Tesla has always followed a similar pattern from unveiling new cars to their delivery – making ambitious promises with respect to the specs, making even more ambitious timelines, then pushing the timelines to try and get all the promised specs into the car, and end up delivering their cars one or two years late. While the end result is quite impressive, these delays have almost always frustrated their customers. Tesla does manage to make up for this by adding new features between the time a customer orders their car and it gets delivered, which is quite unique, but these delays have been a major flaw in an otherwise meteoric rise for the Californian automaker. While the delays of the Model 3 deliveries were attributed to the battery shortage (Panasonic failed to deliver batteries on time), the Model Y has come up with a new issue – quality control.
The Roof Of Brand New Tesla Model Y Flew Off While Cruising Down The Highway
The electric SUV was launched by Tesla in March 2019, but the quality control issues have cropped up ever since the restart of the Fremont Megafactory this year. The plant was shut down in March following the pandemic lockdown, but it began deliveries in a couple of months. However, many of the new owners took to the Tesla forum to post issues with their cars, and some of these issues were major.
Reported Quality Control Issues
The latest entrant in the complaining people is a young man who posted a bizarre incident that occurred with his father’s new Model Y. The man had accompanied his father for collecting their brand new car from the dealership, and while returning, the Model Y literally lost its roof. The Model Y is equipped with a giant single glass pane, and the entire thing came loose and flew off. The driver apparently heard some strong wind-like noise at a point on the drive home, and in a minute or so, the glass flew away. The father-son duo promptly turned around and went back to the dealership to describe the incident. The son took to Reddit to report this and even scored some points for humor, saying “Hey @elonmusk why didn’t you tell us that Tesla sells convertibles now? Because the roof of our brand new model Y fell off on the highway”.
— Nathaniel (@TheNastyNat) October 5, 2020
The employees at the dealership were also surprised, and said that this could be due to a faulty seal being used on the roof, or that the factory might have forgotten to attach the seal in the first place!! While this might sound unbelievable, it is not uncommon, considering the kind of issues that customers have had to encounter in the past few months with the Model Y. The forums are currently flooded with complaints about quality control, and many people are either refusing delivery or even canceling their delivery. Tesla’s manufacturing of the Model Y was shut down for a month, but they tried to increase the amount of cars delivered at the end of the last quarter, and this has taken a toll on quality control.
A customer in Maryland refused delivery of her car after she encountered several defects at the time of delivery, like paint and trim jobs, indentations in the seat, and a loose seat belt. One of the customers even reported that the back seat was not even attached to its base!! This is quite haphazard, even by Tesla’s standards in the initial deliveries. One of the owners said that he loved the way his car performs, but the overall quality has disappointed him. Many of the owners reported similar issues, and have either canceled their deliveries or opted for the 7-day return policy.
In June, CEO Elon Musk sent out an email to all Model Y owners, saying that minimizing the rectifications in the Model Y is their top priority. The mail read “It is extremely important for us to ramp up Model Y production and minimize rectification needs. I want you to know that it really makes a difference to Tesla right now.” He also mentioned that Tesla is currently experiencing some issues with the assembly sector of Model Y.
This issue is quite serious, more serious than what is expected from a company like Tesla. Sure, every company encounters such issues at the beginning of a vehicle’s production, as they focus on ramping up the production and tune manufacturing processes to improve efficiency. Quality control can slip by many automakers in the early stages of a vehicle’s life, and the current pandemic situation has only worsened the production rate for all industries. But hearing something like this is quite unusual, and the fact that it comes from a company like Tesla makes it sound bizarre.
Tesla’s approach has been criticized by many. They always aim for the long shot and end up short in either specs, quality, or deadlines. While fans of the company feel that the end result compensates for the deadlines, quality is one of the most important aspects in any industry. Is it possible that Tesla is getting overwhelmed with all the future projects, the pandemic situation, and the constantly swaying public votes? Or is it just a bit of rustiness, that needs to be dusted away? After all, the last 12 months have been incredibly successful for the company. It won’t be long before we get to know the truth.