Bad News for Tesla: Another Autopilot Crash and a Missed Production Target

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
bad news for tesla another autopilot crash and a missed production target

A rollover crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike doesn’t generate many headlines, unless it’s a Tesla Model X operating in Autopilot mode.

After last week’s revelation of a fatal May crash involving Autopilot, another incident involving the semi-autonomous technology is the last thing the automaker needs, but that’s what happened on July 1, according to the Detroit Free Press.

A Model X owned by Southfield, Michigan art dealer Albert Scaglione crashed outside of Bedford, Pennsylvania, about halfway between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. The vehicle, which the owner said was in Autopilot mode, left its lane, hit the guardrail, rebounded across both lanes and overturned after striking the concrete median.

Neither the owner or his son-in-law were seriously hurt in the crash.

While the Autopilot system in the vehicle involved in the May 7 crash in Florida failed to recognize a truck crossing the highway, there’s no evidence at this time that the Autopilot in Scaglione’s Model X contributed to the crash. Still, bad PR is bad PR, and for Tesla it comes at a very bad time.

Besides the questions raised about the safety of the Autopilot system, the automaker recently missed its second quarter vehicle delivery target of 17,000 units. Tesla delivered 14,370 vehicles in the last quarter, less than the previous quarter’s tally of 15,510 units. The company blames the shortfall on a June production ramp-up that saw many vehicles built too late to count as second-quarter deliveries.

A failure to meet targets casts doubt on any company’s abilities. Tesla claims it wants to produce between 80,000 and 90,000 vehicles this year, and have output reach 500,000 units per year in 2018. During that time — the automaker has to shoehorn the Model 3 — a high-volume, lower-cost model, into its assembly operations.

Company founder and CEO Elon Musk’s recent bid to purchase solar energy giant SolarCity at such a critical time for the automaker was criticized by shareholders. That move caused jittery investors to put downward pressure on the automaker’s stock.

[Image: Tesla Motors]

Join the conversation
2 of 58 comments
  • Spartan Spartan on Jul 07, 2016

    All this negative press about Tesla makes it seem as if we want them to fail. I know the press has a job to do, but seriously, this is getting ridiculous. "Tesla curbs wheel while attempting to auto parallel park. Stock drops 50%! Company may go under tomorrow!"

  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Jul 07, 2016

    Besides the impact, no pun intended, on Tesla, crashes suspected of Autopilot involvement could slow consumer acceptance of autonomous driving technology in general. By rolling out something in beta form, before its time, Tesla may have hurt the entire concept of self-driving cars.

  • Jimbo1126 Not sure how Maverick's sales are (I really should keep up) but the Santa Cruz is currently bombing in showrooms across the country. YMMV.
  • SCE to AUX "The day before the media day at the 2023 New York Auto Show."So what's the point of media day when the mfrs do teases and reveals year-round?
  • ScarecrowRepair "Rivian will replace the component for free" -- Where does Rivian come into the picture? The cars are by Lucid, the part supplier is Sensata.
  • PickupMan Please change the cab dimensions and seating position, Toyota. If you do another sheet metal refresh and slap a large screen on the dash like last time, you're dead to me.
  • Matthew When someone slows down for seemingly no reason at all...and then turns on their blinker and makes a painfully slow turn. It frequently makes me chew them out in Spanish. Spanish just sounds angrier than English.