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Build quality

Discussion in 'Model 3: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by skierrob, Dec 27, 2019.

  1. skierrob

    skierrob Member

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    Please reassure me that I’m not making a huge mistake by buying a Tesla Model 3.

    If all the delivery and order issues haven’t been enough along with the total lack of any communication from Tesla during the process since clicking order....

    I Keep seeing stories while waiting for my delivery about alignment issues, paint issues, hoses not connected, etc. I get that Tesla is trying to pump out lots of cars, but getting it right the first time is - long term - much cheaper than just screwing up so many things on so many cars.
    If Honda, Ford and others can build cars with less defects per 100 vehicles, why is Tesla having so many issues in this area? From what I have read Tesla has been doing better lately but still has one of the highest defect rates of any vehicle manufacturer. Scares me for my own delivery that is happening this weekend. I shouldn’t have to go over the car with a fine tooth comb - my BMW for example just required a brief cursory look to know it was built properly. Didn’t need to worry about steering wheels being off center or USB plugs not working.

    I keep hearing its end of quarter rushes that cause these problems. But none of these issues would pass a factory inspection even on a Honda Fit or similar car that costs 1/4 of a Tesla.

    is Tesla not inspecting cars at critical build points? Are US workers less able to do quality work than European or Asian market workers? Or is Tesla less automated than our manufacturers? Or what causes all these problems that the company hasn’t been able to solve in the past few years?

    One would think this would be the top priority of Tesla to fix since it causes more warranty service visits which causes a lot of money for the company.

    Also, when I buy a car like a BMW or even a Honda and there are paint issues or similar there are no issues with getting a due bill to get the problem fixed. But Tesla from what I’ve read is very reluctant to fix any cosmetic issues. Is that correct? How can that build a loyal fan base? Even if the car drives great, if it squeaks and rattles and has paint chips all over people won’t remain happy. So either it’s happening less than reported here, or ????

    I keep hearing “just wait till you drive it - you’ll forget all about the scratches and other issues”. But I can’t imagine anyone would be so blind to major defects on a brand new car where the manufacturer is not willing to help at all.
     
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  2. dmurphy

    dmurphy Woof.

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    You're right... so let's examine why.

    #1 - you're in an echo chamber here. Not too many folks say "everything is awesome"... most people come here to bitch.
    #2 - I personally think there's a LOT of ridiculousness. When I saw people posting that they actually bring micrometers to their pickup, I realized we're through the looking glass here into the realm of false expectations.
    #3 - It's a car. An average, midsized sedan. Many folks here treat it as if it's a hand built one-of-a-kind Rolls Royce; it isn't. It's a mass-produced car; no more, no less. Gotta keep that in mind. Be realistic in your asks, and they will be realistic in kind. Be excessive, and the pushback will be so as well.

    The vast majority of the vehicles produced are just great. All you hear are the 100 "bad" experiences, not the other 340,990 good ones delivered this year.

    One suggestion I have is to keep it all in perspective. For example: "total lack of any communication from Tesla during the process since clicking order" - what are you looking for? A weekly "Nothing changed" phone call?

    I can see a case where maybe you get a periodic email from Tesla - "Hey, your car is still on order - meanwhile, here's some tips for you" kinda stuff, but in all seriousness, what communication did you want/need? That kind of "tip" email gets old after the first or second.

    Ever placed a factory order (not an in stock one) through a traditional dealership? It's the same thing - "It'll be about 8 weeks, give you a call when it gets here."

    So I'm just suggesting to keep it all in perspective as far as what matters... Bear in mind that this is a company that really, in the grand scheme of time, JUST became a major player. First US car company to go public since Ford... keep that in mind, and everything will be just fine!

    Best of luck with the new vehicle - you're going to love it, of that I'm certain! There's a reason they have the best customer satisfaction rating of the entire auto industry ...
     
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  3. skierrob

    skierrob Member

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    Thanks! In terms of build quality, makes me feel a lot better and I appreciate it.

    In terms of communication from Tesla during the delivery process, I was just hoping for more than “don’t make any holiday plans between Dec 15 and Dec 31. We will let you know when the car is ready - and if you can’t get it within two days you are out of luck!”
    Then, when they do decide my delivery day will be December 28 and that the car will leave the factory on December 26, Tesla waits until 5 pm on Dec 27 to say sorry your car never left and is still in Fremont. Hope you didn’t make other plans because we need to reschedule. Can’t make the new date? Sucks to be you.
    In particular I know of one person who specifically said they could be available any day but Dec 31, Tesla’s response? Sorry your car will be here dec 31. No you can’t pick it up Jan 1 because we will sell it before you get here for the last minute sale.
    You would think Tesla could have notified all of us a month ago of the exact date we would be getting the car so that plans could be made: it’s simple inventory management.
    And yes, BMW was able to tell me minute by minute where my car was on its custom order from Germany - along with updates of when it was on the ship l, when it was in the Panama Canal, and when it got to the delivery inspection center and to the dealer. Never had a question about when I’d be picking it up.
     
