Model 3 Reservation Holder Survey Underlines Tesla’s Mass Market Challenge


They waited for reservations… will they also wait for service? (image courtesy Investors Business Daily)

Much of the critical coverage of Tesla Motors, both here at Daily Kanban and elsewhere, has focused on issues that Tesla is able to get away with as a small-volume manufacturer serving an affluent, early-adopter market segment. From manufacturing bottlenecks to quality control problems, from inconsistent, hype-happy communication to poor service, Tesla has been able to weather a storm of problems because its customers and fans are so patient with and passionate about the company. But as Tesla moves from expensive, low-volume cars to the mass market Model 3 these problems are taking on a new significance. In part this is because higher volumes increase the likelihood of quality and service problems, and in part it is because mass market customers who depend on a single car for their daily routine are more demanding than luxury car buyers who can always take the Lexus to work if their Tesla is broken.

Given Tesla’s pattern of releasing cars with insufficient testing as well as its chronic quality problems, it’s safe to assume that the Model 3 will face its fair share of issues. Thus, investing in service infrastructure that will allow Tesla to promptly and affordably repair and upgrade high volumes of Model 3 is extremely important. As Bertel has written about at Forbes, Tesla is behind the curve on those investments and it will cost billions to catch them up. Just yesterday a piece by former Tesla employee Evan Niu dramatically illustrated just how far Tesla has to go to improve its service time, which has dragged on for 8 long months in Niu’s case. Now an exclusive study of about 800 Tesla Model 3 reservation holders, EV owners and luxury brand car owners conducted last year on behalf of a major automaker and provided to Daily Kanban by an industry source, reveals why Tesla’s quality and service woes are so critical to the success or failure of the Model 3.

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Roger Penske Bets Big On “Closed Market” Japan

Not closed at all, not even close

Not closed at all, not even close

Penske Automotive  Group (PAG), the sprawling empire of auto racing legend Roger Penske, just placed a big bet on a surprising segment of the Japanese car market. PAG bought half of Japan’s Nicole Group, “a luxury dealership group with operations in Kanagawa and Tokyo, Japan,” as PAG said in a statement.  The Nicole Group does a booming business trafficking products that, if you believe the words of Detroit automakers, can’t be brought into the island nation: Imported cars. More in Forbes.

This is NOT the joint Toyota/BMW sports car


At the Detroit Auto Show, Toyota showed a “daringly designed new sports coupe concept,” the Toyota FT-1, which was said to “signal the direction of Toyota’s future sports car designs.”  Toyota also is developing a sports car together with its alliance partner BMW. It was assumed by some that the FT-1 would signal the design direction of its baby with BMW. Apparently, this isn’t so. [Continue Reading]

Ten Burning Questions For The Detroit Auto Show

No Daily Kanban staff were required to set foot in Detroit's Cobo Center during the making of this report.

No Daily Kanban staff were required to set foot in Detroit’s Cobo Center during the making of this report.

10: Has it become any better to cover? Are the WiFi hotspots still overloaded? Does your phone still switch to an international roaming plan if you stand in the wrong corner of Cobo? Has the free everything been great? Is the weather halfway decent? Just kidding, everyone knows the answer to those questions. And since each of these ten “questions” is really more of a series of questions, let’s just get on with it, shall we?

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Toyota releases pictures of daring sportscar concept


Toyota released pictures of what it calls a “daringly designed new sports coupe concept,” the Toyota FT-1.  It has its coming out at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and is said to “signal the direction of Toyota’s future sports car designs.” [Continue Reading]

Heard any good jokes lately? Meet the man who knows how to bring Cadillac to global glory, “easily.”

Uwe at Tuck

Uwe at Tuck

Cadillac doesn’t have a new marketing chief quite yet, Uwe Ellinghaus will officially start on January 1, but Uwe is already giving interviews. What is making headlines around the world is that Uwe told Ben Klayman of Reuters that “it could take as long as a decade to build Cadillac’s reputation as a global luxury brand.” That may shock some at GM who hope Uwe would be finished sooner, say, can you do it before the end of the current quarter? Keep hoping, because it keeps you from finding out that Uwe is on crack.

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Beijing drag queen BYD Qin finally dethroned by BMW X5M – Films at 11!

Qin-BMW - Picture courtesy

Over the past weeks, the BYD Qin has entertained China’s car-crazed population by beating the doors off supposedly powerful competition on a drag strip near Beijing. Car after car was left in the dust by a BYD Qin that previously was only known as a rather tame plug-in hybrid. Its fame lasted until the Qin finally met a faster car: A 555hp Twin Turbo V8 BMW. [Continue Reading]

BMW Takes Wraps Off i8


At a driving event at the BMW Group’s Miramas test track in France, the company presented a prototype of its second production vehicle, the BMW i8. According to the company, “this plug-in hybrid model is the most progressive sports car of our time.” [Continue Reading]