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Rental firm walks away from Tesla order after quality dispute (reuters.com)
58 points by velmu 64 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 134 comments



The fit and finish of Teslas is absolutely embarrassing by any standard, but by the standards of German car makers it’s a total joke.

My theory has always been that Tesla is pretty much done the day BMW and MB and Audi get the hang of the electric thing.

The experience of sitting in a $70k+ Tesla is below that of a Honda Civic. There’s a limit to how long that’s going to last in a competitive market.


> The experience of sitting in a $70k+ Tesla is below that of a Honda Civic.

As someone who has owned two Honda Civics and now owns a Model 3 you are laughably off the mark here.

> Tesla is pretty much done the day BMW and MB and Audi get the hang of the electric thing.

"Netflix is pretty much done the day Blockbuster gets the hang of the online thing."

"Apple is pretty much done the day Nokia gets the hang of the smartphone thing."

It's astounding to me how a community of technologists and entrepreneurs still can't grasp the innovator's dilemma at play here. Tesla's lead is accelerating every year as a new Tesla killer has been perpetually "around the corner." Cadillac ELR, BMW i3, Chevy Bolt, Chevy Volt, Audi E-Tron, Jaguar I-Pace were all supposed to eat Tesla's lunch. Just look at the sales numbers. Not even close.


It may be off the mark to compare to a Civic, but I've spent some quality time in a Model 3, and the only folks who think it compares favorably to a BMW/Merc/Audi are diehard fans.

Is there a single competitor to the Model 3 on the market yet? They should be doing really good with the lack of competition.


The actual sales numbers of BMW and Audi vs. the Model 3 tell a different story.

In the US the BMW 3-series sales fell of a cliff since the Model 3 was announced, and Model 3 Q2 sales in the US are 3,000 shy from beating the BMW 3-Series, Lexus ES, BMW 5-Series, and Mercedes C-Class (those are the #2-#5 in that segment)... combined.

[1] - https://cleantechnica.com/2019/08/10/tesla-model-3-outsold-b...


But compare BMW ICE sales of similarly priced vehicles to Tesla and it's not even close.

BMW and the rest of the big makers have no reason to push electric car sales and increase electric R&D over the more profitable ICE models.

Same goes for the dealers. They are the ones stealing sales and they make their money on service. Which will be less with electrics.

Right now, if you want the best electric car all other factors be damned, you get a Tesla.

But the miniscule amount of sales that Tesla has compared to the large manufacturers indicates that market is still exceedingly small.

What incentive does BMW have to compete with Tesla? At the very best, they build an electric that blows the Tesla out of the water and take 100% of Tesla's sales. That amounts to about one month of their current revenue.

Perhaps when demand for electrics at that price points really takes off, they will be caught flat footed without a competitive product. But that day is yet to come and the full weight of their R&D apparatus and sales force remains to be seen when it comes to electrics.

Same goes for all the other big manufacturers.


Tesla Model 3 outsold BMW 2, 3, 4 and 5 series combined. What BMW that is similarly priced to a Model 3 am I missing? The only BMWs that are still selling well are the SUVs.

I think your narrative is 3 years out of date. BMW is dying at the hands of Tesla in the US right now, along with all the other “premium” carmakers.

When the Model Y starts shipping, I imagine X3 and X5 sales will likewise be hit quite hard.


BMW sells about as many units each month as Tesla sells all year right now. And they have been hitting all time unit sales records as of this year.

https://www.bmwblog.com/2019/04/11/march-2019-best-ever-worl...


That is worldwide. I am talking about the US.

In the US, BMW’s YoY in 2018 for 3 Series was -25%! [1]

Because you know, it makes just a bit more sense to compare them just within the US, where Tesla has had a chance to establish itself somewhat, compared to the 103-year old BMW.

The fact that Tesla sells almost 1/10 as many cars as BMW sells worldwide is actually pretty amazing, considering Tesla is selling purely EVs, all made in a single factory in the US.

When Tesla builds Giga4 in Europe in a couple years, then you’ll see the same effect there too.

There’s a reason BMW just fired their CEO.

[1] - https://www.press.bmwgroup.com/usa/article/attachment/T02893...


Not sure if you realize that the first portion of your comment is precisely the mechanism described in Innovators Dilemma.

The greatest revelation for me was that good data-driven management decisions can cause a company to fail. In other words: good management can equal bad management.


If Model 3 doesn't have a competitor yet, why is anyone worrying about the potential of the competitor to win through fit and finish? When that competitor comes, what is to stop Tesla from releasing Model 3 Mk II with better design??!?!!?!


Why would it have a competitor from any big makers? To them it's still just a niche market.


I spend quality time every single day in a Model 3 and the only people that think there's a sport sedan as good as it is in the market right now are diehard fans of the brands you mentioned.

