Car damaged during transport, what would you do?

Car damaged during transport, what would you do?

I'll try to keep my story short. Stood in line in Austin, TX with 3 other friends, camped out overnight, we were the 1st four in line. We are all non-owners, configured on 2/22/18. The first of us received delivery of a White/19" on 3/27, and the other two received delivery of their White/18" and MSM/18" on 4/17. My car (a White/18") was supposed to arrive in Austin on 4/19, and I had a scheduled delivery for 4/21.

They called me on 4/19 though, with some bad news. The truck driver damaged the car during transport, and rather than fix the car, they would try to find me a new car with my config. I told them that I sold my car to coincide with my delivery date, and didn't have any transportation, and requested a loaner, which they happily obliged (P85D). I saw my car at the SC when I picked up the loaner, and there was a huge crack from the roof to the bottom of the rear windshield. The loaner experience has really helped ease the pain, but I still don't have an ETA on when I can expect a new VIN, or what the plan is. I contacted my ISA yesterday, who said he is out of the loop as well, but had heard that they might "try and repair [my] vehicle in the meantime to see if the parts come in and everything. Otherwise they are waiting for a vehicle with [my] configuration to arrive to assign to [me] and deliver to [me] ASAP."

So what would you do in my situation if they tried to assign my old car that has been 'repaired'? Would you push for a new car instead? Or just take a repaired one? Also keep in mind that because I am in TX, I fully paid the car (cash) before they could load up the car onto the truck from CA to TX, so Tesla has essentially had an interest free loan from me of $59,772.25 since 4/6/18.

lilbean | 26. april 2018

If they could give you a replacement car, that would be great. Otherwise, I don’t see a problem with waiting for the repair to be done while you drive the loaner. Best of luck.

wiboater4 | 26. april 2018

since it's glass and you would have the opportunity to look at it when you pick it up to see if it looks ok to you I'd be ok with that. For what it's worth I bought a brand new 1985 corvette that had been keyed on the dealers lot. The paint job after their body shop got done with it was better than the factory paint job. | 26. april 2018

If just the glass is broken, I'd go for whatever got me the car soonest. If structural damage, I'd wait for a new car. My guess is a new one can be delivered in 3-4 weeks, even if they start building it for you next week.

andy.connor.e | 26. april 2018

Refuse to take delivery. If thats not an option, then i'd have to figure it out at that point. Because you did not purchase a damaged product.

lilbean | 26. april 2018

In an ideal world, you would get a replacement. In reality, be prepared to wait for it to be repaired.

ravisundaramam | 26. april 2018

They must disclose that they are giving you a repaired car. Then it is upto you to decide whether to wait or to accept. Me personally, glass does not matter. It can happen, easily after delivery too.

mattjpeterson | 26. april 2018

I'd also take it repaired if it's just damaged glass, but give it a close inspection before accepting delivery.

spuzzz123 | 26. april 2018

I guess if you get to hang on to the loaner while you wait, I wouldn't consider the 60k an interest free loan. You have transportation at least, and a nice one at that! I think if I were in your shoes I would wait for a brand new one. Assuming you can't find out more about what caused the damage. (a piece of gravel? a sideswipe? he dropped it when he went to let it down?) I wouldn't want to chance that there's more damage that's yet unseen. However I do know how hard it is to wait for your M3 -- but I'd try really hard to think about the future.

djharrington | 26. april 2018

I’m with TT. If just glass, I’d take first available, keeping the loaner as incentive for them to get a car to you quickly.

michael | 26. april 2018

Wait for the brand new one. No way would I drop ~$60K on a "bait and switch" refurbished new vs. new. In the meantime enjoy the Model S...

dsvick | 26. april 2018

@Michael - "Wait for the brand new one. No way would I drop ~$60K on a "bait and switch" refurbished new vs. new."

I don't think "bait and switch" means what you think it means.

cascadiadesign | 26. april 2018

I'd take whatever option gets you a car the quickest. If it were a car from a traditional automaker who repaired it before placing it on their lot, you'd come along and never know the difference. Upon delivery, I'd ask for a freebie for your trouble - perhaps a trunk mat or something.

michael | 26. april 2018

@dsvick OK - how about "factory new - service center repaired"? Sounds just as specious...

andy.connor.e | 26. april 2018

How about "factory new, damaged during delivery transit".

bayareakid2008 | 26. april 2018

I would insist on a discounted price if you take the damaged car. Otherwise, I would reject and take a brand new one.

andy.connor.e | 26. april 2018

+1 bak

lilbean | 26. april 2018

You may not have that choice.

Kathy Applebaum | 26. april 2018

Wow, that sucks.

Remember that a replacement could have been damaged and repaired, too. As long as the repair makes it like new, you should be fine.

hokiegir1 | 26. april 2018

I agree with most of the others. If it was *just* the glass, I'd take the repair if it was ready first. It's possible the guy just dropped a strap latch on it or something when unloading, that cracked it -- so, nothing structural at all. I'd probably see if they'd give info about how it happened. If it was questionable about something else being damaged but hidden, I might try to wait it out.

