Ever since its inception, Tesla has been plagued with various QC issues. From bumpers falling off the cars to roofs of cars coming off without any warning. Tesla’s USP is the tech that the cars offer. But such issues can make it absolutely impossible to live with such a car. Competitors haven’t resisted from taking a few digs at the problems in Tesla cars either. This has led to quite a few problems for the Californian company. Although Tesla is trying its best to get away from these issues, they still pop up from time to time. Such issues shouldn’t be there in cars that cost north of $35,000. This makes their presence even more concerning.
Lack of Pre-Delivery Inspection
In most showrooms, the customers are allowed to thoroughly check the car before accepting delivery. In case they spot any small niggles with the car the company fixes them before delivering the car. However, Tesla service centers are allowing customers to check for such issues only after they have accepted delivery of the car. This means that the customer cannot check the interiors and all panels of the car thoroughly before taking the car home. What this means is that Tesla can not take the responsibility for such defects. It also means that customers who find problems in the car cannot refuse delivery. They have to bring the car back to the service center and get the defective parts replaced or fixed.
This is simply not acceptable coming from a company that charges as much money as Tesla for its cars. The lack of cooperation with the customers is also a point of concern. This degrades the overall experience of owning the car and being a Tesla owner.
Problems faced by an owner from Hong Kong
A Hong Kong-based Tesla owner recently took delivery of his 2021 Model 3. However, there were way too many problems with the car. The car had a dirty Autopilot lens, misalignment of panels all around the car, dented metal, dented seats, and a below standard ground clearance. The owner also reported about the weird policy that prevents delivery refusals. This car had defects that were similar to a car that was delivered just a few days ago. Both owners couldn’t inspect their cars till they had accepted the delivery of their cars. All evidence suggests that excess delivery rush has caused this problem.
However, the lack of PDI (Pre Delivery Inspection) also plays a major role in this. If customers are allowed to closely inspect the car that they are purchasing, it would allow them to spot these defects early. The problems can be fixed a lot earlier than they are now. When the owner spotted all of these problems, he tried to refuse the car. But, the Service Center told him that is not possible because he already signed all the papers. They later added that Tesla had already paid the taxes for the car, which meant that it couldn’t be fixed and assigned to another owner as well. If Hong Kong and China follow the same consumer protection laws, then the customer should be allowed to refuse delivery.
Problems with the previous car
The same customer faced many issues with his 2017 Model X. He was first allowed to use his referral credit worth HKD 20,000 (USD 2,500). However, at the time of delivery, he wasn’t allowed to use it. He also suffered issues with his car’s suspension and falcon-wing doors. At this point, due to the problems in his Model 3, he cannot use it. His Model X is in the Service Center as well. Neither car will be ready till February. This means that despite owning 2 Teslas, he doesn’t have a car to use.
Problems faced by an owner in California
On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, the situation isn’t very great. An owner took delivery of his 2021 Model 3 a few days ago. He got his car 9 weeks after booking it. Due to the “touchless delivery experience,” he couldn’t inspect the car before taking delivery. The big problem with his car was that none of the defects are very easily visible to the human eye from a distance. This meant that he couldn’t spot them until he was back home. The problems with his car were just as bad as the car in Hong Kong.
Problems with the exterior of the car
The biggest issue with his car was that the front passenger door wasn’t closing properly. Despite trying multiple times, he couldn’t get the front door to close. Due to a panel gap that existed between the door and the B-pillar of the car, the door couldn’t close unless it was slammed shut. The door was a few millimeters higher than the frame of the car as well. At the back, where the trunk of the car meets the C-pillar, there were much larger panel gaps than ideal. There was also a misalignment of the two panels which join the two parts of the car. This meant that the trunk of the car could break under pressure. The rear taillights were misaligned as well. They had “popped out” slightly. A similar thing had happened to one of the headlights as well.
Problems with the interior of the car
The interior of the car had a few problems as well. The rear seats had a few creases on them. These creases weren’t present on either of the front seats or on the other side of the rear bench. However, there isn’t a proper fix for this problem. It will most likely require replacement. The roof liner has some misalignments as well. One part of it has a gap and is obviously misaligned. There is a small piece of tape stuck to the roof as well. This could mean a QC issue that was spotted but wasn’t fixed. There is a similar piece of tape that is stuck to the rear windscreen as well. There is a part of the rubber lining for the door that has started to tear off a bit.
These issues are far too frequent to not notice. Most of the problems can be easily fixed by conducting thorough QC checks on the production line. The presence of the tape in the car shows that Tesla is spotting those problems as well. However, this also shows that Tesla chooses not to fix them. And this is the concerning part. Tesla as a company has proven itself to be well ahead of its competition in some key areas. Battery technology, charging technology, drivetrain technology and the inclusion of connected tech is all way better than what any of the other companies offer.
But small QC niggles like the ones we just described make it extremely difficult for anybody to wholeheartedly recommend a Tesla. The probability of some problems coming up with your car can hang over your head like the Sword of Damocles. Such problems are unacceptable when you consider that Tesla occupies similar market space to some of the more premium European manufacturers. It is even harder to digest the fact that Tesla is nonchalant when it comes to the existence of these problems. The lack of effort when it comes to fixing problems is downright abysmal.
It is high time that Tesla brings a permanent fix for these problems. Because the competition already is better in these things, and it is only a matter of time before which they catch up on the other fronts as well.