My previous car was a BMW M3 and my Tesla has been a breath of fresh air along any possible imaginabile axis except the ergonomics of the air conditioning system that I'm not fan of.


Every time I take someone for their first ride in the Model 3, it’s the AC controls which wow them the most. Living with it is different, but it’s a great selling feature of what you’re selling is “Why hasn’t anyone else done it that way? - this is the future”


...and this is how we end up with people driving through fire trucks. I haven't sat in the 3, but I did drive Model S and also played with the e-Tron's controls while waiting for an oil change (which ids pretty much the only advantage of an electric car I could possibly think of). Controlsd in both are very "neat". As long as you are sitting on a showroom floor. The very thought of actually trying to live with either while driving makes me pine for my very first car, a rusted through Chevy Citation that I paid $300 for.

Just because it is a good selling point for a certain subset of population that likes new and shiny and does not mind mowing people over in the process does not make it a good thing.


Car controls are a good use case for voice control (as long as it's guaranteed to be processed locally and recordings are not being sent to the car company).

The Mercedes EQC has voice control, but they need to move to a different triggering phrase. They're using "Mercedes" currently and that has too many false positives, particularly when someone is trying to review the car:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JTew1D5Tk8


I'm not sure, to be really useful in general case it would have to understand a good number of languages (what if you rent a car on vacation abroad and find that you can't control anything unless you learn the local language?), work in noisy conditions, understand accents, and apart from navigation entry (although that usually serves as an exercises in zen and meditation, as you're trying not to put your fist through the dashboard as it tries to navigate you anywhere except where you actually want to go) it is much faster to turn the knob than expressing what you need in spoken word... Makes for a nice marketing video though.


I’d prefer a physical knob too, but with adjusting temp controls, I don’t find myself fiddling with it while underway.


That's certainly a valid approach, but most people (me included) actually want to adjust the climate control while driving, for various reasons.

Really, once I was quite happy with a car that had roll-down windows and no a/c, but when we are talking about a premium-priced car in 2019 expectations are somewhat different.


What cars are they comparing? BMW has i3 and i8, Mercedes doesn't have an electric car yet and Audi has e-tron. The only car you could say is in the same category is the i3 and those are totally different cars.


The i3 is being discontinued in favor of a CUV thing in 2022:

https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1114966_todays-bmw-i3-t...

Mercedes is debuting Real Soon Like Now (I think it's out in Europe as of.. the past few days?) the EQC electric GLC-looking SUV thing. Jag has the i-Pace, which is still uncommon here in the bay area, though I saw quite a few in Norway.

The new Audi e-tron was all over Norway, and I just saw my first 3-4 here in the Bay Area this week. (but they had permanent CA license plates so they must have been out for at least a month or so).


My point was more to the OPs comment that his friends are comparing Tesla 3 to Audi/Mercedes/BMW. I was pointing out that they don't share vehicles in the same category so a bad comparison.


> Mercedes doesn't have an electric car yet

The Mercedes EQC is here now, maybe not in your region yet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JTew1D5Tk8


"electric cars" is not the only category a Tesla might fall in.


Plus their infrastructure lead is literally gargantuan. Charging stations are everywhere, without them you might as well not have roads they can drive on.


Yeah...I will not miss their infrastructure at all. If you live in a moderately-populated area (anywhere on the west coast), the stations have been laughable. They're overcrowded and many stalls are VERY OFTEN broken. I may wait up to 30 minutes in line and sometimes up to a quarter of the stalls are either outright broken or trickle-charge. Not to mention the complete lack of a proper queue system leading to disagreements every single time about who was there first, etc. If you own a home, this is probably a non-issue. For the rest of us (which is most of us, at least in California), good luck. FWIW, when I first purchased I was one Tesla of a handful in the entire city (east coast). Moving here, I am one in a handful in every square mile.

I just ditched my Model S after 3 years and I feel great about it. I absolutely won't miss the charging, but I also won't miss the laughably barebones interior, litany of software bugs, or unjustifiably high price tag, either. The driving however, I absolutely will miss, but there's much more to the experience than that with a fully-electric.


Their infrastructure may be laughable when compared to the experience that we've grown accustomed to as people raised with gas stations everywhere. However it _does_actually_exist_. Which isn't exactly something you can say for the offerings of say Nissan or Chevy. I'd also imagine that if your experience with their charging network was that frustrating it makes you an atypical user; as I can only assume the bulk of people drive their commute everyday, and that's about it, maybe pick up the kids, maybe run a few errands, but not running 200+ miles per day. Meaning you get to charge at night.

I'm not surprised about the bugs, the bugs that are in my parents' Priuses (Prii?) are obnoxious to say the least, and Teslas software is many times more complicated. When you say barebones you mean like lack of cup holders or arm rests, etc? Or just the lack of _stuff_, in much the same way a room painted white feels empty?


