According to recent reports, some vehicles from Elon Musk’s Tesla are being delivered with severe flaws that customers are finding difficult to have repaired.
Business Insider reports that over the course of two months, the publication spoke with 12 different Tesla car owners who described a multitude of issues with the vehicles. Nearly all of those interviewed said that they loved the car when it worked properly, but that since receiving it they had been forced to deal with a number of persistent problems. These include some problems that began happening on the day the car was delivered, and the customers have found getting Tesla to deal with the issues was not as easy as they had expected.
Recent leaks from Tesla have revealed that only 14 percent of cars pass the company’s first inspection, the rest need rework to be considered ready for customers. Industry experts consider 80 percent to be a good target for automobile manufacturers. Based on the Business Insider report, not all of the cars requiring rework are actually properly fixed before being delivered to customers.
Customers interviewed were split on Tesla’s customer service, some found the service timely and efficient, while others said the company was slow, unresponsive and ignored many cosmetic and mechanical issues that their customers faced. When asked for comment, a Tesla spokesperson stated: “While we’re incredibly proud of the customer support and service we offer, we’re always working to improve.”
One customer, Dennis Phillips, received his Model 3 car in May. Only two days after receiving the car he noticed what appeared to be the head of a nail sticking out of the roof of the vehicle. Phillips called Tesla and said the employee that he spoke with was “arrogant” and insisted that Tesla had not noticed any cosmetic damage on the car before it was delivered. Philips insisted otherwise, noting that on the day he took the car home he noticed a razor blade in the back seat. “This is not something I could possibly have done,” said Phillips when discussing the nail sticking out of the car.
Phillips took his car to the Dedham service center for repair and was told it would take two to three days. After a week, the car was ready to be picked up. But Phillips’ issues haven’t ended there, since then he’s noticed further cosmetic damage, brake sticking when driving in reverse, and the car’s touchscreen regularly refusing to activate when starting the car. “At what point is your brand-new car not a brand-new car anymore?” he said.
Sultan Meghji, another Tesla customer, ordered his Model S in May and was told it would arrive by June 23, but Meghji didn’t receive his car until August 2. After finally receiving the car, Meghji drove the vehicle for less than a block before he realized that the car was not properly aligned. “I drive off the lot and my alignment is so far out of whack that I can barely drive,” he said. “I straighten the wheel and I almost run into a bush on the right side of the road.” Meghji drove the car to the service center but was told that he would have to keep the vehicle for four days until his repair appointment.
Some Tesla owners are facing worse issues than others. A Tesla Model S caught fire on a highway in New Jersey earlier this week after a component fell off a truck and hit the car. According to Tesla, the car collided with a suspension component from an 18-wheeler which caused the car to lift off the road and crash back down. The driver managed to maneuver the car to the side of the road and exited the vehicle. Tesla claims that the driver was “happy” with how the car “kept him safe” before it burst into flames. Tesla said in a statement:
The owner of this vehicle reported to us that his Model S collided with a large suspension component that fell from an 18-wheeler truck, causing the Model S to be partially lifted off of the road and resulting in loss of control of the vehicle. He was able to safely get himself and his possessions out of the car before there was any fire. He told us how happy he was that the car kept him safe even though the impact was so severe.
Serious crashes like this can result in fire regardless of the type of car, and based on our fleet of over 300,000 cars, which have driven over 7.5 billion miles, we know that a Tesla vehicle is at least 10 times less likely to experience a fire than a gas car.
Tesla cars have faced a number of road issues, some relating to the Tesla autopilot system which was reportedly in use when a Tesla hit a fire engine at 65 miles per hour in January.