Tesla’s Unusual Seat Strategy Might Come Back To Bite Them

Tesla’s decision to build its own seats rather than outsourcing them to a supplier -which is the norm in the automotive industry-, might not be the wisest, since the company is in the middle of figuring out how to master mass production of the Model 3.

The whole story started when Tesla was launching the Model X. The seats in their electric crossover proved to be a pain for the company, according to Reuters, with the contractor having trouble in executing their complicated design, which led to tensions between the two companies.

Eventually Elon Musk decided in 2015 that Tesla would build the seats themselves, adding one more thing to their already loaded to-do list. Industry experts say that Musk’s insistence on doing much of the work in-house is among the reasons why the Palo Alto-based company is nowhere near their goal of building 500,000 cars per year.

Tesla said that they were able to build just 260 Model 3s between July and September, when their official target was 1,500 units on the third quarter, with the company pointing the finger to production “bottlenecks”. The company didn’t go into much detail but said that “there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain.”

Tesla’s decision to build its own seats is questionable by some industry experts. Building seats is a labor-intensive, low margin venture, with most big car-makers outsourcing the job to a supplier. Tesla is having its own seat assembly line inside its factory and is hiring engineers and technicians to find out a way to make the process fully automated.

Various analysts predict that Tesla will be eventually forced to follow the example of other companies and farm out seat assembly to suppliers as they try to morph from a niche EV maker into a proper mass manufacturer.


  • Anon

    Tesla is trash lol

    • S3XY

      Says you.

      • Anon

        looks like you lose this one. go buy a new car ROFL

    • PK


    • TheBelltower

      Don’t be mad. You’ll be able to afford one some day.

      • Anon

        35k for model 3. ROFL are you homeless?

        • TheBelltower

          Don’t be mad. You’ll be able to afford one some day.

          • Anon

            i have an audi s4 APR stage 1… you are a fucking bum kid ROFL

          • Anon

            You have a minivan at best, off yourself

          • Anon

            10k comments. what’s your waist size fat fuck?

          • TheBelltower

            Nice language… Well since you appear to simply be a worthless troll, you’ll never know how hilarious your comment was. But don’t you worry, I’m good. Crossfit kicks my ass.

          • Evan McMaster

            Lol this comment thread though. You are all tardy. F*ck tesla. 2013 A6 is life. 3.0T thats actually a super

  • TrevP

    I can understand why he would want to do that, but this is why he fails miserably at meeting deadlines. And other manufacturers are starting to catch up with this electrification movement.

    • 12333444333

      Maybe but he’s trail blazing and I reckon he’ll achieve it and then everyone will be clamouring to say how clever he is.

      • S3XY

        There is no manufacturer that is anywhere close to Tesla.

        • TrevP

          That is a fair statement, not sure why you liked your own comment tho.

          • Polyester Poontang

            Donald Trump always blows his own horn as well.

        • Shobin Drogan

          In terms of ev technology? Yes. In terms of quality control, refinement, luxury, and pretty much everything else? Not really.

          • Smith

            You do know that nothing Tesla has in the way of technology, is innovative or advanced, he is using obsolete battery technology and off the shelf motors and parts. Nothing is technologically advanced, just standard parts that cost a lot more in a Tesla than any other car.

        • UZ

          That’s because the others are light years ahead, in terms of fit and finish – and even in terms of pure production. Try to stay objective, Tesla is good only in some areas, maybe the best in a few areas, but they’re definitely not the best as a whole.

      • S3XY

        Don’t doubt Elon.

        • europeon

          How come you forgot to like your own comment here?

        • Smith

          Why not doubt him. He has missed every deadline, has not made a single penny for investors and has a business model that will never see profitability, so he distracts investors by going solar or going to Mars, or building a semi truck. He has 8 weeks to deliver 250,000 Model 3, which he said they would achieve this half of the year. One day it will all come crashing down, then the world will doubt Elon, as many already do. Only the dumb stay believers.

      • TrevP

        He is indeed a clever son of a gun, he just has a few glitches he needs to work out with mass production it seems.

        • Smith

          He is clever, the way he has conned Wall Street and the rest, taking billions with no chance of repayment. He certainly is more clever that the stupid investors. But he is not a clever car guy, not now and never will be.