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  4. ebmcs03

    ebmcs03 Active Member

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    It’s fine. My vin is 21k and it’s no Rolls Royce. But quality fine.
     
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  5. dmurphy

    dmurphy Woof.

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    So as for delivery ... I'm not being a Tesla apologist, but it's important to keep in mind what we're working with here. It's a company that has a single factory (for the moment) pumping out as many possible cars as they can. And those vehicles are in extremely high demand - they can't build enough. There is no real "inventory" to manage, per se. It rolls off the line, gets onto a truck, train or ship, and gets on its way towards where it's needed.

    Believe it or not, you're not matched up with the actual vehicle itself until after it's built.

    BMW is very different - your car is allocated and tracked all the way through the factory (I got to tour the Greenville SC BMW plant a few years ago ...). So at any given point in time, they know Bill Smith's car is currently at the right door installation station, or whatever.

    Not so with Tesla - they build cars in batches, and once one meeting your specs is available, they "assign" that VIN to you. That can - and sometimes does - change.

    The upside is that this "build in batches and match people to VINs later" system maximizes plant efficiency and output. Unfortunately, the downside is that it adds some uncertainty to the "final mile" process. And that stinks when you're the one on the receiving end.

    Thing is - until they're in balance between supply and demand, I don't see that system changing. The key is to maximize every single possible frame coming out of that factory, since they need 'em all.

    That's also why I think the factory in Shanghai is initially going to be more efficient... they'll incorporate all the changes that they know are needed at Fremont, but can't afford the downtime to implement.

    Anywho - the delivery process is a pain for a week or two, but the car continues to deliver day in and day out for many years. You've never driven a car before that's better the SECOND day you own it than the first. That's completely revolutionary!

    Just for fun, and to keep you excited, here's a quick list of some of the things that my car does now, that it didn't do when I picked it up in April... looking forward to seeing YOUR list like this, next year!

    • Dog mode
    • Geofenced mirror folding
    • Stop light detection
    • Sentry Mode
    • Games out the ass - everything from Breakout to Chess to Cuphead
    • Emergency lane departure correction
    • Faster charging at Superchargers
    • Netflix/Hulu/Youtube
    • Spotify
    • Smart Summon (eh, maybe not so smart... LOL)
    • Full one-pedal driving
    • Automatic wipers - massive improvement there
    • New voice commands
    • Linking driver profiles to individual keys
    • Dashcam - added rear camera
    • Camp Mode
    • Scheduled departures (i.e. have the car fully charged and warmed to leave at 7am)
    • Auto navigation - it knows you commute at 7am, so sets that route automatically
    • 5% more motor performance
    • ... a bunch more stuff I've forgotten
     
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  6. skierrob

    skierrob Member

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    Thanks!!! :)
     
  7. Tam

    Tam Well-Known Member

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    Tesla used to fix rattles as a warranty item but not anymore!

    Jeep is among the least reliable cars according to Consumer Reports but people still buy it!

    Same with Tesla!

    I've bought 3 different Tesla models so far and I've been happy with each one of them. The first one was during the Christmas rush of 2012 but the built was perfect.

    So far, I've been lucky with the quality.

    I don't mind the lack of communication as long as I would get my car in the end. There's no reason to bother calling me saying that my car is not ready day after day.
     
  8. jonquiljo

    jonquiljo Supporting Member

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    Teslas are great. Model 3's are great. They drive wonderfully. But we have to admit that these are not luxury cars with all the QC that goes with one. Tesla never promises that, and accordingly, often never delivers that.

    Criticizing Tesla is healthy. Not criticizing Tesla is healthy. We have to realize that this is definitely a non-ideal situation for a close to ideal car.

    So is is perfect? No. We have to just learn to like it - flaws and all - like everything in life. We are all beta testers. Elon Must can say whatever he wants, but we are the customers that buy his latest automotive inventions. Are the inventions good - yes. Very good. Most of them, anyway.

    Do we bitch about it? Sure as hell we should! Tesla needs criticism. In 10 years perhaps Tesla will be different. I expect it will. Right now we are on the cutting edge. That's a good feeling. No better way to spend your money than to get out on a ledge a little bit. If it means paint blotches, scratches, misalignment, squeaks, etc. - then that's all part of it. You don't want to live your whole life safely - buying what's right and going to fit precisely with what you want. You want to live life living the present and future.

    Life is not forever - and I am not one of those nuts telling you to embrace the unknown if I didn't have a reason myself for doing so. The cutting edge is a good place to be. Tomorrow is unknown for many of us. Lets ride the "E" ride while we still can!
     
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  9. DrtyJrze

    DrtyJrze Member

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    Wait, did someone kidnap the complaining Jon?!? I like this new one! Hahaha.

    Well said.
     
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  10. ry-ballz

    ry-ballz Member

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    If you're that paranoid about future problems, you should probably by a Camry or something.
     
  11. MattAndLou

    MattAndLou Member

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    The problem is plain and simple communication.

