Tesla appears to be facing significant quality problems with the new Model Y severe enough some customers are rejecting delivery of the battery-electric SUV, according to a variety of reports, including those in Tesla online forums.
The problems reportedly cover a different areas, including paint, seats and trim. Tesla CEO Elon Musk earlier this year acknowledged the need to make “rectifications” to some Model Y SUVs as they came off the line, but the issues have not been resolved, according to the new reports.
Even though Musk ordered the company to redouble efforts to catch and repair defects as vehicles come off the Tesla assembly line in Fremont, California, some are still being delivered with “significant defects,” reported Electrek, a battery-car website that has traditionally been favorable in its coverage of the automaker.
The Model Y is expected to be the most important product yet from Tesla, Musk suggesting on several occasions that demand could run double that of the earlier Model 3 sedan – something in line with the fact that SUVs, in general, now account for about two-thirds of the U.S. automotive market.
As Tesla generally is cautious about releasing sales numbers it is difficult to ascertain how well the Model Y is doing, Demand does appear strong in China, where the automaker late last year opened its second assembly plant in Shanghai. But there are concerns things aren’t going as well in the U.S., according to analyst Anton Wahlman, who has been a long-time follower of Tesla.
There are indications that U.S. “demand for the Model Y is weak and (that) many people are canceling orders,” Wahlman told TheDetroitBureau.com.
That latter point was echoed by Electrek which cited a customer in Maryland who went to pick up a Model Y but wound up rejecting the vehicle because of various issues such as “paint and trim problems, indentations in the seats and a loose seat belt.”
The buyer also reported that the rear seat was unattached. A variety of Tesla forums have focused in on the rear-seat issue, some noting they were delivered loose or unattached, others noting that they wouldn’t fold, as expected, to expand vehicle cargo space.
As for faulty paint that has been an issue since the beginning for Tesla, said Wahlman. “It’s no surprise that since they’re using the same paint shop as the Models S, X and 3 that there’d be continuing paint problems.”
The problem is apparently serious enough that a Model 3 owner in Quebec has filed a class-action lawsuit against the automaker. For its part, Tesla recently announced it would make its “All Weather Protection Kit” available for free to owners in cold climates where the problem has been more severe.
Since Tesla launched its first mainstream EV it has had a constant series of quality issues. They were severe enough that Consumer Reports magazine withdrew its coveted Recommended Buy imprimatur from the Model S sedan, although it restored that rating in late 2019. However, it has frequently criticized the automaker’s original SUV, the Model Y.
The launch of the Model 3 sedan faced what Musk described as “production hell,” severely limiting production volumes for the better part of the first year.
The Model Y appeared to get off to a quicker start and arrived months earlier than expected, but analysts like Wahlman question whether Tesla simply allowed for more defects to make it off the line as a trade-off for volume.
For his part, Musk acknowledged the need for “rectifications,” a term that translated into extensive repairs for many vehicles exiting the assembly line.
Tesla has not yet responded to TheDetroitBureau.com’s request for comment but it sent an e-mail to Electrek acknowledging it was “extremely important” to “minimize rectification needs” even while boosting Model Y production volumes.
The quality problems faced by Tesla have so far done little to dampen Wall Street’s enthusiasm with Tesla, however. The automaker’s stock burst over the $1,000 mark in recent weeks and, though it has settled back a bit, was still trading at around $985 a share as of Wednesday morning.