I must be missing something because I'm not sure why this matters when Tesla has made their patents open. Can't someone else make a car that can use a Tesla supercharger? Why wouldn't another manufacturer make their cars compatible with Tesla's charging network, then sell that as a massive feature?


Tesla's network is not open-access, there is authentication involved so that even if you implement the physical standard you can't use their chargers without their consent.


Tesla has indeed offered to share the Supercharger network, with anyone who is also willing to split the cost.

You cannot just plug in and get charge with the right adaptor. You need to be authorized by the billing software to get juice. This happens automatically when you plug in a Tesla to the charger.


I figured there'd be a billing issue to sort out, and that Tesla might even charge a non-Tesla a little more to use their chargers, and maybe other manufacturers really don't like the idea of giving their competition money, but...c'mon. Certainly you could sell a lot more cars if you advertised being able to use Tesla's network, even if you had to pay a small premium to use it.


I believe the offer is any car maker who wants to use it has to pay for half of the whole infrastructure / build out cost for the network.

No way someone can come in and use the network and just pay the cost of electricity, or even a premium on the electricity.

Tesla is going to want someone to share the cost of building it out. Of course since they sell way more EVs by quantity, it would benefit them more than anyone who might come and offer to split the cost. Which is why no one will take them up on it until they can see a way to selling 6 digit quantities of EVs.


> Tesla has indeed offered to share the Supercharger network

Tesla should standardize on CCS like everyone else has and enter into billing agreements with the other charging networks. That's what Electrify America and ChargePoint have done:

https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/electrify-america-chargep...


I believe Nissan Leaf is the still the most sold electric car, more than Tesla Model 3. The Model 3 is catching up though.


The Leaf came out in 2010, and its sales in the USA has been declining since 2014. Model 3 didn't start deliveries until Q3 2017, but didn't really take off until Q2 2018.



In the US in Q2 the Leaf sold 3,323 units compared to Tesla Model 3’s 47,000 units.

Over all time Model 3 is at ~225,000 units to Leaf’s ~400,000.

So napkin math says Tesla will catch up by this time next year. I think with production acceleration due to the new China plant, it will be sooner though.


> Tesla's lead is accelerating every year as a new Tesla killer has been perpetually "around the corner."

There won't be a single Tesla killer. It'll be more like a death from a thousand cuts.

Tesla's lead won't last long. Tesla's problem now is that other car companies will release multiple EV models across multiple brands every year from now on. Volkswagen is building VW, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, and Porsche EVs (and their very high end brands will have EVs eventually). Hyundai has a number of nice EVs, Mercedes EVs are rolling out, Ford EVs are on the way, the Honda e is a nice car (although not enough range). Even Toyota has moved up their battery electric timetable, and if Toyota's solid-state battery work pans out they may even end up bringing the best EVs to market.


Netflix IS pretty much done, it is just Disney and Amazon that will do it, not Blockbuster.


Their market cap is down to ~US$132B from a high over US$150B, but the market is definitely not calling them done.


Sure, but that is about half of Disney’s market cap.


And there is still a lot of Disney owned content on Netflix that will presumably dry up soon.

I'm sure the market is uncertain how that will affect viewership. Could hurt them more or less than expected.


I mean Netflix and Apple both face extremely fierce competition, just not from those actual companies you mentioned. Replace Nokia with Samsung and Blockbuster with Amazon and Comcast (Hulu) and you'd make a little more sense.

Making cars efficiently is hard and Tesla is great at powertrain and batteries, two important but specific parts of the process, and awful at the rest. The German companies are incredible at everything else, including reliability and efficiency.

Sure maybe they'll just never be able to catch up in making (or sourcing) batteries and electric motors. Wouldn't bet on it though.


I have 2 BMWs and a Tesla, and I'm a 20 year member of the BMW Car Club of America. There are a lot of things BMW does better than Tesla.

But the Tesla experience is more than just bolting an electric motor into an existing car. In other words, I don't want a legacy BMW with an all-electric drivetrain. I'd like them to rethink the car in the ways Tesla has.

I laugh every time I see a 3-series ad touting all the advanced tech, where the guy's dancing around, and holds his smartphone to the door handle to unlock the car. This just looks so laughably stupid. I'm sure this isn't the way it ACTUALLY works (I think they're demonstrating that they have the same phone key tech that Tesla does?) but I honestly don't know.


I can't understand why anyone would think unlocking with a smartphone up to the doorhandle is an improvement. Plenty of cars have had proximity authentication and touchless door unlocking for years. Granted, with a fob rather than a phone, but I'm not sure I see that as a negative.


