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Made in China Model 3: Build Quality / Hardware Differences

MarkX100D

Member
Aug 10, 2018
40
56
United Kingdom
There is a lot of mass in the cars, AWD or RWD doesn't matter - the mass will go wherever the camber / incline takes it if the tyres can't grip. And re-gen can make it real interesting I can tell you.

I recall a very scary moment on the A84 near Strathyre in 2018 in the Model X I had at the time on the standard Goodyear summer shod 22" wheels when a snow storm started in December in the middle of a trip up to Fort William and the roads went from wet to covered. At 50 miles per hour the car literally stopped being able to steer and the car's mass just started to follow the camber of the road off towards the side of the road. Nothing I could do. I came off the throttle and as the car regen'd it got worse! I quickly managed to turn down the regen and as the car started to free-wheel, I got my steering control back enough to straighten up and slow the car down. Turned the car right around - went back home and grabbed my 110 Defender to attempt the trip again.

After that I've always done a seasonal change to winters or ran all-seasons if they are available.

I really hate that they don't ship these on all-seasons. I remember when I was looking to buy the Model X, I happened to be working in Palo Alto, California and dropped in to the Tesla Store to have a good look at it. The American cars were shipped on on-seasons. But when I went to Edinburgh to place my order I noticed that UK cars are always on summers. I don't get it...
 

Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
4,293
3,251
Scotland
absolutely it's like night and day - all my panels line up and the trim around the windows has no 'steps' in it

It was more luck of the draw with the Fremont cars ... I have to say mine has nicely aligned trim and great paint so they weren't all bad. It's good that the new factories will have some improvements to match. The number of times you read of people taking an unjustified swipe at the quality of anything made in China ... often Americans too!
 
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MarkX100D

Member
Aug 10, 2018
40
56
United Kingdom
The problem with Freemont cars is the absolute variability.

Our 2019 M3SR+ delivered in Nov 2019 was for all-intents and purposes perfect. Great gaps, reasonable paint, no rattles. I've not had it back to Tesla since we picked it up.

My 2020 M3P delivered in Mar 2020 was totally the opposite. Paint was inconsistent and marred, doors totally misaligned and gaps all over the place. Not to mention a really annoying dash rattle. Went back to Tesla twice to sort out - they couldn't get it quite right. Ended up getting shot of it with 1200 miles on the clock in July 2020.

Both off the same factory, months apart.
 
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Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
4,293
3,251
Scotland
I recall a very scary moment on the A84 near Strathyre in 2018 in the Model X I had at the time on the standard Goodyear summer shod 22" wheels when a snow storm started in December in the middle of a trip up to Fort William and the roads went from wet to covered. At 50 miles per hour the car literally stopped being able to steer and the car's mass just started to follow the camber of the road off towards the side of the road. Nothing I could do. I came off the throttle and as the car regen'd it got worse! I quickly managed to turn down the regen and as the car started to free-wheel, I got my steering control back enough to straighten up and slow the car down. Turned the car right around - went back home and grabbed my 110 Defender to attempt the trip again.

Ha ha I know that feeling. Some conditions are so "special" they'll potentially catch out any vehicle. The old Minis were famous for being well balanced and much better than they should be in snow (we never had winter tyres either) but I well recall being caught in conditions similar to your description. The light snow on the road surface actually looked OK and I was still happily carrying on up the M90 at 60+mph ... I was surprised to see a couple of cars were up the banking and another at an angle on the hard shoulder, another buried in the armco up the middle ... I thought I should ease off to see what the problem was ... exactly like you I couldn't even ease off the throttle without feeling the car start to lose directional control and just going with the road angles, even engine braking was too much let alone regen, and that in a super-light well balanced car! You've got to grit your teeth and get (gently) back on the throttle ... took me forever to get the speed down to a more manageable 20mph.
 
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Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
4,293
3,251
Scotland
The problem with Freemont cars is the absolute variability.

Our 2019 M3SR+ delivered in Nov 2019 was for all-intents and purposes perfect. Great gaps, reasonable paint, no rattles. I've not had it back to Tesla since we picked it up.

My 2020 M3P delivered in Mar 2020 was totally the opposite. Paint was inconsistent and marred, doors totally misaligned and gaps all over the place. Not to mention a really annoying dash rattle. Went back to Tesla twice to sort out - they couldn't get it quite right. Ended up getting shot of it with 1200 miles on the clock in July 2020.

Both off the same factory, months apart.

It's baffling to me. They can't blame the old factory if some of the cars come out fine .. it's got to be lack of quality control surely.
 
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VanillaAir_UK

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2019
8,458
5,991
Surrey, UK
It's baffling to me. They can't blame the old factory if some of the cars come out fine .. it's got to be lack of quality control surely.
2 production lines - one more automated than the other (and one in the 'tent' but not sure which one) - you can guess which was the more consistent build quality. It doesn't help that as I understand, when quarter end figures were being chased that EM ordered that no cars should go to quality to be fixed (may possibly affect any assembly line) and with no PDI in any traditional sense, owners are the first to notice things.
 