    Every single one of us is now better equipped to explain the process than 99% of Tesla. WE. DON’T. WORK. FOR. TESLA!

    If we can explain this process to someone buying during the next batch, why can’t Tesla?! If you manage people’s expectations you don’t have issues like this. It’s simple.

    I ordered in Oct with the site and the staff telling me 2 weeks. I get ready to sell my car and almost do. Many people did and have been without a car since driving rental cars and taking Uber’s. Then, all of the sudden, it’s 8-10wks and we’re now in a panic taking delivery at the end of the year, in the dark, no clue what’s happening talking to the equivalent of a Walmart greeter during their first week. With holiday plans ruined because we’re on standby for a car that may or may not come. Who knows. Crickets...

    Now initially, the wait for me was fine, no rush to sell my car. It wasn’t a necessity purchase, it was a luxury. If some had said to me initially:

    “Hey, I know it’s Oct but the NA cars don’t typically get made until the last month of the quarter then it’s a madhouse. It being Q4... its prob going to be right around the holidays so be prepared. It all hands on deck so it be hectic on my side as well but I’ll do my best to communicate with you any changes but you’ll most likely hear from the delivery team next when they’ve got a car in transit and are ready for you. Congratulations, you’ll love the car.”

    Tell people it’s going to be the end of the year and if the car shows up early... Tesla is the best! If it shows up at the end of the year... Tesla hit it dead on... Tesla is awesome. But instead... we have this, as did the last cycle of people and prob the next and it’s baffling to me from a company that makes the most advanced cars out there.
     
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  12. OCR1

    OCR1 Active Member

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    You used to sound just like the OP until you took delivery of your car! :)
     
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  13. dwooder

    dwooder Member

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    Go to any other car forums and you would be scared to buy one of those cars too, you hear the worst and hardly any of the best. I took delivery 3 weeks ago to a perfect car and its been awesome.
     
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  14. turns2stone

    turns2stone Member

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    I picked up my first Tesla yesterday, a Model 3 Performance. In the past 8 years, I've purchased 4 new BMWs. Initial quality with each of them has been "decent". A few cosmetics here and there, BMW was always able to rectify.

    My Model 3 seems about the same. So far, I've found two defects. One is slice in the steering wheel, the other is misaligned passenger rear reflector near the tail light. I've made a service appointment, I sure hope Tesla doesn't give me any hassle about fixing these two issues. steering wheel.png Rear reflector.png
     
  15. ewoodrick

    ewoodrick Well-Known Member

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    Stop listening to the forums. The vast majority of cars are delivered to happy customers
     
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  16. thedm96

    thedm96 Member

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    This. My M3P+ blue with white interior was in pristine condition upon delivery. I have never owned a car more fun to drive and follow as a hobbyist. These cars are an early glimpse of the future. People typically only take to these forums to troll and complain, so you get a very skewed perspective of the real world.
     
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  17. SMAlset

    SMAlset Well-Known Member

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    #17 SMAlset, Dec 28, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
    But OP you do know Toyota and Honda when they get their cars off the carrier with issues or damage or even after sitting for weeks in their car lots that get damaged, send those cars off to the body shop too. You just don’t know what they did or what was damaged etc. There is no manufacturer that delivers perfect cars 100% of the time. Tesla doesn’t wholesale their cars to dealerships to sell them for them, unlike let’s say Honda and Toyota.

    Here’s how Toyota stood by our Avalon. My car was taken to a Toyota dealership for AC work and they broke some clips on the dash leaving it popping up with visible daylight between the parts. Dealership said the car was too old and if the double stick tape they used didn’t hold, well that’s all they can do about it. Washed hands of it leaving us with a car in worse shape than we took it in. We called Toyota to see if they would help. Know what they said? They have nothing to do with the cars after they leave the factory. Have to work with the dealership. Nice huh? Not the panacea people think. Just don’t think dealerships aren’t fixing cars too.
     
  18. holmgang

    holmgang Active Member

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    The good news is, most of the issues that people experience at delivery are *cosmetic*. Typically paint blemishes and panel/trim alignment. It does not affect the driveability of the car.

    The reason why, you can deduce from the perpetual demand vs production issues, quarterly market pressures, and thus having little capacity for post-transport pre delivery inspection (PDI).

    So be prepared for the issues that you're not surprised. Particularly later in ownership. I caught a bunch of issues and had it recorded with the delivery person, even if I don't intend to repair it immediate (not convenient)
     
  19. super20g

    super20g Member

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    I bought a 18 and 19 model 3. Both had undercarriage damage probably from transport, paint issues, alignment, and minor interior issues. I don't think build quality is high on their concerns list still. The cars are pretty neat as long as you aren't expecting high quality fit and finish. If you don't mind some growing pains and have a local service center, then it may be the car for you. If you have to drive several hours and consider yourself particular with regards to fit and finish... I'd watch from the sidelines for quite some time to come.
     
  20. SMAlset

    SMAlset Well-Known Member

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    So OP, how was delivery and thoughts on the car?
     

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