It's definitely not. And I think the BMW ad is just a ham-fisted PR firm trying to find a visual way of conveying that you don't need a physical keyfob. I assume it works the same way Tesla's system does, but I don't know that for a fact.

Wait, actually you apparently need a Samsung phone? It uses NFC? Okay, it's worse than the Tesla system.

https://mashable.com/2018/02/26/bmw-digital-key-smartphones/


Actually, the more I read about it, the more annoyed I get, and the more it proves my original point. There are valid critiques of Tesla forcing people to use bluetooth phone key functionality; especially when the Model 3 was new, it was pretty much a dumpster fire on Android; I assume this must have improved. But it works flawlessly on iOS (1 year and 18k miles later), and BMW's implementation is just so janky and horrible. Sorry for the ugly PDF link.

You need a Samsung phone

You need to pair the car with some app

You have to buy Comfort Access on your car

You have to pay $100 after your first year to use it

You have to hold the phone or keycard up to the door handle.

The one advantage it has over the bluetooth system is it apparently works with a dead battery on your phone.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&c...


It’s like that because it’s not BMW developing the tech and it’s likely not BMW collecting the recurring revenue. Mass market cars now-a-days are a Frankenstein of niche hardware and software firms stitching together an end product.

This is one of the things Tesla has a hidden edge on. From my understanding, it’s all in-house. It does mean there’s two much going on at Tesla at once, which is why the short comings on quality I think. But it also means the only gap from now to domination for them is time.

I LOVE BMW btw, owned several. But I’m not blind to the fact that most of the car isn’t BMW at all. And all those firms are trying to squeeze margins by reducing development time.


Yeah that does not sound terribly convenient. Trying to solve a problem that does not really seem to exist, probably because they feel like they need to keep up with Tesla in some way.

I love new technology, but as someone who has to carry around a couple keys anyway, having a small fob on my keyring is not much of a burden, and the door unlocks when I touch it (provided the fob is on my person). Push button to start, never touch the fob, so using the phone the way BMW has it set up would be a step backwards in functionality.

And of course they want $100. This is the same company that charges for Apple CarPlay. Sigh. I want to like BMW, but their recent history has been disappointing in many ways.


Yup. I bought a Golf R in 2015, after BMW brought the 3 series wagon (f31) to the US without a manual transmission for the first time. Honestly, a top-end Golf is nicer than the lower-end BMWs. The Golf had the fob-based touchless/keyless entry like BMW, and it worked flawlessly. Really loved it. (I now have a 2011 X5 with the same type system).


I think this is what the other poster was getting at: for some reason Tesla boosters think other people are copying the design of their keyless entry system, but even a base-model Honda Civic comes with keyless, touchless entry with walk-away automatic locking. This has not been a premium feature, or even a novelty, for years.


I'm not talking about keyless entry which still requires you to carry a keyfob, and it should be clear given that I indicated that I own the cars in question.

I'm talking about (bluetooth proximity) phone key, which apparently still is a novelty, because, as far as I know, Tesla was the first to have it, and BMW is advertising a similar system, although I don't know how it works. Their ads make it look vastly inferior, but presumably, they haven't designed a system where you have to take your phone out of your pocket and hold it up to the door handle, as this would be a step BACKWARDS from BMW's existing Comfort Access system, which uses RFID in the keyfob, and unlocks the car when you put your hand through the doorcup.


Honestly curious why anyone would prefer a bluetooth system over an RF fob, especially an RF fob with physical key backup like Honda provides. Having to have a working and charged iPhone every time you want to open or close your car seems like a fundamentally terrible idea.


There was a lot of critique about this on the Tesla forums when the car first came out. I think this is a legitimate criticism. Particularly with Android phones having such difficulty; many people had to resort to toggling bluetooth on and off as they approached the car to make it work. This was never an issue with iOS, but there's obviously a huge potential for an issue (buggy software update with unintended consequences, either on the iOS/Android or Tesla side).

Our issues were limited to 2 instances:

1. When the car was delivered, it took them about a week to add the car to our Tesla/app account (which is the only way you can pair the car to the phone's bluetooth; once it's paired there is no app required), which meant we had to use the backup RFID keycards, which is more of a pain than it sounds like. Yes, you COULD carry it like a fob, but it's light and thin and could much more easily get lost (on day 1 I dropped it out of my running shorts onto the floor at a coffee shop). So you put it in your wallet, which means it's a 2-hand process to retrieve the card to unlock your car. You also have to remember to tap it to the car to lock as you walk away.

2. My wife's phone died on her once, so she had to pop in to a wine bar for a quick top-off. Of course most places happen to have iPhone chargers, but you can't count on them having all the phone power connenectors you might need; lightning, micro-usb, usb-c... etc. Particularly in the middle of nowhere. Yes, she could have called me or Tesla roadside... if her phone worked! Using the app I can remotely unlock the car for her, but i'm not sure how long this unlock 'lasts' for, and whether i need to do it again to enable the car to actually drive. Again, this is difficult to coordinate if she's a 5 minute walk away from the car (for instance).

