Tesla Roadster Buyer Report 2: Crickets Chirping

David Noland
by David Noland

It’s now been four months since I sent in my $5,000 deposit on a Tesla S all-electric four-door sedan. I still think it’s a cool car, but so far I’m very disappointed in Tesla’s communications with us S owners. After an initial flurry of messages confirming the order, assigning me a production number, and inviting me to the opening of the New York Tesla store, I’ve heard exactly zilch from the factory.

Perhaps naïvely, I’d assumed that as a paid-up member of the Tesla family, I’d be receiving a steady flow of updates on the car’s development. How’s the testing going? Any big design changes? What’s up with the new S factory? I haven’t a clue. I was also expecting some customer surveys, asking us about our preferences for cost-vs-range, or electronic gizmos in the cockpit. Again, zilch.

There is an “Owners Only” section of the Tesla website, which requires a user ID and password. But it’s also a disappointment: a few tired old press releases and some desultory owner comments, mostly related to the Roadster. Under the discussion category “Model S development progress” I found mostly other S owners crowing about their sequence numbers. The last “owner update” on the owners-only section of the website is dated June 23.

With 1500 S customers putting down at least $7.5 million in deposits, you’d think Tesla could afford to hire somebody to send out a monthly update on the car. But apparently Tesla doesn’t put much stock in such mundane stuff. The company’s general on-line newsletter—-available to anyone—has made only one appearance since April. There was only one newsletter for the entire year of 2008. I sure hope their customer service on the car is better than this.

David Noland
David Noland

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  • Ryv Ryv on Sep 18, 2009

    As a marketing guy I completely agree with the writer. Here Tesla has an incredible opportunity. Not only have they conned $5000 out of you but they have the opportunity to turn you into the best type of advertising and EV advocate - the word of mouth type who will extol the virtues of the Tesla S sedan long before it is out. Your first adopters, that fanatical market base that advertisers and marketing folks are thrilled to find. I understand completely. And Tesla should be writing press release after press release as well as general marketing fluff and getting it out to anyone who will listen so that before this vehicle gets even 6 months to production even non-auto industry enthusiasts will have heard of it. It's really too bad is all I'm saying.

  • CyCarConsulting CyCarConsulting on Sep 18, 2009

    Tesla means Dale car in english

  • JK I grew up with Dodge trucks in the US, and now live in Turin, Italy, the home of Fiat. I don't think Italians view this as an Italian company either. There are constant news articles and protests about how stalantis is moving operations out of Italy. Jeep is strangely popular here though. I think last time I looked at stelantis's numbers, Jeep was the only thing saving them from big big problems.
  • Bd2 Oh yeah, funny how Trumpers (much less the Orange Con, himself) are perfectly willing to throw away the Constitution...
  • Bd2 Geeze, Anal sure likes to spread his drivelA huge problem was Fisher and his wife - who overspent when they were flush with cash and repeatedly did things ad hoc and didn't listen to their employees (who had more experience when it came to auto manufacturing, engineering, etc).
  • Tassos My Colleague Mike B bought one of these (the 300 SEL, same champagne color) new around June 1990. I thought he paid $50k originally but recently he told me it was $62k. At that time my Accord 1990 Coupe LX cost new, all included, $15k. So today the same car means $150k for the S class and $35k-40k for the Accord. So those %0 or 62k , these were NOT worthless, Idiot Joe Biden devalued dollars, so he paid AN ARM AND A LEG. And he babied the car, he really loved it, despite its very weak I6 engine with a mere 177 HP and 188 LBFT, and kept it forever. By the time he asked me to drive it (to take him to the dealer because his worthless POS Buick Rainier "SUV" needed expensive repairs (yes, it was a cheap Buick but he had to shell out thousands), the car needed a lot of suspension work, it drove like an awful clunker. He ended up donating it after 30 years or so. THIS POS is no different, and much older. Its CHEAPSKATE owner should ALSO donate it to charity instead of trying to make a few measly bucks off its CARCASS. Pathetic!
  • RHD The re-paint looks like it was done with a four-inch paintbrush. As far as VWs go, it's a rebadged Seat... which is still kind of a VW, made in Mexico from a Complete Knock-Down kit. 28 years in Mexico being driven like a flogged mule while wearing that ridiculous rear spoiler is a tough life, but it has actually survived... It's unique (to us), weird, funky (very funky), and certainly not worth over five grand plus the headaches of trying to get it across the border and registered at the local DMV.
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