- Tesla buyers usually have 10 days to take delivery of their car once it is finished at the factory.
- This becomes a problem, however, if the window overlaps with the end of Tesla's quarterly deadline, say current and former employees.
- In the hurry that the company needs to deliver the cars by the end of the period, some customers become "unparalleled" for the benefit of someone who can take the car earlier.
- Tesla announced Wednesday its biggest drop in sales, with a 31% drop in the number of quarterly shipments since the fourth quarter.
While Tesla was rushing to deliver the cars before the end of the quarter, some buyers' cars were offered to other customers who could take delivery of their vehicles faster than the intended recipient.
Handing over keys to buyers is not usually a problem, especially since buyers are usually eager to take delivery of their car once they are ready, but this is put to the test at the end of the quarter, because tight deadlines cause a lot of pressure inside the company.
For a small number of customers, the 10-day delivery period of Tesla, defined in the contract, sometimes overlaps the end of the quarter. When this happens, customers are told that their car can be given to another buyer.
Current and former Tesla employees, discussing with Business Insider under the guise of anonymity because they are not allowed to discuss internal practices, claim that this practice – known as "VIN" without equal "- is part of Tesla's daily life. The question was uncovered in a viral thread from Reddit last week.
"In general, as soon as the car arrives, we plan the delivery," said a current employee. "Most people agree with that, but those who are not, for whatever reason, are incomparable."
"The final goal at the end of the quarter is to check every car" delivered "by all means necessary," said the employee.
To be sure, customers will always receive the same model they buy, although the VIN or vehicle identification number may not be the one originally assigned to them. In some cases, the current employee stated that this could also cause a delay because the customers are facing.
A representative of Tesla declined to comment.
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Other employees, past and present, confirmed that this practice was typical at the end of the quarters, while Tesla is renowned for its all-in-one-bridge approaches allowing cars to get out and enter in the aisles of the customers. In e-mails from Business Insider at the end of March, Chief Executive Elon Musk told all employees that their top priority should be deliveries.
"This is the biggest wave in Tesla's history," Musk said in an e-mail. "But this is mainly based on our first delivery of production cars on two continents simultaneously and will not be repeated in the coming quarters."
In the end, Tesla recorded Wednesday one of its largest quarterly declines in its history, shipments falling 34% from the previous quarter.
"We only delivered half of the quarter's numbers to March 21st, 10 days before the end of the quarter," Tesla said in a press release Wednesday night. "This resulted in a large number of vehicle deliveries in the second quarter."
On Thursday, Elon Musk's lawyers are expected to appear in federal court in New York for a hearing in the billionaire's case for contempt of court against the Securities and Exchange Commission.
More of Tesla's delivery fight in the first quarter: