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Poor Production Practices Plague Tesla Models S and X

Too Fast Too Furious is not just a movie title. I also appears to be how things are done at the Tesla manufacturing plant.


Hasty production lines and an atmosphere of time sensitive pressure produces poor products in the Tesla assembly line resulting in even more delays in production and delivery to Tesla consumers, not to mention wasted money on repairs. Musk had warned about hasty production.

Inside Story of Tesla

Nine former employees, including a senior manager, were interviewed by Reuters in regards to assembly line issues at Tesla. These former employees revealed practices, under anonymity due to nondisclosure agreements, that paint Tesla in a light that is less than perfect. Vastly different than the opinion of most Tesla owners who feel the company and car can do no wrong; even after major problems.

The Yard in Tesla

One former employee revealed what is commonly called "the yard" by Tesla employees and described it as a parking lot holding approximately 2000 cars having one issue or another that must be fixed before they can be shipped to their new owners.

Quality check figures cited from Tesla's internal tracking system show that more than 90% of Model S and Model X cars routinely show defects at the post assembly line inspection. Ninety percent! Those figures are as recent as October 2017 and date all the way back to 2012.

Issues such as paint flaws, software issues, missing parts, poor panel or part alignment, doors not closing, and water leaks to name a few are common problems with the Tesla line. One employee stated, with amazement, that the Model S has had water leak issues since the beginning of production in 2012.

Tesla Model S Production

One of the world's largest and most efficient automakers, Toyota, sees less than ten percent of its cars needing post production repair work. They were quoted saying, "It is a waste of time and money for post production repair so it is crucial to get it right during the initial assembly."


A Tesla supervisor commented that Tesla's money is being spent to rework its cars, "That's where their money is being spent."

Currently Tesla is spending $1 billion a quarter to push out its first mass market vehicle, the Model 3, and has never turned a profit. That is unsustainable without a cash source or an increased volume of sales. But, these new customers may not be as forgiving with the Model 3 defects as those of the Model S and X.


Production issues are normal when launching any new product. However, workers have stated, the reoccurring problems with Tesla’s Models S and X reveal they are not over the initial bugs in mastering basic manufacturing.

One worker stated minor fixes can be completed on the spot on the assembly line but there are many cars that have to be pushed through and placed in a lot for further, more major, repairs.

A Tesla spokesman was quoted as saying, “Our goal is to produce perfect cars for every customer, therefore, we review every vehicle for even the smallest refinement. Most customers would never notice the work that is done postproduction, but we care about even a fraction of a millimeter body gap difference or a slight paint gloss texture. We then feed these improvements back to production in a pursuit of perfection.”

Perfect cars? Ha! Where are the coat hangars or lighted vanity mirrors? You would think a high end luxury car would come standard with those. With how quick the car is and how well it performs, where are the grab handles? Directional headlights? I myself would love a TPMS reading displayed on the screen. These things are standard in many luxury cars. But these are minor things. Reports from consumers have started to reach social media, provided they aren't eaten by the Tesla sharks, reporting any number of major defects to their cars. One owner in particular ordered the 90D but due to a defect and the canceling of that model after his was built, he was told to pay the difference for a 100D or get a refund. But that is Tesla for you. In the midst of a production year and model, Models 85 and 90, they up and stop producing them keeping only the 75 and 100. For what? Indicative of production problems maybe? To push the Model 3?

So no, the car isn't perfect. There wouldn't be so many issues. But if it was, Tesla wouldn't need service centers other than to sell overpriced apparel...which they don't even do that anymore.

Now don’t get me wrong. It is a great car. I really enjoy driving my 2013 MS 85. But I must say, for the money, you can get a heck of a lot more bang for your buck from other manufacturers. And when they start producing electric cars on tried, tested, and true assembly lines, Tesla is going to have some serious competition. There is a good chance they won't be able to keep up. Because I ask you, how many of you owners have other brands and only have a Tesla because it is electric? And if that is the case, how many will jump ship when those other brands start producing EV's? Because they are already in the design stage. Like Porsche, Mercedes, Audi, VW, Cadillac, and Lexus to name a few.

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Jame Borwn (not verified)    November 29, 2017 - 5:11PM

This article is a complete castigation of Tesla supposedly about quality of build issues. However, only anonymous previously fired employees are cited as sources and vague claims are made about internal documents. Where is the proof of any of these claims? This could be a big story, if it were supported by facts. As it is, it is no better than a story from Veritas.

Ben Frank (not verified)    November 29, 2017 - 7:09PM

The car does have TPMS pressures. Has the author ever actually been IN a Tesla? Doubtful. The whole article is heresy

Adam Green (not verified)    November 30, 2017 - 12:12AM

Tesla has quality and production line issues ... this article demonstrates ignorance of the basic features of the car, which only distracts from the topic ...

Peter Smith (not verified)    December 1, 2017 - 8:37AM

The article does have merit as I was the customer who when Tesla could not replace our 90D they forced us to purchase a more expensive car or take a refund. Not a good strategy by them.

L.W. (not verified)    March 22, 2018 - 2:11PM

Tesla Model X which I got new off-the-line less than 3 months ago is in the shop as I write this. Leaked in rain. Suspension noise. Hasn't powered on twice (as in had to wait in driveway for 15 mins. for system to reboot!). Wish I'd researched this car more before we bought. "Luxury" lemon so far.