    • TheBelltower

      There’s much more to Tesla’s success than just the car. The Tesla charging network is far superior to all of the efforts of all the other automakers combined. Elon is often late at meeting deadlines, but he does deliver impressively the majority of the time.

  • S3XY

    Tesla has done everything different and has come out highly above all. rEVolution.

    • Smith

      Rubbish, they have not yet proven anything. The business is a total failure, except at raising money from unaware investors. As for success as a car company, no, $200 million losses per quarter for 7 years is not success. You really are delusional.

  • Tesla Interiors Lack Luxury

    Which makes it even more surprising that the interiors are so lacking for their price points.

    • TheBelltower

      Love your username.

      Tesla interiors are very minimal. But it’s a different kind of luxury than in a Mercedes. Perhaps you prefer some dashboard lighting from a NJ nightclub, or Drakkar Noir canisters pumping scent into the cabin, like the S Class offers.


    If I had a Model S, I’d just take it to Brabus and have them redo the interior. Then do something tacky like have a Prior Design body kit thrown on it and sit back while my car gets shitted on left and right lol.

    • Smith

      Why spend thousands more on an overpriced car, when you could buy all of that already in an existing car from another manufacturer, and for a lot less than the $90,000 you would have to pay for a Model S. Really!

      • LWOAP

        Becoz reasons.

  • Nordschleife

    Ok I can maybe understand the Model X as its seats are on that plinth and what not but he could have farmed out the seats for the S and 3 and maybe do the MOdel Y seats in house so you don’t feel like the tooling you put into these custom seats go to waste.

  • Dennis James

    Still, I applaud them for trying different things will all the car manufacturing process. Even if most of the time they are late, at least they are late with innovation and great things, while the other manufactures spend tens of years without any perceptible innovation.

    • Smith

      Nothing innovative and nothing great about a Tesla. Please list all the technological wizardry that Tesla has ‘invented’ and not bought off the shelf from others. There aren’t any so don’t even try.

      • TheBelltower

        You must be kidding. You do know what “innovation” is, don’t you? It’s about taking technology, and then using it in new ways. That’s exactly what Tesla, the charging network, the manufacturing process, and the home charging capabilities have achieved.

        But what am I saying? You are conspicuously on a tear when it comes to Tesla. All of your posts are incredibly anti-Tesla focused, and you are opinionated on everything regarding funding, to delivery dates, to seat manufacturing. Clearly you are better suited for a vehicle from an established manufacturer that is in the pockets of big oil lobbyists and dealer network middlemen. There are many groups that would love to see Tesla fail. And people from these groups are all represented on these forums.

        • Smith

          Yes, I know what innovative means, do you. As I said, nothing innovative about Tesla.

          • TheBelltower

            Okay. I’d be interested in some examples of companies that you do think are innovative. What kind of innovation impresses you?

  • Jerry Hightower

    His main problem is financial!

    • Smith

      Tesla does not have an issue with finance. If Elon asks for a billion, he gets it in a day. Their problem is how they spend it, and that is out of control and reckless.

  • Six_Tymes

    I hope they don’t farm out anything. in the long run IF things work out, QC will remain intact throughout, that is the main Positive long term outcome.

    “Various analysts predict”.

    PUUUUUULEASE, don’t get me started on analists

    • europeon

      I’m pretty sure no company can beat the QC of likes Quin, Faurecia, Draexlmaier or Lear.

    • Smith

      And in the meantime, while they try to get it right, their customers are bing delayed and competition is getting better and better. They are loosing their point of difference and very soon the world will see their regular stamped steel car for $50,000 is not a mass production $35,000 wonder. And to be in a competitive mass market business they need to be closer to $30,000 with no government subsidies, all in and well equipped. Not in Elon’s lifetime, will never happen.

  • Old Progressive

    If Tesla can fully automate seat construction, they can create cheaper seating in house and have total control over the output. Doesn’t sound so bad. Musk has taken on many “intractable” problems “in-house”, like Super Charger Stations or battery production, for instance.

  • Old Progressive

    Musk sets steep deadlines for himself and for his company. Anyone who has never “failed” has never challenged himself. He is a systematic engineer. He works the problem and in many more complex problems has succeeded. I doubt the Model 3 is in peril because of the seats. He is camping out over at te battery factory. I would suggest that the “bottleneck” is over there.

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