There are, however, benefits vs an RFID fob, and I'm massively in the latter camp. Having lived with it for a year, it feels like all upside and no downside.

The obvious is that I don't need to carry a separate fob. Every time I walk up to the car, I just get in and go. No buttons. Nothing extra I need to carry. When I move our other cars around, I have to always remember (and usually go back inside) to retrieve keys.

My wife and I share the car, and we commute together. We can easily swap seats; I get out at my dropoff location for work, she hops behind the wheel and drives off. No "who has the key" or "do you also have your keys, or do you need to borrow mine?" We frequently go for runs after work. You never have to think about having 2 sets of keys, or handing the keys to the next person to get back to the car. If I finish my run before her, or want to retrieve something from the car, I know I can just get in, no question.

The car sits in the driveway. I don't even carry house keys. If I'm out for a walk, I pop the door, and press a button on the touchscreen and the garage door opens, and I walk into the house.

It's just so insanely convenient and works so well.

When people were complaining about Android functionality, there was a lot of talk about fobs. Then Tesla said they'd hand out free fobs to anyone who asked. I originally thought I'd want one, but I haven't even thought about asking for it.


> So you put it in your wallet, which means it's a 2-hand process to retrieve the card to unlock your car. You also have to remember to tap it to the car to lock as you walk away.

This seems, I don't know, abnormally bad? I drive an nine year-old cheapo econobox and I've never needed to take my fob out of my pocket. I walk up to my car, and push the button on the handle to unlock as I pull on the handle. Start is push-button. When I leave the car I push the button on the handle as I'm leaving to lock.


The RFID credit card 'backup' key is just that-- a backup. It's batteryless. It's not supposed to remain in your pocket. It's supposed to ONLY be used for, say, a valet, or if your phone key fails. The phone key works flawlessly in my experience, and is better than the fob-based system, in my opinion. (see the rest of the thread for more detail if you're not familiar with it).


How does the Tesla do with localization? On the Honda system my wife and I can get out and switch seats and the car will move the seats and mirrors to our respective positions. It also can determine if the key is or is not inside the car so that you din't lock yourself out, which I find to be a neat trick. I guess there's no reason you can't do that with Bluetooth, but I've never seen it in person.


Seems perfect in terms of not being able to lock your phone in the car. It doesn't 'remember' seat position based on which phone is where -- or, I should say, I've never used it. Coincidentally, just the day you posted this, my parents were visiting, and my dad was commenting that the 3 has this functionality from some video he watched. I have no idea how to enable it. It must be new.


I feel like the big disconnect here is that a lot of Tesla enthusiasts believe that the Tesla way (huge touchscreens, mobile phone unlock, etc.) are irrefutably better than the way other car makers do it. But my belief is that they're just DIFFERENT, which means that they will appeal to some people and not to others. I completely agree that someone who likes the Tesla way of doing things will have no interest in what is effectively today's BMW with an electric drivetrain. But on the other hand, someone who doesn't like the Tesla way of doing things (including me) would be absolutely thrilled to have an electric car option that is just like today's luxury German cars, except electric instead of ICE. I think (and hope) there's room for both in the market.


Completely agreed with that. In fact, the VW e-Golf (once they get over 200 miles range or so, here's hoping) is likely going to be my first EV purchase, feels like a Golf, drives like a Golf, looks like a Golf and it's electric, win-win.


From the folks that I know who have tried multiple options in the market, the Bolt is a much better choice than the eGolf. I've never driven an eGolf, though, but I owned an Mk7 Golf R and absolutely loved it, love the golf platform, was happy with VW.


I'm not sure VW will be continuing with the e-Golf. The VW ID.3, which will be released soon and has over 200 miles of range, looks like the e-Golf's replacement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8cHHNPRg-c


I feel like the "bad fit and finish" is an outdated criticism that people can't let go of. For proof, here is Bob Lutz, who has been on the board of all Big 3 automakers has to say about Tesla's fit and finish.

"So, while I continue to be critical of Tesla's business model and Musk's strategy, it was impossible to find fault with the visual quality of that Model 3." [1]

1. https://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/a28008116/tesla-model-...


> it was impossible to find fault with the visual quality of that Model 3

That's code for "looks good, feels like crap".


But the article talks exactly about visual quality with the first 15 cars from a large order. That's exactly why they cancelled their order.


That's your opinion. He doesn't say that at all in the piece he wrote.


I spent a chunk of time being driven around in one and I still preferred my 2006 Audi A6. The wind noise in an S is ridiculous, let alone the interior finish. And no, I didn’t notice the wind noise because the drivetrain was so quiet. My Audi’s engine isn’t much louder inside, either. Tesla have some good innovations but I’m not seeing how they’re sustaining a competitive advantage.


