By on April 6, 2017

Image: Snowstorm/Tesla Motors Club forum]

Imagine you’ve just taken delivery of a car with a price tag of $127,100. You’re leasing it for a monthly sum that could pay for a nice two-bedroom apartment in most North American cities.

The A-pillar is torn. Split. Structurally compromised. And it was delivered that way from the factory.

According to one Toronto-area man, that’s the situation he’s facing with a brand-new Tesla Model S 90D.

On Tuesday, a Canadian Tesla Motors Club member — aptly named Snowstorm — posted a fairly shocking indictment of the automaker’s quality control to the club’s forum. Photos posted by the member appear to show a gaping tear in the passenger-side A-pillar just above the hoodline. The crack, wider at the bottom than the top, descends out of sight below the lower windshield trim.

Given that there’s white paint spanning the gap in places, one can only conclude that the damage occurred at the factory.

Snowstorm describes the discovery:

I picked up my S90D last Friday and was super happy about it, there was some trim mis-alignment on delivery but nothing serious. Today, I was showing off the car to my brother in-law and noticed something very wrong with the A-Pillar. On the passenger side where it touches the front of the windshield, the aluminium was actually cracked and there is a gaping hole to the inside! There is no way that I would have actually caused this and you can see that they painted the crack part as well.

Snowstorm/Tesla Motors Club forum]

After emailing the delivery contact, Snowstorm continued in a follow-up post:

How can the delivery folks not see this as they are prepping the car? Would have been obvious on a wash. I don’t even know how can the part be replaced without taking apart a lot of things. If I saw this on delivery, I would have asked for a different car…

Ignoring the part where misaligned trim on a six-figure car is perfectly acceptable, Snowstorm’s tale is alarming. The Model S’ high-strength aluminum side member is a one-piece unit stretching from A-pillar to C-pillar. Given the piece is a structural component, this owner runs the risk of having his car deemed unroadworthy.

This discovery comes after Tesla posted a record number of deliveries in the first quarter. The increased output and recent investment news sent the automaker’s stock soaring this week, with the company’s market capitalization surpassing Ford and eventually General Motors.

[Snowstorm/Tesla Motors Club forum]

On the forum, most of the members expressed shock at the damage, and some anger — not something you see everyday on a fan site. While Snowstorm began the process of rectifying the crack right away, repairs come with annoyances, even for a regular automaker with an established dealer network.

From yesterday morning:

I emailed the pics to the service center and my delivery speaclist [sic] last night. Got a call from them this morning to bring it in at 11am. The service center place said this need to go to their “certified body shop” for an evaluation. Unforunately [sic], there is only 2 body shop in the greater Toronto area and they are pretty busy. Once it gets there, they’ll decided what part to order and rebuild. Not sure how long it will take, but I am concerned due to all the horror stories I’ve heard on months and months to wait. It really sucks to have to do major body work on a brand new car and then be without it for months just 4 days after delivery.

Snowstorm claimed the delivery person “was a bit defensive” after hearing about the issue, with the contact apparently refusing to believe the car could be delivered in such a state. The paint stretching over the crack was apparently all the evidence the owner needed to prove it wasn’t his fault.

Later in the day:

I got in contact with my delivery manager Jenny in Toronto and mentioned about the rebuild. She is sympathetic to the situation but needs to speak with the service manager and the body shop tomorrow AM before deciding what to do. I looked at the loaner and noticed that the broken part appears to be part of the entire side frame and not just a trim piece

While Snowstorm claims to not posses a Twitter account, at least one user brought the crack to the attention of Tesla CEO Elon Musk on his behalf. The Model S arrived at the body shop last night.

Early this morning, an update:

Tesla is being proactive in following up with me and the regional service manager is aware of what’s happening. I am in contact with Kevin, the Mississauga ON service manager now. He thinks this is highly unusual and is awaiting an assessment from the body shop to look at the extend [sic] of the defect and proposed fix.

So far, it seems like Tesla has stayed in close touch with the owner, who mentions the outreach several times. While Snowstorm hasn’t been painted as the culprit behind the crack, this Canuck’s saga seems far from over, and we still don’t have answers on what caused the cracked metal. Indeed, we’re not sure if the owner will ever receive an answer.

Quality control issues are no stranger to the Model S and especially the Model X, what with its Exorcist-like doors, but past claims by Musk have sought to allay fears on similar issues cropping up on the upcoming Model 3. That affordable electric sedan goes into production late this year, with the company’s long-term hopes pinned squarely to its featureless face.

A torn A-pillar in a newly built car isn’t going to cause investors, Tesla executives or Model 3 reservation holders to breathe any easier.

[Images: Tesla Motors Club Forum]

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126 Comments on “Tesla Owner Finds Torn A-Pillar on Freshly Delivered Model S...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Like a pug trying to prove he “got game” to a poodle, that’s just UGLY.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Like I said, I really like Tesla, but the automaker has a lot to learn about building cars. Tesla seems to look down upon traditional car companies, but the brand probably has some of the lowest quality-control standards in the industry, relative to its cars’ prices.

