Most of us are familiar with Tesla's build quality issues. This has been debated for a number of years. In general, Tesla's build quality has improved over time but it's still not very consistent. Some Teslas roll off the production line with zero to just a few issues while others have a significant amount. Many are resolved before customer delivery, but not all the time.
Every automaker is guilty of quality issues, but it seems to plague Tesla more than most. Keep in mind that the build quality issues on the outside (interior and exterior) do not extend to the powertrain underneath. Tesla battery packs and motors are known for their longevity.
The video above was posted by a Tesla Model S Plaid owner who just received delivery of his new and very fast EV. He loves a lot about the Plaid but found several exterior issues:
- Delivered a little dirty
- Paint gouge on the camera housing located on the driver side fender
- Panel gap between the fender and side skirt behind the driver side tire
- Pinhole in the paint on the driver side door
- Both rear wheel well liners have poor fitment
- Clearcoat peeling on the driver side quarter panel
- Scratches on both taillights
- Paint gouge on the edge of the passenger door
He still took delivery of the Model S because he didn't want to wait a few months for another one. I imagine this would be frustrating, but some of the issues can be corrected at his local service centre.
There are normally two sides to this build quality argument. Some will say the defects are minimal and the owner should just enjoy one of the most advanced cars on the road. While others will say build quality issues like that shouldn't exist on a £119,000+ luxury car, or any brand new car regardless of the price.
Both sides have good points, but it comes down to what kind of person you are. The former are the type that will live with the defects because the performance and tech the Plaid provides make up for it. The latter care less for numbers and tech and simply want great fit and finish on their brand new car.
Here is my take on it. I used to sell Toyotas professionally, and it would have been impossible to deliver a Toyota to a customer in the above condition because most came flawless from the factory or close to it. Any flaws we found were always corrected before delivery.
However, if I purchased a Model S Plaid and received it with similar flaws, I'd likely still take delivery and resolve the issues with my local service centre. Mostly because I enjoy driving the latest technology has to offer. Still, receiving a brand new vehicle with the above issues shouldn't happen.
Now that legacy automakers are producing (or about to produce) competitive EVs, Tesla should improve its build quality issues at a more rapid pace or risk losing customers that prefer brands with superior fit and finish.