As someone who owns a Tesla Model 3 and a BMW 528, the Tesla is waaaay more fun. If I had to buy another car today for some reason, there's no question it would be a Tesla. And as far as build quality goes, are you kidding me? BMWs are notorious for super high maintenance costs.


So you think it is more likely that BMW and MB figure out very complex technical issues, totally rethink how to build cars and then manage to build that stuff at very large scale, compared to Tesla improving how well plastic panels are attached?

The BMW/MB that are coming out in the next 1-2 are already behind Tesla now. Tesla already outsells BMW/MB in many markets.

It will take a very long time before BMW/MB can even mount a serious challenge in terms of EV scale. Specially that without their own battery ack production they will simple not produce the car as cheaply.


My Model 3 is perfect and it was ordered when it should have been made in a tent


Your experience is not universal. Multiple car fleet operators have had problems with Tesla's quality, reliability, and speed of service:

https://www.thedrive.com/tech/27725/tesla-fleet-company-stru...


This is a tired argument that comes across as astroturfing


The Tesla panel gap spec on the front hood is 4.5mm +/- 1.5mm. One side could be 3mm, and the other 6mm, and that would be considered within spec. I just took my Model 3 in for panel gap issues yesterday (new as of 5 weeks ago), and their fix, although an improvement, wasn’t nearly the quality I’d expect on a car in the same class as a BMW, but it was “in spec”. I forced the tech to show me the spec document. After confirming with a panel gap gauge that the gap on the front was 6mm and within spec, I told the tech that it still didn’t look right. His advice was to leave it as it is, because other cars with similar gaps haven’t really been adjusted properly... when one panel is properly gap’d, the others are then wrong. Whatever method they’re using in the field to fix the gap problem isn’t able to reliably get consistent gaps.


The unibody is probably twisted, they would have to put it on a frame pulling machine. I've seen totalled and rebuilt cars have higher tolerance gaps.


>Nextmove said its Model 3 vehicles had paint defects, faulty wiring, scratches on the dashboard, faulty wheels and condensation in the headlights.

This seems like a pretty significant list of defects for only 85 cars. Assuming one incedence per defect, 5 / 85 ~= 6%. Thats a high rate of failure from tesla.

Hopefully damage is being incurred during transit. Tesla is still responsible, of course, but its better than having bad core processes.


It's worse than that - they only received 15 cars. The order was cancelled before the other 85 arrived.


One issue our Model 3 had was 2 defroster wires were burned out. I didn't notice it until ~5mo after delivery. The glass is made by Saint-Gobain, so arguably it's not Tesla's 'fault'. Would it have happened with another auto manufacturer? I'm not sure how to assess that. I suppose it could have been caused in installation or handling of the vehicle, rather than in manufacturing. Or perhaps the materials and design the automaker specs were the source of the problem more than the manufacturer of the glass itself?


Did you buy and install that glass yourself? If not, it is Teslas fault.


No, Tesla bought and installed that glass.


Then didn't test it.


> Would it have happened with another auto manufacturer?

Of course. But other auto manufacturers have better service / warranty service.

When you're looking at a fleet-wide deployment of many vehicles, those warranty / service agreements become more important. No reasonable business expects perfection from any auto manufacturer, they just expect warranty / service at a decent rate for any given problem.


You didn't ask me how my warranty service was.

I still think it's an open question whether it would have happened with another manufacturer. My gut feeling is 95% "yes", but design/handling/installation/testing (or lack thereof) could absolutely mean that Tesla is more likely to suffer these problems than another manufacturer.


> You didn't ask me how my warranty service was.

I'm going by the basis of the article. Although you're right, your anecdotal evidence would be helpful to the general gist of the story too.

> The rental company said following a dispute over how to resolve the quality shortcomings, Tesla triggered a refund clause but Tesla disputes that it canceled the order.

Overall, it seems like a warranty issue. Quality shortcomings are common in fleet vehicles (order 100 cars, a large number of them are going to be defective). The main issue is warranty + service, to ensure that all vehicles get up to code for business use.


Only Tesla had customers who will give them even an inch by even knowing who the original manufacturer is. What does it matter? A company should be an abstraction that hides its implementation details like an API. The vendor is responsible for sourcing its parts correctly. If McDonalds makes me sick they don’t get to even deflect an iota of blame to Heinz ketchup.


This is a manufacturing defect. Contact Tesla service and they'll fix it. I had some areas of the factory tint on the moonroof that has holes in it and they replaced the moonroof without any hassles.


It was replaced without a problem during the only service visit I've had. In fact, they even had the glass in stock. (it required replacing the entire rear/roof glass to the b-pillar, since that's one whole piece).


