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Electric car rental NextMove claims Tesla “service hell”



Nextmove is adding far fewer Tesla Model 3 to its fleet than planned. The company had ordered 100 Tesla Model 3 at the end of last year, but after problems with the delivery of the first models, the rental company cancelled a further order worth around five million euros.

According to Nextmove, only every fourth Tesla Model 3 new vehicle in the first fifteen EVs delivered in spring 2019 was without defects. Our editorial team has received delivery reports listing up to seven defects per vehicle – mostly of an optical nature such as scratches in the paint or interior, but also moisture in one of the headlamps.

However, the safety-relevant defects, are far more severe, such as a heavily damaged tire. In a press release, Nextmove also mentioned defective charge controllers, incorrect wiring harnesses or missing emergency call buttons. “Such quality defects would have endangered the safety of the customers and the economy of Nextmove”, reads the report.

“Tesla has obviously arrived in service hell,” added Nextmove managing director Stefan Moeller. In an agreement with Tesla Germany over a process for the faultless delivery and for punctual repairs of faulty cars that Tesla took back, Nextmove set a 24-hour ultimatum. The company promptly cancelled the order for 85 further vehicles when this time frame ran out. The carmaker replied quickly saying: “As announced yesterday by telephone, Tesla would like to stick to the regular processes. Therefore today Tesla will cancel the overdue vehicles according to the vehicle sales conditions.”

“We don’t know whether we are an isolated case or whether we are generally dealing with business partners in this way. We very much regret this,” says Moeller. “But: In the end, we only insisted on adherence to quality standards and processes customary in the market to protect our tenants and our business model.”

Also in response to enquiries from our German edition, electrive.net, Tesla has defended itself against the accusation that the company caused the cancellation itself. “It is wrong to say that Tesla cancelled the order because it was the customer who did not accept any more cars ready for delivery on-site,” said a company spokesman. “We believe that the customer’s decision not to fully accept the remaining Model 3 orders were not based solely on quality issues, but was heavily influenced by his disappointment with an unrelated dispute earlier this year.” An explanation that was also given almost verbatim to the Bloomberg news agency, who has also reported on the series of events between Nextmove and Tesla.

Nextmove is under some pressure because, after ordering 100 vehicles, the company has already signed numerous long-term leases with customers. These had to be partially terminated or rented to the customers at the discounted price with another electric car. In the summer, Nextmove said it wanted to order four Model 3 over online. “The result was that Tesla was able to offer us vehicles as new that had already been registered to a private individual,” says Moeller.

This would have had two main consequences: BAFA only grants the environmental bonus for vehicles registered for the first time. If, as Nextmove claims, the Model 3 had already been approved, it would not have been possible to apply for the plug-in grant despite the offer of a new car. Besides, the sales tax could no longer be claimed as input tax from the tax office.

In response to this accusation, Tesla explained that it was a “temporary system problem with the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) assignment”, which has now been solved. It was wrong to assume that Tesla had ever planned to supply cars with chassis numbers that had previously been registered for another customer.

Nextmove does not want to do without Tesla vehicles, at least not entirely. “Although we consider the Model 3 to be the best electric car in the world today, we are now very keen for other manufacturers to come out with competitive vehicles next year – and we also know what customer service means,” says Moeller. “But, of course, we’ll keep testing to see if Tesla can get out of the service hell.”

Nextmove says they have 38 Model S and 12 Model X in their fleet. The first ten Model S were purchased in 2015. Even before the official European launch of Model 3 in spring 2019, Nextmove had already imported several Model 3 from the USA in 2018 and thus rented out the volume model before the market launch.

Reporting by Sebastian Schaal.

bloomberg.comautonews.com


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