Sometimes, if you google Tesla, the news is overwhelmingly positive. Exceeding production targets. A new software update with more useful features. But sometimes, its less positive. Today is one of those days. This time because people working on the GA4 production line (that’s the one inside a tent) admitted to taking shortcuts to speed up production, in order to meet Elon Musk’s targets.
According to a new report from CNBC, Tesla supervisors have told employees to fix broken brackets and housings with electrical tape. One employee, Carlos Aranda, claims to have been sent to Walmart on several occasions to buy more tape, instead of waiting for more parts to arrive. Aranda has since been fired for his use of Twitter, ironic given the behaviour of the automaker’s CEO.
Employees have also told CNBC that they regularly pass cars down the production line even when they are missing bolts, lugs, or nuts, in order to keep the production line moving.
Water testing has also been reduced. Now only a small sample of Tesla Model 3’s are put in a booth where water is sprayed from different angles, to check for leaks. Employees also claim to work through harsh conditions, including cold weather and poor air quality.
Of course, Tesla is denying this, and says that lots of parts come wrapped in tape anyway. But the difference is that factory wrapped tape is neat and consistent, and the current and former employees that spoke to CNBC say that’s not the case with the parts they wrapped themselves.
This would all go some way to explain the Tesla Model 3’s well-documented quality and reliability problems. The missing bolts and brackets held together with tape could explain why the Model 3 creaks and rattles so much, and why wheels sometimes fall off, which there is now a Technical Service Bulletin for. The lack of water testing could also explain why the rear bumpers of some Model 3’s have fallen off during wet weather. Anyhow, Tesla should really try focussing on quality instead of quantity. Increasing numbers of mainstream buyers are buying Tesla’s, particularly Model 3’s, and they won’t be as patient as the Tesla die-hards; if their cars don’t work properly, they’ll trade it in on something else, or get it bought back under lemon law, and likely never buy another Tesla. If Tesla don’t fix the quality issues soon, it could nuke their reputation.