Mr H

Active Member
Jan 6, 2020
1,898
2,035
Manchester
It was more luck of the draw with the Fremont cars ... I have to say mine has nicely aligned trim and great paint so they weren't all bad. It's good that the new factories will have some improvements to match. The number of times you read of people taking an unjustified swipe at the quality of anything made in China ... often Americans too!
if you turn the car upside down guess what it says......
 
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Adopado

Active Member
Aug 19, 2019
4,293
3,251
Scotland
EM ordered that no cars should go to quality to be fixed (may possibly affect any assembly line) and with no PDI in any traditional sense, owners are the first to notice things.

Yes, I recall reading something about that ... but a way has to be found to build them correctly ... it would be fair enough if that happened for one quarter but for that to continue as a factory approach is unforgivable in my opinion.
 
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Aug 22, 2021
10
4
Northern Ireland
A lot of cars delivered this past week and more the coming week. Has anyone noticed any issues with the build quality when picking up? What should I look out for, I see panel gaps etc on this forum but most of these issues seem to have been resolved with the MIC cars. So, I am just wondering if the MIC cars have anything to look out for.
 
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Nick77

Deep Blue Model 3 LR (2021 MIC)
Mar 15, 2020
437
159
Burton-on-Trent
Check the light clusters are in line. My passenger rear is slightly out with the boot lid light, but I can't be bothered making them replace the whole unit for something so minor.
 
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GeorgeSymonds

Active Member
Mar 16, 2018
1,376
1,002
UK
A lot of cars delivered this past week and more the coming week. Has anyone noticed any issues with the build quality when picking up? What should I look out for, I see panel gaps etc on this forum but most of these issues seem to have been resolved with the MIC cars. So, I am just wondering if the MIC cars have anything to look out for.
Before you drive away the main thing to check is for things that could be accident type damage - stone chips, dents, fabric marks, wheel scuffs etc. You don't need to be paranoid about it but looking down the flanks of the car, checking the front and back, check the wheel rims that type of thing. Anything else you've time to spot once you drive away or will jump out at you when looking around the car. I take the view you just want to avoid the "you could have done that yourself" conversation, a stone chip can happen within a mile of leaving but panel gaps aren't going to happen on their own.

The other thing to check is numberplates are correct front and back, stranger things have happened when they're prepping a lot of cars.
 
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Aug 22, 2021
10
4
Northern Ireland
Before you drive away the main thing to check is for things that could be accident type damage - stone chips, dents, fabric marks, wheel scuffs etc. You don't need to be paranoid about it but looking down the flanks of the car, checking the front and back, check the wheel rims that type of thing. Anything else you've time to spot once you drive away or will jump out at you when looking around the car. I take the view you just want to avoid the "you could have done that yourself" conversation, a stone chip can happen within a mile of leaving but panel gaps aren't going to happen on their own.

The other thing to check is numberplates are correct front and back, stranger things have happened when they're prepping a lot of cars.
Great thank you. I only really get a true idea of the quality of the paintwork after washing it myself for the first time. I'll spend a good few minutes looking around the car before leaving and will take on board your advice, thanks.
 

Irata

Member
Oct 16, 2020
514
301
UK
Check the light clusters are in line. My passenger rear is slightly out with the boot lid light, but I can't be bothered making them replace the whole unit for something so minor.

Unfortunately changing the unit doesn't fix this. Mine were slightly misaligned, but I needed all new rear light clusters anyway due to water ingress. The new units misfit exactly as the first.

It's where the light clusters bolt in that's the misalignment. Mine is minor and so it doesn't bother me, but it's a bigger job than just refitting the light unit.

I suspect they just throw some washers in there as a way to fix this, hardly worth it.
 
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cheechy

New Member
Aug 4, 2021
4
0
Scotland
Does the UK LR Model 3 still come with the LG battery or has it now been swapped out for the 82Kwh Panasonic?

Seems a bit unfair to the UK market if we're still getting the smaller battery if this is still the case.
 

GeorgeSymonds

Active Member
Mar 16, 2018
1,376
1,002
UK
Does the UK LR Model 3 still come with the LG battery or has it now been swapped out for the 82Kwh Panasonic?

Seems a bit unfair to the UK market if we're still getting the smaller battery if this is still the case.
It still has the BT38 battery which is the smaller one, all MIC LR get that battery. In europe they get a discount for MIC BT38/pay a premium for the Fremont BT42 battery
 

Latibes

Member
Sep 13, 2019
150
55
London
The problem with Freemont cars is the absolute variability.

Our 2019 M3SR+ delivered in Nov 2019 was for all-intents and purposes perfect. Great gaps, reasonable paint, no rattles. I've not had it back to Tesla since we picked it up.

My 2020 M3P delivered in Mar 2020 was totally the opposite. Paint was inconsistent and marred, doors totally misaligned and gaps all over the place. Not to mention a really annoying dash rattle. Went back to Tesla twice to sort out - they couldn't get it quite right. Ended up getting shot of it with 1200 miles on the clock in July 2020.

Both off the same factory, months apart.
My November 2019 M3 SR+ has been great too, no issues
 

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