    As for the owner, that is a major structural defect. I would demand a new car.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Yep. I drove a P90D and while the drivetrain was great, it was abundantly clear that it was designed and made by people who don’t actually like cars and don’t particularly care about them. Booming, wind whistle, rattles, obvious interior cost cutting in a $90k car, missing features (pockets? Cup holders?!) that suggest that the people who designed it had never BEEN in a car. I shouldn’t have test driven a $90k luxury car and felt relieved when I got back in my Sonata.

      Tesla can make motors and battery packs. They still need to learn how to build cars, and before they can do that they’re going to have to care about it. And worse, they’re going to have to make the transition from selling only to rabid fans who overlook “minor issues” that would have embarrassed Detroit in the early ’70s, to selling to people who are used to taking delivery of Sonatas that are absolutely flawless. That’s going to be an adjustment if they don’t seriously up their QC game.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      My employer owns a Model X for evaluation purposes. We can’t believe the lack of quality control. Rattles, poor fitment everywhere. Many poorly thought out concepts. The falcon doors don’t work very well. It seems like they only focus on the drivetrain. Everything else is half assed.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        And that’s the truth. Once Mercedes-Benz or GM decides it’s profitable to build a luxury EV and deigns to do so, it will probably be a lot better than the Model S or X from an objective standpoint. Tesla’s biggest advantages right now are the brand equity it has built and its autonomous-vehicle research.

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          It does seem like Mercedes, GM and just about everyone else is coming out with electric cars, and this will hurt Tesla.

        • 0 avatar
          Chocolatedeath

          Careful Kyree. you are going to tee off a bunch of Tesla fans here.

        • 0 avatar
          Mark B. Spiegel

          Hey Kyree, Mercedes, Audi & Jaguar all roll out luxury SUVs in 2018 and Porsche rolls out the MissionE in 2019.

        • 0 avatar
          PeriSoft

          Kyree, I’m not even sure how much its AV research is worth. The big difference between Tesla and, say, Mercedes, right now, seems to be that Tesla is allowing its lane-keeping tech to be used in a way that Mercedes isn’t. That might be a ballsy business move, but it doesn’t mean their research is any further along.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Even the 2018 Leaf (200+ mile range) will have Pro-Drive available this fall. The advantage Tesla has now is that it’s the only manufacturer with a solid well-managed charging network. VW seems to be building one now with “ChargeAmerica”, so there may be competition there.

            Also, as an experienced high-mileage EV driver, I think that with the 300 mile ranges some of these luxury EVs will be hitting the streets with, I seriously doubt I’ll be stopping at public chargers. Home charging may be enough. I can even make trips from Boston to Vermont and back and use only home charging.

      • 0 avatar
        CaddyDaddy

        Looks like the GM Fremont factory is back to its old ways again. Just sayin’.

    • 0 avatar
      WrittenDescription

      Where in the manufacturing process would this have been caught by, say, Toyota? I’m having a hard time imagining any credible QC protocol allowing a gross visible defect like this to exit the factory.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Hmmm… if it happened to me, I wouldn’t have gone all the way up the corporate ladder. Assuming a loaner was available, I would have meekly sent it to the requested body shop and then hit them with a Lemon Law the very day the car was out of service longer than the limit (here in NC, 20 business days.) (And no, I have no idea what Ontario Lemon Law entails, or if there even is one.)

    But yes, this is a pretty damning indictment of Tesla’s manufacturing practices. While I can conceive of the frame getting assembled with this defect, (frame assembly is pretty much 100% automated) somebody should have noticed the problem before it left the factory and tagged the car for re-work.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    I was super happy to read this and also super sad.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Not a single Tesla dealer in so many states.
    Where do owners take their cars for service in areas where there are no service centers or dealers?

    • 0 avatar
      Lynchenstein

      An over-the-air software update should do the trick here, dontcha think?

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        Any good old boy with a heliarc and some aluminum plate could stitch her up in a heartbeat. Rattle can of white spray paint, and out the door in an hour or so. Then again for 120 grand, maybe you get a new car.

    • 0 avatar
      a5ehren

      According to Car and Driver (who had a Model S in Michigan), they send a truck to carry your car to the closest service center. In their case it was Cleveland, IIRC.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Sucks he had to see that after he picked it up. Huge miss there on Tesla QCs part. Must’ve been a Monday/Friday car.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      Long ago I learned how to buy a car: hand wash it before you buy it.

      Trust me.

      • 0 avatar
        OldManPants

        Do you carry your own hose & bucket to the dealership?

      • 0 avatar
        Middle-Aged Miata Man

        Fantastic advice.

