people are saying that they based their purchase decision of a rather expensive car on whether it had a particular type of headliner or not. To me, that feels like "I'm not buying this computer unless the side of the case is the right shade of blue", but I guess YMMV.

Robert22 | 26 mars 2013

For us non-car types, is the headliner the roof upholstery? Where does it end?

Mark Z | 26 mars 2013

I recently was surprised to see the fabric headliner material when visiting a service center and peeking through the windows of the vehicles awaiting delivery. The light beige headliner color did not match the gray interior and I casually mentioned to a future buyer that the Alcantara headliner in my white interior P85 Signature would be a much better match. That buyer was viewing the cars at the service center parking lot area to help him decide on options. It helps to view many wheel and color combinations.

Headliner color should match properly in ALL models. The vehicle interior should be color coordinated by Tesla Motors so buyers are thrilled. The light beige colored fabric headliner I saw appeared to only work best with a tan seat color.

I agree with Pritbir, the higher quality "suede" Alcantra should be in all Performance models, just as the seat piping color is unique and Alcantra is used for the seat accents. The rose colored windshield and green side windows are bad enough. Tesla needs rose colored glass throughout and perfect color palettes of all interior dash materials, leathers, fabrics, headliners and carpets for buyers to choose. What you see and choose in the Tesla Store should be what you get in your Model S.

Captain_Zap | 26 mars 2013

Yes, the interior roof upholstery is the headliner.

GeekEV | 27 mars 2013

@Pritbir - Today will be the third business day...

GeekEV | 27 mars 2013

@Pritbir - FYI, I didn't mean my comment as a criticism for your decision to post about it...

riceuguy | 27 mars 2013

I'm with Jat...I know my cars all had headliners, but couldn't tell you what they were made of. I've sat in the Tesla a bunch of times (waiting for my inexplicably delayed MS) and never noticed the headliner. I guess now I will!

Six | 27 mars 2013

It is interesting what matters to people. I like a clean and elegant look of this car's interior and I really like the look of the Alcantara headliner, so that matters some to me. I care less about a console where others care a great deal about it and some are adding $1000 plus after market solutions. What matters most to me (as an engineer I suppose) is the tremendous advantage an all-electric drive train has over any ICE car, and that is what I talk about.

My wife in her first minute sitting in the car decided she loved the "soft roof" (Alcantera headliner) and thought it was great. She in fact mentions it when talking about the car. So since I care about my wife more then this car (though for a few days she may have disputed that :-) I suddenly care a great deal about headliners.

Also in doing all of my research on if to buy and what model (going to a local store, taking a test drive, researching on the web, .. ) I found no hint that I would not be getting an Alcanatera headliner. Possible some warning existed but I did not find it. Therefore I thought the cars being delivered were whatI was going to get.

So I am disappointed, but certainly understand why others (maybe even most others) may not care.

lt | 27 mars 2013

I have grey interior and the first thing I noticed when I sat in the car was the beige headliner. Very disappointed! Seems like that is the headliner for the tan seats not the grey.

Alex K | 27 mars 2013

@lt | MARCH 27, 2013: I have grey interior and the first thing I noticed when I sat in the car was the beige headliner. Very disappointed! Seems like that is the headliner for the tan seats not the grey.

Same feeling here. This made me switch to tan seats, which match the headliner nicely. This also made me switch to brown exterior to be color coordinated. My headliner is Alcantara, which by the way is not suede leather. It's a synthetic substance. I wasn't really expecting the Alcantara, since in most higher end cars it's an explicit upgrade, but was pleasantly surprised. When I order my Porsche Panamera S Hybrid, I decided against Alcantara headliner option, since it was an extra $1990 cost option. With the Pano roof, there is not much material used in the headliner. My car was delivered 5-Jan-2013 with VIN #P03218

pimp-boy | 27 mars 2013

Took delivery on 3/22. Was a P85 VIN P7221. I guess one of the lucky ones to get the alcantera headliner which is beautiful and soft. I would be pissed if they did a bait and switch from what I was expecting. It would not be right.

EMDoc | 27 mars 2013

Thank you for the support everyone. Initially, I Mentioned to the Tesla representatives that the car should be better matched with the tan headliner going better with the tan interior as many of you mentioned. My previous cars usually had either gray or black headliner with the more premium cars having the Alcantara. I am very detail oriented and having alcantara in the performance addition was a huge plus as the interior is much more plush. Therefore, I accepted the fact that I would have a tan headliner with The black interior because it would be alcantara. Now, not getting either and having the Powers that be make this random switch, I'm really disappointed. As much as I love Tesla, they cannot do this Without communication. Everyone needs to be on the same page. I seriously doubt BMW or Mercedes be able to get away with a similar situation. And honestly, it's not even the cost of the car it is just more the principle of the matter. I would be upset if this car cost 5000 or 200,000.
Thanks again and let's see what happens.

