Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 | Last Update : 08:58 PM IST
Carmaker denies allegations, cites unusually rigorous quality check.
San Francisco: After Tesla’s Model S and Model X roll off the company’s assembly line, the electric vehicles usually make another stop — for repairs, nine current and former employees have told Reuters.
The luxury cars regularly require fixes before they can leave the factory, according to the workers.
Quality checks have routinely revealed defects in more than 90 per cent of Model S and Model X vehicles inspected after assembly, these individuals said, citing figures from Tesla’s internal tracking system as recently as October.
Some of these people told Reuters of seeing problems as far back as 2012.
Tesla said its quality control process is unusually rigorous, designed to flag and correct the tiniest imperfections. It declined to provide post-assembly defect rates to Reuters or comment on those cited by employees.
The world’s most efficient automakers, such as Toyota, average post-manufacturing fixes on fewer than 10 per cent of their cars, according to industry experts. Getting quality right during initial assembly is crucial, they said, because repairs waste time and money.
At Tesla “so much goes into rework after the car is done ... that’s where their money is being spent,” a former Tesla supervisor said.
The automaker said the majority of its post-assembly defects are minor and resolved in a matter of minutes.
Tesla has enthralled consumers with sleek designs, clean technology and legendary acceleration on its pricey cars. A Consumer Reports survey found 91 percent of Tesla owners would buy again.
Still, the magazine and market researcher J.D. Power have dinged the company on quality, citing troubles such as faulty door handles and body panel gaps. Bernstein analyst A.M. (Toni) Sacconaghi, Jr. test-drove one of the company’s Model 3 earlier this month, writing that the fit and finish were “relatively poor.” Tesla owners have complained on web forums of annoying rattles, buggy software and poor seals that allow rainwater to seep into the interior or trunk.
Auto industry experts say the company’s survival now depends on its ability to crank out high-quality cars in volume as it begins to build its first mass-market car, the Model 3, which starts at $35,000.