Tesla’s Quality Woes Affect More Than 90 Percent Of Their Cars

Nine current and former Tesla employees revealed that the vast majority of Tesla’s Model S and Model X vehicles require fixes after leaving the assembly line.

Citing Tesla’s internal tracking system, the same people said to Reuters that quality checks routinely revealed defects in more than 90 percent of Model S and Model X vehicles inspected following assembly.

Tesla responded to the report by saying that their “quality control process is unusually rigorous, designed to flag and correct the tiniest imperfections” but denied to provide any post-assembly defect rates.

Sorting the quality before initial assembly is crucial for automakers, because repairs don’t only cost money but time as well. In comparison, less than 10 percent of the cars Toyota makes have to undergo post-manufacturing fixes.

A former Tesla supervisor said that “so much goes into rework after the car is done … that’s where their money is being spent”. Tesla claims that most of their post-manufacturing defects are minor and resolved in minutes.

These issues are normal with any new car but the persistent defects with the established Model S and Model X paint the picture of a company “still struggling to master basic manufacturing”, the workers said.

Cars requiring fixing are known as “kickbacks” within Tesla and their issue ranges from minor things like dents and scratches to more complicated like malfunctioning seats. Defects included “doors not closing, material trim, missing parts, all kinds of stuff. Loose objects, water leaks, you name it,” another former supervisor said. “We’ve been building a Model S since 2012. How do we still have water leaks?”

The most serious cases however are headed to one of Tesla’s outdoor parking lots to await repair. The workers said that the backlog on the lots, known internally as the “yard”, has exceeded 2,000 vehicles at times. When asked about it, Tesla denied that such “repair lots” exist.


  • rover10

    90% is horrendous! Usually there is a percentage of kickbacks on all production lines, but not this high. Allegedly, Bob Lutz has been waving a red flag at anyone willing to listen, about the precarious future of Tesla. If these whistleblower numbers are correct, then the problem in their plants looks very serious indeed. A pity, as this company has shown the car world how to style and innovate, but are we looking here at an organisation running before it can find the stamina to walk? Anyone who has bought or about to purchase a Tesla must be a little concerned? I’m hoping Tesla can overcome these issues and ‘Boldly Go’ into the future.

    • Bill Nguyen

      “Elgidely” hehe.
      I’m adding that to my personal dictionary! 😉

      • rover10

        You can use it with pleasure mate, thanks, it’s been addressed. In fact, I prefer elgidely!

  • Toronado_II

    Innovation and design are one thing. Production is another.

    • europeon

      I’m still not sure where the innovation and the design are.

      • Toronado_II

        Ask to all other “reactives” manufacturers…

        • Blackwater

          Other than smoke and mirrors, Musk hasn’t brought much to the table.

          The reasons companies stopped mass producing electric cars in the 1920’s are just as valid today.

          At least the 1920’s lead acid batteries weren’t an environmental disaster,

    • TheHake

      Actually they are two things…

  • Auf Wiedersehen

    If, and that’s a big IF with stories like this, the employees are right, this explains a lot. From hemorrhaging cash, production delays, photos of parking garages full of new Tesla models. This COULD be very concerning to potential buyers and investors. But this story does not make it all true.

    • Blackwater

      All evidence points to it being true.

  • Bash

    One will never find SE3Y in these articles.

    • Sam Man

      Came for this. SE3Y must be cleaning the water leak.

      • Bash


  • donald seymour

    There is a great chance that this story is true because I know current Tesla owners and they tell me their cars malfunctions all the time.

  • Six_Tymes

    at that high rate, some of these defects must be intentional, possible sabotage.

    • Blackwater

      Or just shoddy work.

      Never assign malice to that which can easily be explained by incompetence.

  • haudit

    Tesla’s problems stem from the fact that their cars simply haven’t been designed with ease and consistency of manufacture in mind.

    • Blackwater

      Not being an actual car company might be part of the problem.

  • OdysseyTag

    Don’t forget to post an article about the Roadster’s estimated range and performance figures after this – just for control.

  • jsz00

    That’s OK, the Elon’s Reality Distortion Field (RDF) will block all of them. Sheeps don’t care.

  • SteersUright

    Makes no sense to me. Cars are not new, nor is their manufacture. Bring in some production execs from Toyota, Honda, Audi, etc and have them bring your system up to par. How hard is this to figure out?

    • Blackwater

      Legit car people don’t want anywhere near that mess.

      Musk is a con artist, not an automobile manufacturer.

  • Six Thousand Times

    Fake news! Teslas are humanity’s greatest achievement! We are all so very lucky to be alive in the time of the Tesla! (S3XY gave me his lunch money to say this.)

    • Matthew Daraei

      S3XY feels gay for Elon!

  • jaykit
  • Blackwater

    Soviet era build quality.

    Elon Musk is a con artist who belongs in prison.