Captain_Zap | 27 mars 2013

With BMW or MB, most of the time it is WYSIWYG on a lot. You have a chance to see and feel the car you are getting. Yoi accept the car as it is or move on to something else.

Tesla is very different in that aspect. It is one of the areas where it had the others beat. At the same time it is a leap of faith.

When someone places an order based on a certain set of features, those features should match the order that is made. If there is a problem with getting the material that was designated then a similar or superior substitution should be offered.
Ultimately, Teslas are semi-custom cars.

EMDoc | 27 mars 2013

Great point captain zap. I agree, that is part of the reason why this is more difficult. You expect one thing and it comes out to be something else. It is a leap of faith and you can only go by what is told at the test drive and the website. However, I don't think many would be aware of the Changes. I'm pretty sure they probably expected something like this to happen to those who noticed the change.

tesla-ss | 27 mars 2013

@Pritbir do you have a picture of the fabric headliner?

EMDoc | 27 mars 2013

Not to mention that the cars have been Delivered as promised up until last week. It's a change that many may not even notice. For that reason, it just seems sneaky.

cb9 | 27 mars 2013

I took delivery 3/18, P07061, just checked and looks like I got Alcantara with my gray interior. I was expecting the beige fabric.

Captain_Zap | 27 mars 2013

I definitely wouldn't go so far as to say anything was "sneaky". I serously doubt that there was any bad intentions. That is not what Tesla is about.

Six | 27 mars 2013

The word "sneaky" does have negative connotations and so I agree probably should be avoided.

On the other hand the move was:

- likely to save Tesla money (I can not think of another reason they would change)
- was made unannounced (and after people order assuming they were getting it)

As a consumer I would have preferred this change would have been announced in advance and existing orders be treated as before. I hope changes in the future will be handled that way.

I am a huge Tesla fan and I want them to make cars that are as close to perfect as possible. I want Tesla to become a success story for the ages (the beginning of the end of ICE cars).

I expect as an early adopter that my car is not going to be perfect but hopefully not because of issues that could have been avoided by a little planning and better communication.

btw - There have been a number of good points in the discussion. One comment was that the Tesla Model S is not a $100,000 car. Makes sense and cost savings on their $50K versions may very well need to save some money. On the other hand the Performance model is a $100K car that is their current flagship model. Just IMHO they should consider keeping the luxury aspect of that car as high as the can reasonably afford.

MGlasfeld | 27 mars 2013

Hmmm - this is tricky stuff. Thanks, all, for bringing this to the fore. I've been asked to make the final payment on my P85 this week for an April 15th East Coast delivery. The Tesla folks are sprinting to squeeze in 1st qtr sales results.

I sure don't want to mess them up, but, it would be a real disappointment to spend $115,000 and end up with the cloth head liner....I'll have to chew on this one....

Mark Z | 27 mars 2013

Had to get a service center repair today for the "Rear Axle Nut Washers." It gave me time to sneak a peek of the headliners. Here is a photo of the new headliner with the gray interior. The fabric texture is not visible in the photo. Maybe Pritbir or another Model S owner who has the new headliner can link to a better picture.

The side glass is green and does affect this photo a bit. Look through the rose colored windshield and the headliner takes on a beige tint.

Stopping by the Tesla Store, I showed them the photo. They do not have the new headliner fabric on display and some are planning to visit the service center to see it for themselves.

EMDoc | 28 mars 2013

Hi guys -

First and foremost, I absolutely want Tesla to succeed. They deserve every award they received and the car is unbelievable. But in order for them to survive, I think I need to improve on items such as this. They need to be aware that discrepancies from what is expected could ruin the reputation. Once again, an occurrence such as this probably would not be handled or tolerated well by anyone buying $100,000 BMW or Mercedes. I hope they realize this because I too think that this is the future. I want to be done with oil.
The service advisors and the delivery specialist were also surprised that such a change was made internal to the company and not publicly announced.
As for photos, I'm not sure how to exactly insert them on the web and this forum as I usually use my iPhone.
The fabric though is the same as that going on the nonperformance versions prior to last week. Therefore, all cars will have the same fabric material. Their decision is probably related to cost savings I'm sure, but it should've been announced. That is what I meant by them trying to change things without announcing them. Tesla definitely informed me that I only had a week left to decide if I wanted the third row seats because they could not be retrofitted. They should've made the same announcement about the headliner telling us about the change. I too agree that Tesla is not about this and I hope that they do everything in their power to make it right. The only way that Tesla will improve is with our suggestions and input. I hope that enough people are able to offer positive input. I just hope that the resolution doesn't take more than a couple of weeks.

davecolene0606 | 28 mars 2013

I was getting my rear seats installed yesterday and we were looking at getting a 60 for the #2 MS for the family.
The rep showed us a nonperformance that had the fabric headliner and I seem to remember hearing it said that only the P85 would be coming with the Alcantara headliners going forward. Seems like it should be in the features section anyway.

