Why is Tesla’s Quality Control Still So Poor?

Despite Model S deliveries going on for two years, the same problems keep occurring with new Teslas.

byRob Stumpf|
Electric Vehicles photo


Over the past two years, the Internet has been littered with quality control complaints about brand new Teslas. Plenty of things would warrant a complaint on a brand new car, sure. But many owners feel that Tesla rushed their models into production—and some have even filed lawsuits in order to return their cars over repeat issues.

If you buy a new economy car, you might not expect things to be perfect. I drive a Ford Focus ST, and I have misaligned body panels and delicate paint from the factory...but the ST was a $30,000 car. Yes, that’s not cheap by any means, but could you imagine spending three times that and receiving a P100D or Model X with the same issues?

Some of the major complaints that continue to arise are paint-related. In April of 2015, owner lawerence.b on Tesla's forums indicated that his brand new Model S 85D (which cost him around $110,000) had countless flaws in the paint including peeling, insufficient thickness, and various marring on the doors.

Another user who had owned two Teslas at that point also chimed in:

The Service Center does take ownership of the issues and tries to fix them […] but that does not change the fact that a car costing 100k ships with bad paint jobs much more often than it should.

Tesla owner

Fast forward to a new Model X purchased in April 2016: paint issues are still regularly popping up. This time, deep imperfections under the clear coat can be seen, as well as orange peeling that can be seen in the photo below. Tesla did step up and fix the issues, which should be expected in a car of that price point; however, some owners feel that having the paint fixed would only cause more issues and recommend rejecting delivery of the car instead.

via HP1 on TeslaMotorsClub

Most recently, on April 4, 2017, a proud new owner took delivery of his Model S 90D only to find that his A-pillar had split straight up the center. I’m not quite sure how this wasn’t noticed by the delivery team (or the new owner upon pickup), but it’s a big mistake to miss. What’s more surprising is that the body shop who currently has the car believes that it happened long before it reached him:

[The body shop] believes that the crack happened during the manufacturing process and went through the paint shop as cracked.

via Snowstorm on TeslaMotorsClub

Moving on from visual quality, we expand to mechanical components. YouTuber Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) bought a brand new Model S and has experienced two power steering rack failures within 6,000 miles. More owners also posted on forums regarding power steering loss as well, indicating this is not necessarily an isolated incident.

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Tesla is new, so is it really that hard to accept that they don’t possess the same manufacturing skill as their competitors who have been around for decades? Their owners love being on the cusp of new technology and are willing to “beta test” (as some might put it) the car’s release. 

Nevertheless, one question stays in the mind: What happens when the more affordable Model 3 starts to be released to the public? How many more cut corners and imperfections will be allowed on a $30,000 car versus its $110,000 counterpart?

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