A New Problem Emerges For Tesla

For a brief few hours last weekend, Elon Musk and his shareholders celebrated...

...as he proclaimed (albeit late for his self-imposed deadline) that thousands of Model 3's are now supposedly moving off of Tesla's production lines – whether they are being cranked out of the Fremont factory or whether they're part of the "lucky" 20% of vehicles being made in the company's super-futuristic tent, located outside of the factory.

But now a second layer of the onion has peeled back and serious questions are starting to be raised not only about the quality of these Model 3s, but how adept Tesla is in being able to service them in a quick and efficient manner for its customers.

Today, we want to take a look at the issue of Model 3 breakdowns. The reports of these breakdowns and poor quality issues seem to be accelerating, judging by Tesla forums online and complaints on Twitter. What also seems to be evident is Tesla's poor response time and overall poor ability to address these issues.

Much of the last couple of weeks for Tesla has been focused around hitting its 5,000 Model 3 per week production target. The stock and its corresponding movement has also been news. Most notably, the fact that the stock tanked from over $360 per share to near $310 per share on news of the company reaching its production target has been pointed out in the media and has caused some analysts to raise questions about whether or not a larger sentiment shift at Tesla is brewing.

On top of that, after the stock melted down to start the week last week, CEO Elon Musk himself also had a meltdown, once again lashing out at members of the media who have written even the slightest bit of critical press about his company. It has led some analysts to ask, "What the F*ck is Elon Musk Doing?" 

This isn't new, either. We have seen Musk lash out at the media over the last couple of months – blaming everybody from the Economist to Consumer Reports for being in a conspiracy to defame the company.

This latest round of attacks on journalists goes after Linette Lopez at Business Insider, who was one of the first to break the story that Tesla may have been suspending certain of its Model 3 brake tests in order to help move vehicles off the line more efficiently.

Musk's behavior even caused normally left leaning media outlets like Slate to publish articles like this one called, "Elon Musk Needs to Stop Tweeting Things He Can't Prove (And Grow Up)".

And regardless, Tesla came out and admitted that it had suspended the test in question. They also commented that it didn’t have an overall effect on the quality of the vehicles that were rolling off the line.

With that aside, and giving Tesla the benefit of the doubt, that doesn’t help explain many of the other Model 3 issues that Tesla owners seem to be having. We noticed on Saturday of this weekend while reviewing Tesla owners forums what appears to be a repeating pattern in customer dissatisfaction with the Model 3.

First, we were able to find this story, where a Model 3 with 61 miles on it broke down. The user wrote on Tesla's forum:

Drove a total of 61 miles during the day to reach 69 on the same day. Parked vehicle, would not start. Error codes "Cannot Maintain Vehicle Power, Car may stop driving or shut down" "Car needs service, car may not restart".

The owner wrote that the vehicle was manufactured in March 2018 and delivered July 3. This prompted several responses guessing about why there was so much time between manufacture and delivery:

  1. "That's a long time between manufacture and delivery. I wonder if this one failed in testing and was "fixed.""

  2. "Yeah, a big spread from manufacture month to delivery. Thought about that when I received VIN #. Perhaps part of the holdback as to not exceed 200k deliveries in Q2?"

  3. "Interesting. My 3 is showing up next week, and is a 21xxx VIN, also quite strange for a June delivery considering they're up to 49xxx now." 

Other Model 3 owners have been complaining about quality issues, such as this customer who claims the service person at Tesla actually damaged her vehicle and that nobody is picking up the phones to help her with service.

Others have complained on Reddit about a "Car needs service. Car may no restart." warning they incurred just hours from picking up their Model 3. From there, troubleshooting and service was a disaster.

Owners have also complained about insane flaws - like their Model 3 seatbelts not even being bolted into the bottom of the seat. So much for safety.

Internet sleuths on Tesla Facebook forums found even more Model 3 complaints, such as "grease smears, a gap in one area, ruffled window trim and a gap in the roof seal". Congrats on your new vehicle purchase!

Here's video from early February of one customer's "broke" Model 3 "shutting down by itself".

All of these complaints have left prospective owners literally wishing for good luck that they "get a build with no issues".

Some owners are watching hundreds of miles of battery range in their Model 3 simply evaporate while the car is parked.

Other "proud owners" are upset that repairs for their Model 3 bumpers have cost as much as $9000 and - to make matters worse - they have had to wait 5 weeks for repairs.

Some are simply cancelling their reservations because the $35,000 model isn't there, as it was promised.

We have also seen a litany of Tweets about additional Tesla QC issues.

The Twitter account My Tesla is Broken is doing a great job of documenting other customers with similar issues. 

Similarly, YouTube is littered with Model 3 production problems and is worth exploring for even more horror stories.