Same here on only service visit. That glass is huge! When I went to get the car tinted they didn’t even carry a piece of tint that large


One possible issue I have heard about regarding paint problems in particular is that California State and Bay Area local authorities have particularly tight limits on VOCs in terms of lbs per gallon of paint, and in terms of total annual lbs of VOC emissions which the Tesla paint shops are allowed to emit.

I believe the Federal standard is 5.0lbs/gallon but CA limits that further to 3.5lbs/gallon. Apparently it’s pretty hard to make decent hard coat paint with that little VOC emissions.

The BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Management District) also permits Tesla paint shops for a maximum total annual VOC emission level. This level could be low enough that either the paint shop becomes a production bottleneck, or they have to find ways to use less paint per vehicle.

It can’t be easy to manufacture cars in the regulatory environment that is the Bay Area, and many of these regs have tightened significantly since GM & Toyota closed NUMMI in 2010. CARB VOC limits, and local air quality district regulations in particular.

I’m sure this is an issue that all manufacturers are facing to some degree, but it’s interesting how the location of the final assembly plants can have a big impact on the regulations and therefore the finishing processes that can be used.

EDIT: That’s not to say the limits should not exist, or Tesla should be granted a waiver, etc.


The Bay Area seems like a really poor choice of location to manufacture anything where cost is a factor.


Not least of which software...


Those tight paint emissions limits exist because the Fremont plant is located in the middle of densely populated residential areas whose residents' lungs need to be protected.

It's an open secret at this point that these limits do indeed create a bottleneck for Tesla, which gets around it by applying a thinner coat to new cars coming through its paint shop.

https://www.thedrive.com/tech/28339/tesla-air-quality-compli...


Is there not a way to capture the VOCs using a hermetically sealed painting area and filtering?


Yes, but it is hard to install a fume hood in a tent...


Model 3 is assembled outside in a tent, what did they expect?


Tesla in the news again for something that wouldn't be considered news for any other car manufacturer.


My brother-in-law works at a very high end car detailing/film shop. He works on Ferraris and Lambos and McLarens and the like, but also Mercedes and Audi level of cars.

He also has to spend a lot of time detailing Teslas. Since his job is literally going every centimeter of the car with the proverbial fine tooth comb, he has come down hard against Tesla regarding the fit&finish compared to cars in the same price range. He geeks out hard over the drive train and performance, but when it comes to the interior and exterior panel fits, he's stated repeatedly how ... uneven everything is. Each car is extremely inconsistent, which he doesn't notice with the Audis and Mercedes and BMWs and such he has come through.

Even with all of that, I'd still be interested in a Model S. I would just like for the tolerance levels to be tightened before I do.


I remain interested in a Tesla coming to my garage, for me the deal killer right now is uncertainty about their future, and horror stories about service. I have a fairly low tolerance when it comes to being inconvenienced by my car.


It's almost like Silicon Valley "move fast & break things" ideology, applied to auto manufacturing, leads to the manufacture of defect-ridden cars in a tent.


In the abstract, I can see it being a valid strategy; do that, see what parts need improvement, refine your process to address the issues, see if it's good enough yet.

I don't think it's reasonable to ask a brand new car company to have the same levels of detail/polish available to companies that have been around for like 70 or 80 years; those companies probably had to learn a lot of shit too.

I can see this being a valid thought process. That doesn't mean I want to be the guinea pig.


They are not just any other car manufacturer, though. They are the leader in EVs and the first potentially viable non-big-three [edit: American] car manufacturer in quite a while. Plus, they have a polarizing CEO who craves being in the news. I am sure he would prefer it was only good news, but that isn't how it works.


Seriously...85 units. A cancellation of a $5.5 million contract would not warrant articles on Reuters and Bloomberg were it any other company.


Its a cancellation of a $5.5 Million contract on top of news from falling sales in Germany.

The overall "plot" being discussed is whether or not Q3 2019 will have more, or less, revenue than Q2 2019. Stories like this point towards "less revenue", which is worrisome for sure.


Can you provide a source for falling Germany sales?


https://insideevs.com/news/363047/tesla-model-3-orders-germa...

> Jan: 911

> Feb: 835

> Mar: 811

> Apr: 735

> May: 664

> June: 795

> July: 733

Model S and X sales are also down.


so...pretty stable since Q1 which is when Model 3 deliveries began there.


Q1 averaged 852 / month.

July was 733 / month, or a drop of 14%. That's a double-digit drop from a company claiming to have a growth story.


Q1 includes about 2 years worth of pent up demand.


If only there was some seasonal reason why people in Germany don't buy cars in the middle of the summer... maybe because they are all on the beach in Italy?

Europe literally shuts down in August and does very little business in July. I wouldn't worry too much.


