GREELEY — Already in what likely its most tumultuous year, problems with electric car manufacturer Tesla continue to grow.
Now, new car purchasers are having trouble completing their title work when they arrive at the department of motor vehicles.
Those in charge of the titling say the paperwork is not coming in on time — or at all — and dealerships are unable to get Tesla to return calls to take care of the issue.
The titling problems are only the latest of a list of problems for the electric car maker in 2018. Those problems include hacking, the Model S recall, problems with auto pilot that lead to deaths, an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board, a downgraded credit rating by Moody’s, delays with its Model 3 production target, work place conditions questioned, key executives leaving the company, layoffs, whistleblower complaints to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and shareholder lawsuits, among other things.
Online Tesla forums highlight owners talking about the problems since January 2018 with the Manufacture’s Statement of Origin (MSO), which is the original title from the manufacturer which shows proof of original manufacture used in the title of a new vehicle.
Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes calls the MSO the birth certificate of a car, and those problems have made their way to Colorado just as the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (CAQCC) implemented low-emissions vehicles (LEV) standards. Those standards were proposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper and are identical to those set by California.
These standards could also lead the commission to set minimum sales mandates for fuel-efficient vehicles. Manufacturers that don’t meet the mandates would be required to purchase “credits” from other manufactures, especially Tesla, the only 100 percent electric car manufacturer.
The credits amount to a penalty to auto manufacturers who fail to meet the mandate, while financially helping the struggling Tesla Corporation.
They will debate the topic in the coming months.
The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association (CADA), responded to today’s vote approving California low-emission-vehicle standards on sales of new light- and medium-duty cars and trucks in Colorado through a press release.
“Today, Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission rubber-stamped California’s vehicle emission regulations,” said CADA President and CEO Tim Jackson. This will add a $2,110 tax to the sticker price of average new vehicles in Colorado, a tax that will be even higher on the SUVs and trucks that Coloradans prefer. This is hard-earned cash that the typical new vehicle buyer in Colorado will not recover and will have the biggest negative impact on working families and the economically disadvantaged.
“Rather than trust the citizens of our state to choose the vehicles they need and want to drive safely in Colorado’s unique conditions, the Commission has concluded that California’s regulators, not Coloradans, should decide what vehicles should be bought and sold in our state.”
Koppes said she’s seen the problems in Weld for a couple of months now. She said she can’t pinpoint exactly what’s causing the problem, but she and auto dealers are working to find an answer.
“Within the packet of the title work there is something wrong,” she said, adding paperwork is either missing or incomplete. “It’s not consistent as to what that problem is, but we are trying to work to get the customers the services they need.”
Koppes said most times it has to do with the MSO, which contains the Vehicle Identification Number, a 17-digit number that contains all the information about the vehicle such as where it was made, engine size, color, among other things.
Without that, clerks cannot title the vehicle.
Koppes said her clerks normally just contact the dealership which straightens it out with the car manufacturer, but they are having problems getting Tesla to call them back.
“We are not able to correct the problems at this point,” Koppes said. “The dealership has to do an internal research to see if it’s something they can correct or if they have to go back to the manufacturer.”
Tesla had not returned calls for comment to Complete Colorado at press time.
Koppes said, however, that titling clerks and dealerships are doing everything they can to make sure customers are getting the help they need, including issuing extensions on temporary tags.
“It is not the fault of the customer,” she said. “We are working with the dealers. And we are all trying to help the customers in this situation until we figure out what’s going on.”