Tuning In | 26. april 2018

People have to replace glass on cars all of the time. It's inconsequential for most people. Car are designed with the intention of having glass replaced.

But it's all about personal preference. I knew someone who had to have their new car with no more than 3 miles on it and no more than that. 10 miles on the odometer, no way! Never mind that on the drive home he put 50 miles on it and by the end of the week he put 300 miles on it. By the end of the year he put 10,000. What does 7 miles really matter.

My point is no one know and no one cares if you had the glass replaced except you. But you are the one paying the bills.

RedTeslaModel3 | 26. april 2018

This remind me of my Audi Q5 delivery. After signing the paper work, the guy hit my left side against service door frame while pulling out. They didnt even tell me about it. At 9Pm i couldnt adjust side mirror then notice its cracked. They tried to say i already signed for the car. They gave me a loaner because at that point it was a safety issue, driving without side mirrors. Being a German car, it took a month and half to get the part. Car got sent to body and had to be repaint twice. This whole process taken 2 months.

Crap happen I guess, it happens to other luxury cars as well, sadly issue like this inly get blown up if its a Tesla. I would enjoy the Tesla model s loaner till the window is fixed. If the car itself the damage then I would refuse to accept that as well.

mos6507 | 26. april 2018

"The truck driver damaged the car during transport"

What is going ON with the handling of these cars? I'm assuming these are all subcontractors but this is total amateur hour.

michael | 26. april 2018

@mos6507 - more like "barely controlled chaos". Next week's earnings call is going to be very interesting.

ST70 | 26. april 2018

That's awesome! You get a better car...wait as long as you can!

ReD eXiLe ms us | 26. april 2018

mos6507: Notice the OP is in Texas, where your benefactors at NADA will not allow Tesla employees to Deliver cars to their Customers. They have to be transported via third party common carriers on consignment. When a car is sent via truck from Detroit to an 'independent franchised dealership' in Texas and is damaged, the 'buyer' is the dealership, not an individual who was forced to pay in full up front to avoid restrictive and unnecessary dealership franchise laws (thank God or the implied interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution). All because 'independent franchised dealerships' want to make sure that it is as artificially difficult as possible to purchase a car from an automobile manufacturer directly. But then, you knew all that already and are just blowing smoke.

willtung8: I would simply allow Tesla to fix the problem, since they are willing. As for the $60,000 interest free loan, they did give you a $70,000+ vehicle to hold as collateral until they do get it fixed. So, turnabout is a bit better than fair play? Right?

efuseakay | 26. april 2018

As far as they are telling you, it's just the glass. If a 3rd party carrier was that careless with my car, I'd want a new one. Enjoy the P85D for as long as you can. :)

jefjes | 26. april 2018

I'm hoping they deliver mine with a Tesla Semi making a return run to the Gigafactory for more battery modules and drivetrains. That way I get my car and a close up of the semi in one shot. It won't be out of the way since they have to drive thru Reno going and coming anyway...;-) I know, wishful thinking.

Tesla2018 | 26. april 2018

If you get a new one post the Vin of the damaged one so other purchasers can be on the lookout to fully indpect it in case there was other damage. I wish they would just use repaired cars as test drive cars since the sales centers dont have any demos and a lot of people previously said they wont place their orders without one.

ReD eXiLe ms us | 26. april 2018

willtung8: Also, if you get a new car make sure that both your insurance company and whatever financial institution you used (assuming you took out a loan) is made aware of the new VIN. That way you can avoid potential clerical issues in case something happens to that car after you take possession of it. Then ouble check your vehicle registration information as well.

phil | 26. april 2018

I'd bet good money that if you don't take the repaired car, Tesla will sell it as new to another customer.

Likewise, any new car you get may have been damaged on a previous delivery attempt.

Frank99 | 26. april 2018

It happens all the time with other manufacturer's cars. They fix them, then put them on the lot as new cars. You just don't get to see them until they're fixed.

If it's just a glass break, I'd take the car in an instant once they fixed it. I'm on my fourth windshield in my current car; glass breaks, its just a fact of life. I've never noticed any negatives to having the windshield replaced, and I wouldn't expect any in a Model 3 either. Its really a non-event - fix it, drive it, have a good time.

jon | 27. april 2018

Isn't Texas a state they are not allowed to directly sell in? If so, you became the owner before the car entered the state and them replacing the car would require effectively selling your current one and buying a new one from the bank's standpoint, as well as state registration and everything. If it is just glass and not structural I would just take the glass repair and not have the hassle of the accompanying paperwork and legal situation that may bug you down the line.

willtung8 | 27. april 2018

All good points everyone. I should clarify that Tesla did NOT tell me what the damage was, or what happened. I just happened to browse the lot when no one was looking, saw a White 18" in the back, was curious, checked the VIN (was mine) and did a self inspection to see what could possibly have been damaged. I saw the glass crack, but for all I know, there could be more damage that I'm not aware of (it was dark and I was using phone flashlight).

