Tesla does a lot of things better than any other electric vehicle manufacturer, however, initial quality clearly isn't one of them. We recently rented a new Model Y to conduct our 70 mph highway range test and discovered four flaws, any one of which should have prevented the vehicle from being delivered to a customer.
Tesla's been extremely busy building and delivering Model Ys since reopening its Fremont factory in May. But are they giving them thorough quality control inspections before shipping them to customers? Based on the numerous complaints, videos, and reports we've seen, it really doesn't appear so.
The video posted above wasn't one someone sent us or one we found on YouTube. It's our own video, reporting on what we observed from the Model Y we rented for a day. We didn't intend on reporting on quality issues as we rented the vehicle specifically for the range test. However, since the issues were so prevalent, we had to document and report them.
The first issue was the rear left door's upper covering was torn. The owner noticed it during the delivery process and reported it to Tesla. As of today, it still hasn't been fixed, nearly six weeks after delivery. This could have easily been spotted and flagged by a quality control specialist during the final inspection. However, to be fair, it's possible that it happened after the vehicle left the factory, sometime during transport.
The second issue was an improperly secured speaker. When I closed the front passenger's side door, the speaker that is located on the top front corner of the door just fell off. It was just dangling by the wires and I had to resecure it.
It snapped back into place fairly easily, but I wasn't sure if it just wasn't attached properly at the factory or if it's defective and will fall off again in the future. It did seem to pop into place securely, so I'm inclined to believe the factory just didn't attach it properly during assembly.
The third issue I came across was probably the most alarming. There was a wire hanging out of the front right wheel well and dragging on the ground. This issue has been reported by many Model Y owners, so it wasn't an issue unique to the Model Y we had.
Speculation is that the wire meant to power the pedestrian alert speaker, but for some reason, Tesla didn't install the speakers on many Model Ys, (supply issue?) Therefore, the wire just dangles down and finds its way out into the wheel well area. A simple zip tie or some tape would have prevented this from happening.
The fourth and final issue we noticed was the rear hatch wasn't aligned properly. This caused it to hit the taillight lens as the hatch lowers and bounce back and forth a bit before latching closed. The plastic lens of the taillight was already cracked and the paint on the hatch was already worn completely off, exposing the metal.
We imagine this shouldn't be too difficult a fix as the hatch just needs to be slightly adjusted, but it's hard to believe anyone at Tesla checked this before sending it out for delivery because it was so obviously misaligned.
Does Tesla even check the cars? It's hard to imagine that so many issues would get past a QC team if there is indeed one. However, that doesn't seem to deter most Tesla customers. Even though Tesla is the lowest-rated manufacturer in JD Power's initial quality, they have the highest customer satisfaction rating according to Consumer Reports. So are these problems really "problems" for the automaker if their customers accept them?