Good to know.


Global deliveries were up 50% in Q2 vs Q1.


Mostly because Q1 was a terrible quarter. I don't think anyone should be comparing anything vs Q1 2019, especially if you're considering global numbers. (We have to make due with German numbers, because M3 didn't exist there until Q1)

--------

Q2 global deliveries were only up 5% from Q4 2018, and that's after launching Model 3 sales in China and Europe. Worse yet: Q2 2019 revenue is flat lined (compared to Q4 2018) because Tesla had so many discounts going on.

$6.32 Billion Revenue in Q4 2018, $6.35 Billion Revenue in Q2 2019. That's 5% more cars sold but only 0.5% more revenue, after expanding to new markets.

---------

In any case, German numbers seem to have flatlined. So Tesla isn't going to be relying on Germany sales to boost its numbers. Its all about China and Canada sales at this point.


That is true in a lot of cases (e.g. fires) but regarding manufacturing defects and tolerances, Tesla is objectively significantly worse than other car manufacturers.


What do you consider to be "in the news"? If the company in question was not Tesla, would it even have been posted on Hacker News at all?


from the article

"“We believe the customer’s decision not to take delivery of its remaining Model 3 orders wasn’t entirely due to quality issues, but was largely influenced by their frustration with an unrelated dispute from earlier in the year,” Tesla said in a statement, without elaborating further."

Translated: Nextmove wanted fleet discounts Tesla wasn't willing to provide and they grasped at straws to get out of the contract. Model 3 famously had fit and finish issues in the first runs but most issues are resolved and the quality of vehicles coming off the line now is pretty good. The famous panel gaps issues, I dare anyone to go measure them on your current car and on a Tesla built in the second half of 2019 and tell me if it's any different. I've seen BMW with pretty questionable craftmanship and tons of electrical issues that are super expensive to resolve.

This is a non news.


Here's a tweet from another EU rental agency saying they encountered the same issues as Nextmove. Maybe they're crooked too! https://twitter.com/chrisheiligers/status/116238251821101056...


> This is a non news.

These fleet operators have had similar issues:

https://www.thedrive.com/tech/27725/tesla-fleet-company-stru...

How do you translate their experience with Teslas?


> Translated:

Is this a personal opinion type translation or are you (hypothetically wink) referencing some inside information from either one of the parties?


I live in Fremont. That's all you need to know.


It's a shame that Tesla has build quality issues, but it's rich that a car company in a country known for making expensive cars with defective designs is panning a foreign automaker for quality issues.


I see you've never driven a Germany luxury car.


I've owned many, many BMWs over the past twenty years. I spent way more time and energy fixing quality issues on those BMWs in their first year than I have on my Tesla.

The Porsche Boxster I bought in 2015 was much better than the BMWs in its first year. But it did have a broken convertible top motor upon delivery. And that car just got totalled by my insurance company, because a defective firewall caused water to leak into the interior and destroyed the electronics and interior. The dealer estimated $48K to fix. Yes, $48K.


Keep it and turn it into a track car.


Thanks for the idea. But given my experience I've kinda soured on Porsche, plus parts are so damn expensive. My plan is to take part of the settlement and get/make a track-prepped miata.

Edit: But of course if someone feels so sorry for my tale of woe that they gift me a GT3, I wouldn't turn it down :-)


I don't blame you. A Miata is a great way to go. So much fun and yet so cheap.


I have. Loved the service, but I did get a chuckle out of the little things that broke precisely because they were overengineered unnecessarily.


I’ve got a 2013 Audi S5 and 2016 SQ5 sitting in my garage right now. They look great and are a lot of fun to drive, but have had materially more issues per mile than all but one other car I’ve owned (2003 Ford Expedition that was just shy of lemon status).


I certainly haven't, and I hear a lot of German luxury car owners don't get to drive them much either, because they're frequently in the shop for repairs, because apparently reliability isn't considered a luxury feature.


It isn't. If my luxury car breaks down (hypothetically, sadly I don't own one), the dealer picks it up at my house and leaves me a loaner. And I'm leasing, so what do I care about resale? The priority is the latest and greatest cool shit; which is the stuff that breaks down.


The Germans don't have built quality issues, they have engineering priority issues.


Perhaps Tesla wanted them to cancel the order because they couldn't fulfill it and that's why they delivered sub-par vehicles that they know would be throughly scrutinized.


The idea that Tesla couldn't produce 85 cars and thus intentionally produced 15 bad cars when they could have produced 15 good cars seems a bit far-fetched.


Well the reality seems to be they couldn't 15 good cars.


That seems like a needlessly complicated way to cancel an order that also makes Tesla look bad.


Might look less bad than "we can't fill that order"


Ah yes, the famous "I meant to do that!" defense.




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