Also good points on them giving me a loaner counterbalancing the 'interest free loan' situation. Def not worried about that anymore.

mos6507 | 27. april 2018

"Its really a non-event - fix it, drive it, have a good time."

Replaced glass might be a minor inconvenience to the person receiving the car, but each time Tesla has to repair a car in the field it eats into their margins. They have to make sure the cars leaving the factory are a) setup right and b) don't get damaged in transit.

martinbogo | 27. april 2018

The glass on the Model 3 is installed by a robotic arm, and the adhesive requires precise placement and pressure.

Frankly? Drive the awesome P85, and wait for a VIN and new car. The P85 is free, has awesome performance, and you'll get a factory-fresh car.

You win, either way.

martinbogo | 27. april 2018

Also -- *HI!* .. was also in line at the Domain Tesla gallery. 3/31 though ... not 2/22.

jimmy | 14. kan 2018

I just had the same thing happen. I wonder what the percentage of cars are “totaled” during transport.

SO | 14. kan 2018

Don’t know about totaled, but all manufacturers do have issues with transport.

And I believe Tesla goes with a 3rd party transport.

mos6507 | 14. kan 2018

"I believe Tesla goes with a 3rd party transport."

A particularly bad one by what I can tell.

jithesh | 14. kan 2018

Dumb question.. How does insurance works with a loaner car? Do you take an insurance for Loaner car ?

martinbogo | 20. kan 2018


Do you have an update? Similar thing happened to my Blue PUP/EAP/Aero. Yesterday for my delivery, lots of transport damage to the paint on the front and fender panels on the front of the car, chrome on the driver's side, and the tail lights showed scuffing damage.

They were going to let me walk out of the delivery center with no car at all ... I was in shock. When I went back in, they gave me a 2014-ish P85 w/ 68K miles as a loaner until I also get a replacement VIN.

jefjes | 20. kan 2018

I would probably just say fix it if it wasn't horribly defective since where do you think that VIN will end up anyway? Will Tesla just eat it and drive it to the boneyard to be crushed? They most likely will do the required repairs and assign it to another VIN waiter like myself who will see it after the repair and be none the wiser and think they were lucky to get a perfect car. How does anyone picking up their perfect delivery here really know that the VIN they were assigned and picked up had not been previously rejected and repaired before they ever got the VIN assigned to them? Guess I'm just too much a cheerleader for Tesla's success to let a few cosmetic issues let me add a further burden on the company I want to succeed. I wouldn't just live with it but I would allow them to make it right as quick and painless as possible.

martinbogo | 20. kan 2018

@jefjes : It is illegal for Tesla to re-sell that car as new, so that VIN is not going to be assigned to anyone else.

It won't get crushed -- however that car will never be sold to any other line waiter as new. At the moment, Tesla returns many of these cars back to Fremont. The worst are studied to prevent future issues. Some are used as sources for second-stream parts after refurbishment. Some will become part of the test fleet / loaners. Some will be offered to employees of Tesla / SpaceX / The Boring Company has corporate cars. Finally, once production is really ramped and underway, they might make it into the "used - like new" secondary or orphan market like the S/X cars did.

wiboater4 | 20. kan 2018

Jefjes, you are most likely right about that. I bought a 1985 corvette new off the lot. A friend of mine was a salesman there and he told me the car had been keyed on the lot but they fixed it. You couldn't tell. I had that car for almost 10 years and the paint looked as good at the end as when I bought it. If the people doing the repairs are professionals there is nothing wrong with that. If it's anything large like a transmission etc. they probably just replace it and repair the one they take out and put it in another car.

martinbogo | 20. kan 2018

@wilboater4 : The quality of paint today, vs the mid-80's, is radically different. Modern paints are just not as durable and hard, and the metallic textures and multi-coat paints used for the red and blue Model 3's requires a really top-notch repair facility to get a perfect match.

As it is, when you buy a new car -- you expect it to be in factory condition. It's up to you what you will accept as a condition when you take delivery, but Tesla does not negotiate on price, and I won't accept a car that needs to go to a body shop straight from the delivery floor.

jefjes | 20. kan 2018

@martinbogo- You obviously know much more about it than I do but I would still do what I originally said. In fact, if you are listening Tesla, go ahead and repair any of those rejected cars that meet my configuration I made on 4/18 and assign me that VIN. I've got a full payment waiting to take that horrible reject off your hands.

wiboater4 | 20. kan 2018

@martinbogo. I have antiques that I've restored so I know a little about painting. Been doing my own for years. There are Body shops around here that do better than factory paint jobs with no problem . New paints are better than those in the 80's. And with clear coats now it is easier to fix a lot of thing. You have the right to refuse your delivery but as long as I would get to inspect the car after the body shop and it met my expectations I'd be fine with that.