The idea of Tesla solving one problem (production rate) and creating others (quality issues, bottlenecking production elsewhere) has been brought up a couple of times in the media. There was a Reuters article out last week claiming that while reaching the company‘s production goal, it created problems in other places at the Fremont facility, as such as on the Model S and X line, as well as the paint shop.

But if the pattern of these Model 3 customer complaints continues, we may actually be bearing witness to a whole new set of problems that could be on their way for Tesla in the relatively near future. As we have pointed out, Tesla seems to be understaffed and under-prepared to deal with this many service requests and the rush to get these vehicles off the line may ultimately not wind up solving the company's problems, but rather pushing it further into “production hell".


Post-Truth Society sodbuster Sun, 07/08/2018 - 21:34 Permalink

" last week, CEO Elon Musk himself also had a meltdown, once again lashing out at members of the media who have written even the slightest bit of critical press about his company. "

So when Musk lashes out at the media he is an unhinged idiot, but when Trump does it he is a genius?

Thanks for your blind obedience to the glorious Muzzie-in-chief, Trump-tards.

BTW, have you figured out yet that Trump is a Muslim?  Didn't think so.

In reply to by sodbuster

any_mouse VWAndy Sun, 07/08/2018 - 23:15 Permalink

Now Trump's a Muslim?

POTUS and Congresscritters have never gone to Mecca and kissed the labia on the Cube.

If you work(ed) at MuskCar and your signoff has authorized anything. It's time to call Saul.

Heirarchy of values for sociopaths.

Highest is spending your life on your career, ignoring the wife and kids.

Below that is avoiding prison time.

Lowest is "spending more time with my family."

In reply to by VWAndy

sodbuster marsrecords Mon, 07/09/2018 - 09:43 Permalink

We've done a few things to it, but nothing major- engine has never been overhauled. We did replace the timing belt and seals at about 350,000. New brakes, rotors, struts-stuff like that. Parts are cheap- go online- you can get whatever you need. He's getting a bit of cancer on it, but I think it will stay that way. Your Camry is just getting broke in. Most important- changing the engine oil in a timely manner and using good oil. We like the synthetics or semi-synthetics. Have used them for years in our farm equipment.

In reply to by marsrecords

any_mouse SaulAzzHoleSky Sun, 07/08/2018 - 23:35 Permalink

A hybrid from an established auto manufacturer is the way to virtue signal green at present.

Drilling for oil, digging for coal, uranium, or lithium, none are green.

Refineries, reactors, and fossil electric generation plants, none are green.

A lifestyle of over consumption, based on material values, is not sustainable, aka not green.

Lifestyles dependent on chemicals to eat and sleep.

You cannot have your technological lifestyle and be green.

Who is really threatened by discarding the false paradigms we live under? The ultra wealthy parasites.

Living without parasites is healthier living.

In reply to by SaulAzzHoleSky

not dead yet VWAndy Sun, 07/08/2018 - 22:22 Permalink

The top people didn't want to have urea injection for their Volkswagon's as a great selling point so they cheated. As was shown when the car was being tested for smog it passed easily in cheat mode. Problem is if they had met the standards and did not cheat the mileage, which is a huge selling point for a diesel, would have gone in the shitter.

With people now questioning why it took months to deliver their Model 3 after it was it built it has proven my point that Musk was "banking" cars to meet production goals he knew were not obtainable. The stock price tanked after Musk announced meeting his goal because investors and journalists who know anything about making cars knew there was no way they were going to build 1000 cars, 20% of 5000 per Musk, in a week in that stupid tent. More like a hundred. They must have laughed their asses off at Musk's claim the tent made the cars better and faster. The tent was a smoke screen to hide the fact he couldn't meet his goals so he cheated and banked cars. Not everyone was fooled this time.

In reply to by VWAndy

Farqued Up I am Groot Sun, 07/08/2018 - 23:48 Permalink

I think VW is being jacked around by the Deep State, the turbo diesel Golf I rented in Montenegro ran like a scalded cheetah. I got scared at 135 mph on the new autobahn from Dubrovnik to Zagreb. Porsche is advertising their Panamera at 0-60 in 3.2 and top end at 190 mph. Too much for this old fart.

VW is being attacked by the American SS while ‘privatizing’ prisons and incentivizing locking more people up for piss ant charges. Is this a great country or what. It’s obvious that the CIA isn’t good at building cars, nor anything else.

In reply to by I am Groot

ASimpleTrader takeaction Tue, 07/10/2018 - 08:26 Permalink

Muskie boy can't seem to figure out how to build cars without checking each and every one of them. It's called statistical process control. Any automotive quality engineer would have already had a program in place to audit parts as they are made and audit cars as they come off the line. How he isn't following those best practices is beyond me.

As already stated above  SHORT THE ENTIRE MESS! 

In reply to by takeaction