Owner Sues Tesla Over Brand New Model 3 With Cracked Jacking Points

After Tesla allegedly refused to cover the issue under warranty, the lawyers got involved.

byLewin Day|
Electric Vehicles photo
Getty Images

Tesla's build quality is often called into question, with the latest charge alleging the company sold new Model 3 vehicles in Germany with damaged jacking points. The issue has led to a lawsuit, with one German owner seeking a replacement vehicle, reports AutoEvolution.

A German engineer reportedly bought a Tesla Model 3 Long Range in February 2021. When spring came around a few months later, the owner arranged to swap out the winter tires, only to discover the brand new car had significant damage. Three of the jacking points under the body showed serious fractures.

According to reports, the owner's investigation revealed that other customers were affected by the same issue, allegedly caused by a robot at Tesla's Fremont factory. According to Christoph Lindner, a lawyer engaged by the owner, Tesla later admitted in writing that it had amended its production process in order to avoid similar defects in future. Linder has built a reputation in Germany as a "Tesla lawyer" who regularly deals with cases concerning the company's vehicles.

According to German outlet EFahrer, which first broke the story, Tesla's initial response was to allege the issues were cosmetic, simply painting over the damaged parts. When the owner protested, the company is said to have claimed the damage was not covered by warranty. However, Tesla has a 4-year, 50,000-mile warranty that covers defects in materials and workmanship, and the vehicle is well within those limits. The automaker is said to have offered a battery replacement as a solution, to be paid for out of the owner's own pocket.

The owner then engaged Lindner to take the matter to court in September 2021, with the lawyer requesting an independent inspection of the vehicle. A court-assigned DEKRA vehicle expert inspected the car in April 2022, finding that it would immediately fail its first regular inspection as required by German road law. In conclusion, the expert stated "Due to the damage found on the lifting profile of the battery housing, a test sticker cannot be assigned to the vehicle presented here as part of the main inspection according to §29 StVZO," in German-language documents viewed by EFahrer.

Thus, without repair, the vehicle would be forced off the road as early as 2024. The owner is seeking a replacement Model 3 to resolve the matter, to be delivered from Tesla's China plant. A specific part of the request is that the car not be manufactured at Tesla's Fremont plant in the US, and that the vehicle be flawless on delivery.

The court case is expected to deliver a verdict later this year. Where it goes from here is anyone's guess; Tesla may seek a settlement or restitution in short order, or it may challenge the assertions of the independent inspector. If written admission of fault was provided, though, Tesla may find itself out of luck. Regardless, there's a very frustrated owner of a Model 3 in Germany, and they're relying on the courts to provide satisfaction.

Got a tip? Let the author know: lewin@thedrive.com