Tesla has brand cachet. It’s really popular with Millenials and on social media where viral YouTube stars and TikTokers often make it a point to highlight the electric vehicle. And while Tesla has problems, the (unfortunate) reality is that the combination of the Supercharger network and the brand’s batteries/range makes them some of the best EVs on the market. But not everyone is wooed by Tesla. They have some quality issues that legacy automakers could never get away with nor be forgiven for. Those issues got so bad for one owner that he traded his Model S in for a Chrysler 300. Yes, a Stellantis product.
I stumbled across this baffling trade on Reddit. The guy, who preferred to be called Jack B. to avoid incurring the wrath of the angry Tesla cult online, posted what happened in a thread on r/Cars. In his post, he wrote that the 300 solved all the problems that he had with his Model S, which included:
- No physical controls for convenience functions.
- No engine sound.
- An uncomfortable interior.
- And the big one: quality.
He addresses this though, saying “Yeah, I know FCA [now Stellantis] quality leaves a lot to be desired, but hey, Tesla prepared me just fine for that.”
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Touché sir. I was still pretty miffed by this though, so I decided to reach out to him to get some answers. He happily obliged. My first question was very nearly, “What the hell?”
I did want to know if he had considered any other EVs. While the Tesla Model S doesn’t have that many competitors, to pass up the eternity of the EV market for something like a big rear-wheel drive V8 sedan with old-as-hell bones didn’t make sense to me. His answer gave me the impression that, while he admits that Tesla might be the best EVs on the market, Tesla’s quality and service turned him off EVs as a whole:
Well first and foremost, I’ll say that I definitely wouldn’t rule out EVs. There’s definitely something to be said for never filling up gas and all the added tech that comes with an EV and specifically a Tesla. For thé reasons in my post though, I’m just not a fan of Tesla and the quality of their product or service. Problem is, I still think if you want an EV, Tesla remains the best in the business because of their charging network. Nobody else comes close.
The quality issues he mentioned? They were things that would be unacceptable in a $20,000 car, let alone one that started just over $86,000. (Tesla changes their prices often. A Model S started at $86,200 in 2019. Now the base price is $94,990.)
The owner said:
...for the money, I was beyond disappointed with the quality and poor customer service. The carpet is like something you’d find in a Corolla, the panel gaps are as bad as everyone says, the screen was yellowing after 2 years, and the replacement parts are hard to get and extremely expensive ($1k and 3 months for a cracked mirror)!
He said his search led him to the traditional four-door sedan with an internal combustion engine. Before he knew it, he had stumbled into a Dodge dealership. He had always wanted a V8, but he didn’t want a Charger, thinking it a bit too much.
“The problem with the Charger is it’s super in your face, and I didn’t want to have someone challenging me in their V6 Mustang at every other red light,” he said.
So how the hell did he end up with a 300? It checked all the boxes for him. It was big and old school in the best ways, and it had actual buttons to control things.
I saw a 300 on the lot and really thought it was a compelling package for the money… RWD V8, dead quiet (near S class quiet) and a surprisingly nice interior in the Platinum one. And most importantly, I don’t have to change the volume or climate with a f*%king screen.
He says he didn’t ever think that he would own a 300. But considering that you’d have to spend way more money to get its combination of size, V8 engine, and rear-drive platform, it works for him:
I always thought the original ones were pretty damn tacky but this particular vehicle just checked all the boxes. The full-size comfortable highway cruiser segment is pretty much dead save for an S class or A8 type of car. The 300 might’ve been a huge over correction from EV to super traditional, but I’m loving it so far. It captures an old school cool that you just don’t find anymore.
For those thinking that he may not have experienced the Model S long enough to do something like this, he had it for over two years. That’s more than enough time to encounter quality issues and get fed up with its do-all-control-all center screen.
I was also interested in knowing whether or not he had gotten any heat from the Tesla community. Someone betraying the flock by going back to the dark side of a big dino-guzzling V8 would have to catch some hate. Jack B says he has, but surprisingly not as much as you would think.:
I mean to be honest I don’t know too many die-hard Tesla people. I was accused of being anti-science or whatever on Reddit lol but I just see it as enjoying the old guard until the final V8s succumb to their electric counterparts.
This may go down in history as one of the most surprising trades ever, but it’s understandable. The owner of one of the most advanced EVs on the market trading it in for a gas engined car that’s been on the market largely unchanged for over a decade says a lot. If more Tesla owners stopped drinking the kool-aid for a bit and saw the problems with the quality of their vehicles and the issues of having a screen control everything, more owners would probably follow Jack B’s example. They’d either leave the brand for another EV or buy another gas car. That thought should worry Tesla enough to try and improve.