I’m still a newbie when it comes to automotive journalism, but I’ve already learned quite a bit about this strange world where automakers and writers are often indistinguishable from each other. One of the big perks is access to an automaker’s fleet of press cars, which big companies like Ford and Toyota are able to maintain without a second thought.
But with Tesla’s announcement that it will not provide press cars to journalists prior to the vehicle going on sale, some people are already saying the Model S is going to be a flop. I think this whole situation reveals more about the spoiled nature of auto writers than some nefarious scheme by Tesla to rip people off with an inferior product.
It is standard operating procedure for automakers to provide journalists access to new cars for an extended amount of time before it goes on sale. There are press fleets around every major city so newspaper, websites, and magazines all get access to these vehicles. But it isn’t cheap, maintaining these fleets, and it is also contingent on having the production capacity to take vehicles out of the market and relegate them to press duty.
Tesla does not have that luxury right now; there is a long list of people who have plunked down a chunky deposit on a Model S sedan. The electric automaker does not have a lot of production capacity right now, and the first few cars are going to trickle out to owners…who probably don’t even care what reviewers have to say about the Model S in the first place.
Some people are comparing Tesla’s move with that of major film studios, who deny critics access to the film until it hits theaters. But car reviewers don’t like to share, and as it is I am sure Tesla has a list of reviewers who get first dibs to the Model S anyways. Down the road, if Tesla is still around, this policy may change…but I think it’s a big to-do about nothing, and the only people who are really complaining are the writers who don’t get a free luxury ride for a week before anybody else does.
Source: Left Lane News