Tesla Model 3 Show Car Reveals Poor Quality Control Issues

It’s no secret that Tesla is faced with poor quality control issues, especially with the Model 3 the production rates of which are a main concern for the company even today.

With more and more customer Model 3 cars being delivered, complaints on their poor quality control are increasing and now we get a closer look at what’s wrong, thanks to the trained eye of Twitter user Brian Gluckman.

Gluckman, who claims he has 15 years in automotive quality control, inspected a Model 3 show car and revealed his concerns in a series of tweets that since have gone viral.

He found problems in many areas, including the panel gaps, the finish of the leather upholstery, the fitment and design of various plastic trims inside and out as well as the quality of the paintjob, which on the car he inspected, shows signs of pooling as well as chip marks.

He even discovered that the trunk ceiling is basically unpainted and unfinished metal that features a fabric screen instead of the usual soundproofing you would normally find in a car of this price range.

It’s not clear yet if the car in question is an early production Model 3 or Release Candidate model as Tesla calls them, which would explain at least some of these issues. Actual customer cars are reportedly much better in many of these areas but still owners complain about things like the fitment of the body panels and the paint quality.

Tesla’s decision to skip beta development cars and go straight to early-release Model 3s might be the main reason why these quality control issues have showed up in the first place.

Photo Credits: Brian Gluckman

more photos...
  • Six_Tymes

    panel gaps? I thought those were optional?

    • Jay

      They are, you pay a bit more and the software is unlocked/downloaded in your car for increased panel gap :).


    Panel gaps you can see from Mars. Good lord, I bet Voyager 1 could see them from beyond the solar system.

    • CADOX

      You’re only repeating the same joke made by that 1st quality control guy the other day…..

      • LWOAP

        You’re absolutely correct. I just had to do it though.

  • TrevP

    It does show the lack of quality here, pretty disappointing. But then again, I’d never buy a Tesla. So why do I even care. lol

  • BlackPegasus

    Disappointing. I’m a fan of Tesla’s impact on the automotive industry, but this adds to an already poor experience many owners have already expressed on blogs and YouTube.

    • S3XY

      2 year owner of a used CPO. No disappointments. Only high appraisements. Greatest car experience I’ve ever had.

    • Karen

      It’s called selection bias. Search out bad experiences for any car on the internet and you’ll find them in droves.

      I hang out at the Model 3 forum, and lots of people are getting their cars and posting pictures and their experiences with them. And it’s nothing at all like the anti-Tesla crowd that’s constantly spreading stories like this would have you believe.

  • ErnieB

    Guys it’s a startup.. they always start with a Beta then gradually iterate ..lol.. would wait for version 6.13 at least..

  • Jason Miller

    I’ll reserve judgement on this car as it’s probably a pre-production unit. Besides that, a few of these images are nit-picking while the others may be a legitimate concern.

    • Karen

      What I see is: panel gaps, which are literally one of the easiest things you can fix on a car, and one of the most nitpicky things you can possibly complain about; some paint issues that you practically need a microscope to see; complaints about a wrinkle in the “leather” (the vehicle doesn’t have leather); and complaints about galvanized aluminum not being painted (hint: this isn’t steel, galvanization *is* rust protection). Also apparently it bugs him that the pressure equalization system with the trunk is visible rather than hidden. Meh.

      He mentioned a crack in a plastic piece in the frunk, yet I’ve been staring at that picture and can’t see it.

      As for when this car was made, it’s strange that he took all these pictures yet didn’t bother photoing the VIN, which would have answered the question. What we can say is that because it has alcantara it’s not one of the more recent Model 3s.

      • LeStori

        Actually you can galvanise Aluminium for corrosion resistance. Corrosion is not rust. Rust is the term for corrosion that occurs on iron based products.

  • Jason Panamera

    Ya, but unpainted trunk ceiling is even common in other premium brands, just look at Jaguar XF and others.

    • Karen

      It’s strange that this “15 year veteran” acts like that’s the first time he’s seen it. It’s galvanized aluminum, not steel; there’s no need to paint it.

  • S3XY

    Other than the paint under the trunk lid, I see nothing wrong. Just a complainer.

    • CADOX

      Are you blind ?

  • Arthur Burnside

    These kinds of problems simply do not exist in quality $50,000 plus vehilces. Tesla is an amateur automaker

    • Karen

      Nope. Totally don’t exist. And I totally can’t, you know, do an image search for “BMW paint defects” and turn up tons of examples.


    • Alex Stoyanov

      When was the last time you checked the quality + fit/finish on a Jaguar for example? They suck!

      • Matthew Boyd

        As my wife works for Land Rover, and deals with Jaguar, I can say you haven’t been near one of them in recent years, or better yet, the last 15. Your revealing to us with some knowledge of this that you’ve never inspected a Tesla or Jaguar let alone been in one. If you had, you wouldn’t have made that comment. I’m an Audi guy, couldn’t care less about Jaguar or Land Rover, but I will give objective factual views versus just my subjective opinion.