We sorta liked it, but then we were looking at the tan leather. I think if the financials were the issue, it would be offered as an option anyway.

TM definitely has got to focus on the com on issues like these. I'm confidant these things are about rapid expansion of factory ops, design engineering to marketing com stuff that is suffering from a lack of direct com put through.

Hopefully, they solve the issue by letting all futures know what's up and taking care to those it matters to that unexpectedly got the fabric.


nkohlimd | 28 mars 2013

Would also be interested to hear their response-I just finalized my P85 Green/Tan with pano roof last week and was looking forward to the luxury feel of Alcantara. Also scary not knowing what else they may change without notice.

christurbeville | 28 mars 2013

I was disappointed in the headliner as well. But I never saw a promise of Alcantara but I did expect it and wanted it to match my black interior. As it was never specified I took the blame on myself as the interior shots of the car clearly show a cream headliner. I took delivery of my P85 6589 3/16 so I guess I missed the cutoff. The interior is the weakest point of the Model S IMHO not the design or layout as others have criticized but the material and durability will probably not hold up as well as my M5. I do love the car though. | 28 mars 2013

I assumed the Alcantara cost is minimal, but it is fairly expensive. Retail is around $70-100 yard, and I expect the headliner uses at least 2 yards (without pano roof) and maybe more with typical waste in cutting to size. I'd guess if someone really wants it, a custom car shop should be able replace the fabric with Alcantara and even select the color you prefer.

Here's more than you likely want to know about Alcantara:

I guess I lucked out and have Alcantara in my 60KW, but then again I reserved my car back in early 2009. Perhaps some small benefit for being an early res holder. I don't ever remember being promised any kind of headliner and I'm just thrilled to have such a great car. The headliner type would not be on my list of reasons to buy the MS.

Captain_Zap | 28 mars 2013

I looked at TMC to see if there was anyone who mentioned getting a Peformance version without a Alcantara headliner or whether anyone has gotten word of any changes to interior configurations regarding the Performance version's headliner. I did see one comment about someone accidentally getting a mis-matched sun visor and that was rectified. That's it.

All the other comments about the Alcanatara headliner were about how much they liked it and how it is one of the best yet most unsung features of the Performance Package. Maybe we weren't gushing enough about it.

I certainly appreciate the Alcantara headliner because I do not have a pano roof. I do hope that this case was an anomoly that can be rectified. If not, I hope Tesla revisits any modifications and makes any future changes or improvements well known in advance of finalizing.

I do know of one buyer that couldn't buy a Model S with Alcantara due to polyester allergies. He ultimately got the fabric headliner but it wasn't until he was absolutely certain that he knew what materials were used throughout the car's interior. Material changes can make a big difference to buyers.

Maybe OP can make a post at TMC to find out if anyone else there has heard any news or seen any changes. It is a much busier forum with many helpful people. There is an entire section just on the car's interior. Introduce yourself, stick to the facts and see what they know. Just don't be too alarmist. That might make them skeptical if it is one of your first posts there.

Ohms.Law | 28 mars 2013

Thanks Captain. Useful, and wise, information.

EMDoc | 28 mars 2013

Thanks guys. And thanks Captain for doing some research. I also visited the Tesla motor club forums. I didn't post there yet. I think that is a good idea.
Chris, I too am just about to sell my 2011 M3 sedan. The materials are flawless and I do think that Tesla needs to improve on interior Materials. P.m. five I believe has the suede headliner which adds such a nice feel.

Frank, I have been doing my homework as well and looking up aftermarket upholstery places In San Diego. I found a couple and I do have the panoramic roof. I'm waiting to see what the final word is From Tesla.

Dwdnjck@ca | 28 mars 2013

I was so upset reading these posts that i had to go out and check the head liner of my wife's new Mercedes E Class. Hers is fabric also. I sure she is going to be so diappointed to know that her new Mercedes has s second class head liner. it looks like the same material as my Ford's. How disappointing.

ryan | 28 mars 2013

How would I know if I got the alcantera or not? Also I did not get my spoiler, they will be adding it later.