With Tesla scrambling to produce as many Model 3s as possible to meet Wall Street expectations, it is no surprise that the company has recently been plagued with anecdotal reports of shoddy workmanship and quality control issues. And what just happened over the weekend to the (formerly) delighted owner of a brand new Model 3 confirms many of these stories.
A person bought a Tesla Model 3, and, within the first 30 minutes of driving the car back home, the rear bumper cover falls off, Jalopnik reported. The owner, Rithesh Nair, tweeted a picture of his car, directly letting Elon Musk know about his new exposed behind: "1/2 hr, bringing Model 3 home, run in to heavy rain on the streets & bumper comes off."
While it was not immediately clear if there were any "mitigating" factors to explain why the bumper fell off, Jalopnik notes the "hint" in the environmental conditions of this Model 3's inaugural drive: heavy rain. Which led to the following snarky observation: "cars are generally pretty good at retaining their body panels in the rain, even bottom-of-the-market cars like the Mitsubishi Mirage, but it seems to be a challenge for this Model 3."
Or perhaps it wasn't the rain to blame, but merely crappy production quality as another Model 3 owner responded with a picture of his own car which had similarly lost its rear bumper.
Hey that looks like mine! pic.twitter.com/c1zTLGDCBF— Ben (@Benj1Franks) August 12, 2018
Jalopnik notes that according to speculation of other tweeters, the issue seems to be related to a bit of cloth-like shielding under the car, which would deflect water and debris around and below the bumper.
If this bit of shielding gets torn or loose, water can be forced into the bumper cover, which would act like a big water catch-basin, eventually being pulled off its mounts from the weight and/or pressure of the water being directed up inside the bumper cover.
Still, while Tesla fanboys may be quick to explain away any defect, the fact that this is happening at all "is pretty incredible." And not just once on a car that has repeatedly gotten the highest marks from "independent" industry observers.
Keeping your bumper cover on in pretty much all weather is a very, very solved problem in the automotive industry.
In response to the article, Tesla - which these days is busier coming up with LBO narratives than making sure its "factory gated" cars are usable in the real world - made the following statement:
We’re setting an extremely high bar for Model 3, and what happened in this situation is not how we build our cars. We’re investigating the issue to understand what caused it, and we are contacting our customers to resolve this and ensure they are satisfied.