        If you haven’t figured it out, I singled you out becaused you bashed a 90+ year old auto manufacturing companies quality in comparison to Tesla who’s only been doing this a little over a decade I believe (someone fact check me) that one, my wife works closely with and I’ve driven too many to count, and two, Jaguar has nothing to do with this article on Tesla.

  • lagunas3ca

    No wonder he isn’t wearing a wedding ring.

  • UGH! Another Tesla Story

  • LJ

    Teslas are the nicest pieces of crap you can buy.

  • Auto

    The thing with panel gaps is the consistency. If you can sort of stick the very tip of your pinky (I have thin fingers) in the gap and it the the same distance for the whole time, then no problem.


  • EM1

    They are waiting for machinery from Germany to take of this issue.

    • LWOAP

      It can’t get to Tesla soon enough.

  • BGM

    Fanbois will be fanbois…

  • eb110americana

    I’m not going to claim that Teslas are precision, flawless cars–we all know they have had issues even before the Model 3–but none of these issues seem like deal breakers except the chipped paint under the hood. There are no functionality issues like the Model X gullwing doors jamming, just some fairly minor cosmetic inconsistencies. They are a new company, so some teething issues are to be expected as they grow, especially when many of the same flaws are exhibited by established companies. If you go over it with a fine enough tooth comb, you can find issues in just about anything, but at some point you have to stop obsessing and say, “Is this good enough for what I want?” and actually just enjoy the thing (and this is coming from someone who is a perfectionist).


  • Six Thousand Times

    I wish Chevy did a sexier-looking Bolt. Teslas are shit.

  • gary4205

    And Tesla’s scam continues.

    Of course the zealots will explain it away. No one would put up with this Soviet era build quality from any other company.

  • Karen

    “15 years in the automotive quality space” and he can’t even tell the difference between alcantara and leather?

    • Kamil Walecki

      I’m 375482 years in the automotive quality space + 3232438 years in social relations and it’s easy to explain for me – he’s talking shit

  • Karen

    1/12: That’s galvanized aluminum, not steel. The galvanization *is* rust protection. More to the point, this is hardly unique to Tesla, and it’s weird that this “15 year veteran” seems to think it is.

    2/12: This is a show car, that panel has *almost certainly* been removed and replaced many times by people wanting to see the battery and fluids.

    3/12: This is a show car, of a variety that’s incredibly rare and has a half-million-long waiting list. There’ve probably been more people in the back seat of that car in the past week than a typical car gets in its lifetime.

    4-7/12: Panel gaps are pretty much the penultimate example of nitpicky, IMHO. And they’re trivial to fix. Not that there’s anything being complained about in this whole list that Tesla wouldn’t fix for free.

    8/10: I see nothing whatsoever wrong in this picture. Which is not a good start to a complaint.

    9/12: No, it doesn’t protrude when closed. It’s that if you close it too hard, it re-opens (it’s one of those “press once to close, press again to reopen” latches).

    10-12/12: You find things like this when you do this sort of microscopic examination of almost any new car. Do a google image search for “new (brand) paint defects”. Some are a heck of a lot worse than this.

  • 2sfhim

    Wrong. 35,000$ without taxes is for the base model with 350 km range. The Renault ZOE has 400 km range for €23,600 WITH taxes. Go home, Tesla fanboy.

  • Written Description

    Nor can Tesla. The base Model 3 has an advertised range of 220 miles and has yet to be built.

  • Matthew Boyd

    I’m not sure why quality is a discussion when it’s no secret that Tesla are inexperienced in manufacturing automobiles, because they just started doing it. Like most have said their a tech company who lives in the automotive world, and don’t mind letting everyone know their a tech company with reveals and release dates similar to that of an iphone.

    Therefore, I believe we can cut them some slack, there not comparable to the older companies who have gone through stages advancing their production techniques, and they won’t be their for decades which makes me question the companies longevity and possible future lack of funding from investors not seeing the return they intended. Some might jump ship as soon as the onslaught of EV vehicles start hitting the market

    Granted they shouldn’t be charging as much for their vehicles as a money grab to recoup their losses, but a lot of their owners wanted something new. They might feel a little shafted when numerous competitors hit the market with better build quality, range, design and lower prices. A part of me feels bad for the company because their future isn’t looking that bright.

  • Matthew Boyd

    I personally don’t think that would be a good idea. You’d expose how far behind Tesla is in comparison to seasoned ever evolving auto manufactures. Lets keep that idea quiet due to the inevitable.

  • The new Jaguar iPace will give Tesla a run for its money…the iPace is a very smart looking electric vehicle…

  • Paul Bell

    A friend at work recently rejected delivery of his Model 3 due to poor paint quality, so it’s still a problem.

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