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Tesla’s growing pains are starting to be felt by Model 3 buyers as delivery delays pile up

With the Model 3 production ramp up, Tesla’s delivery volume is increasing at an incredible pace that is resulting in delays and customer service issues.

Electrek talked with several Model 3 buyers who have experienced significant delivery delays and frustrating radio silence from Tesla’s customer service.

Tesla says that it is “expanding its logistics and scheduling operations” in order to address the issues.

Over the last month, Electrek has received several reports from Model 3 buyers seeing delivery delays.

Matt Gribben reserved a Model 3 and placed a $1,000 deposit over 2 years ago when Tesla unveiled the vehicle.

In May, he placed the actual order for the Model 3 and updated it in June when Tesla launched the Performance version.

On August 20, Gribben was told that his vehicle had been produced. Tesla gave him a VIN and a delivery date, but two days later, the automaker contacted him to tell him that there was an issue with the vehicle’s battery pack and he would be “assigned” a new car.

A few days later, they reached out again to give him a new vehicle to be delivered on August 31, but a Tesla representative called a day before the delivery date to tell him that there was actually no new Model 3 assigned and it’s now not clear when he is going to get his car.

Gribben said about his situation:

“I totally understand there are lots of people in queue to get their cars, but when they schedule you for an appointment it creates a high expectation. Today it really feels like Tesla does not care about me and my family as customers. This is a nightmare that no one wants after eagerly watching the development of the model 3, and waiting for a car for so long.”

In another example, Cody A. from Texas has been in a similar but arguably even worse situation with his Model 3, which he ordered on June 27.

Being in Texas, which is one of the few states that still bans Tesla’s direct sale business model, Cody had to pay for the vehicle in full from another state before delivery.

He did on July 13th and was given a delivery date of August 4th.

Over the last month, the delivery of his Model 3 has been pushed on four occasions with little to no reason even though the vehicle has been paid in full:

“Perhaps the most frustrating part of this process has been the inability to escalate my issue. Requests to my IDA, hour-long phone calls with Tesla support, and numerous emails have resulted in nothing. I’ve even sussed out the email addresses of a number of higher-ups in the Texas delivery division, but nobody ever gets back to me.”

He now had to do two payments on his third-party car loan even though he doesn’t have his Model 3.

Sources familiar with Tesla’s deliveries in the US told Electrek that some delivery hubs are seeing 3 to 4 times the delivery volumes that they normally handle when getting large Model 3 shipments over the past month.

In some cases, Tesla’s logistics operations are not able to handle the volume and it is not uncommon for buyers to see several delivery delays.

After contacting Tesla about the situation, a spokesperson sent us the following statement:

“As the number of cars we’re delivering has rapidly multiplied, we are continuing to expand our logistics and scheduling operations to ensure our customers get their cars as quickly and smoothly as possible. In addition to increasing our transport capacity, we have also added new staff to our deliveries team, and we expect to see further improvements as we scale.”

As we reported during the last episode of the Electrek podcast, Tesla has produced a record number of Model 3 vehicles this quarter despite missing its goal to achieve a production rate of 6,000 units per week by the end of August.

The automaker guided a production of 50,000 to 55,000 Model 3 vehicles in the third quarter and even more deliveries.

We reported last week that Tesla has been building a new delivery organization to support the insane workload that comes with Model 3 deliveries.

Electrek’s Take

In Tesla’s defense, no matter how awful those buying experiences are for those involved, I think it is an almost unavoidable consequence of Tesla’s growing pains.

You could argue that Tesla is then growing too fast if it results in those experiences, but it’s hard to argue against Tesla growing at a high pace due to the necessity of accelerating EV adoption.

But I think there are still ways to at least partly address the issues.

Tesla could maybe form an internal “special” team within its delivery organization to handle extreme cases where the regular team appears to have dropped the ball, like the two cases mentioned above, which are unfortunately only two examples out of many.

As the buyers mentioned, the lack of customer service communication is often the most frustrating part of the process. If Tesla had someone who could at least explain the situation clearly to those customers and take over their cases, it would be reassuring.

I had a similar situation with my Model 3 buying process. A Tesla representative told me that my car would be produced the week of August 13th. A week later, I was told that my car wasn’t actually produced and then two more weeks went by without any explanation of what was going on with my vehicle despite several inquiries.

This week, after mentioning my own experience to Tesla’s PR in relation to this report, I was told that my car was produced this week and it is now in transit to Montreal.

I am hearing too many similar experiences.

To be fair, while we are seeing a lot of those issues, it does appear that the vast majority of Model 3 buyers are satisfied with the buying and delivery experience.

In short, Tesla is doing well considering the situation, but it could certainly do better.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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