        OMP, work the numbers but then insist on taking the car home overnight (“gotta show it to my spouse”) before signing. Then, do a quick wash in the driveway, or at the local self-service wash. Even simply drying the car off could reveal poor trim fitment, bad paint, significantly comprised structural supports, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        vagvoba

        While I wouldn’t do the washing part, I strongly agree that on delivery owners should always inspect the car inch-by-inch! No kidding! Inch-by-inch! I had quality issues twice with newly delivered cars that I noticed too late, after driving away from the dealership. It’s a huge pain in the butt to get those fixed once you are out of the dealership, and you usually end up owning a brand new car that has already been partially repainted or tinkered on, losing the luster of a brand new car.

    • 0 avatar
      quasimondo

      I guess Elon doesn’t have a sleeping bag at the end of the assembly line anymore, does he?

  • avatar
    vvk

    Pfft, not surprising. When taking delivery of a Tesla, you must go over the car with a fine tooth comb. My car was in the body shop for two weeks before I could pick it up. People report all kinds of issues.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I can’t see how Tesla has taken this long to replace this guy’s car. What a PR nightmare. You don’t want to build this kind of reputation among people willing to spend 6 figures on a car. Even Land Rover drivers get to drive the vehicle for a few weeks before having to take it in for service.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    I hope you follow this. Honestly I think given the nature of this and how invasive a repair this would be on a brand new car I think anything short of replacing it with a new car is wrong. Crazy it got through QC in a facility that is pretty low volume compared to other assembly plants from automakers.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Unfortunately just more proof of why mass produced ‘robot built’ vehicles will inherently have less Q & A problems than ‘hand built’. Tesla and the related Musk companies all do impressive work for the most part i.e. SpaceX…but you can’t reproduce the production advantages of a major vehicle mfr with almost limitless resources and 50-100 years of production experience.

    This automated production is one of many reasons a vehicle considered bulletproof 30 years ago i.e. a 1984 Camry would be considered crap today in terms of reliability. The worst cars today are great by the standards of the past…

    • 0 avatar
      LXbuilder

      Nothing to do with “hand built” vs robots (which is a very similar mix at Tesla as other auto makers) This is a stamping split in the BSA stamping, it should have been caught and dealt with by Tesla inspectors in their body in white (bodyshop, body build) area. If not there at almost any stage of final assembly. As an autoworker for more than 30 years this smells a lot like a workforce that really doesn’t give a shit, usually the result of a management style that doesn’t listen to them anyways.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “As an autoworker for more than 30 years this smells a lot like a workforce that really doesn’t give a shit, usually the result of a management style that doesn’t listen to them anyways.”

        sounds like what led to Lordstown’s infamous reputation.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Had a tour of the ‘original’ Aston-Martin plant in Newport Pagnell where they ‘hand built’ cars.

        Was liking watching something from the 1920’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Eyeflyistheeye

      In 2017, I’d argue there are three classes of cars, great, very good and plain poor.

      Care, execution and engineering still matter. Statistically, a 2013 Dart fresh off the line from Belvidere should be more reliable than a brand-new 1988 Prelude, if such a thing still existed, but that wasn’t the case at least with the early builds according to magazine reviews. And if a brand-new 1988 Prelude still existed, I’d vote for Bashar al-Assad just to have one.

  • avatar
    Jack Denver

    It appears as if the A-pillar is part of an assembly that forms the entire side of the car as far as the back door:

    http://st.motortrend.com/uploads/sites/5/2012/06/Frank-Markus-with-Tesla-Model-S-body-side-aperture.jpg

    Is there any way to remove and replace this frame in a car that has already been built?

    Is there any way to just weld in a new A-pillar or weld the crack back together (and retain the strength of the car in a roll-over)?

    If this pillar was damaged by the owner in a collision (let’s say a tree fell on it) would it be repairable by a top notch body shop or would the vehicle have to be totalled?

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      Considering the size of that body panel, the size of the crack and its’ location (on the a-pillar), I would basically refuse any kind of patch/repair and demand a new car.

      Industry crash tests are performed on cars without large cracks in the body. I would not want to find out firsthand how a crack in the a-pillar influences body strength in a rollover event.

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      “If this pillar was damaged by the owner in a collision (let’s say a tree fell on it) would it be repairable by a top notch body shop or would the vehicle have to be totalled?”

      Superb question.

      Is the car insurable? Will any insurance company pay out on ANY claim on this car, either comprehensive or medical, once they find out that it was unsafe to be on the road?

      Shouldn’t this VIN be blackballed in every system?

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      ‘Aircraft’ grade aluminum loses its temper strength if you weld it. Local to the weld, 6061-T6 strength goes from 45ksi to 27ksi. 40% reduction. Best case good welder. never seen a Tesla up close. This doesn’t look like the side aperture stamping linked above. Is this thing really structural?
      I can’t imagine how that crack happened, let alone how it got by Tesla. I wouldn’t be happy with that car at all.
      I thought that usually cars that were rolled or their roofs crushed were totaled and parted out as the best economic choice.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    $127,000 for a car that deserves a salvage title from the factory. Sad!

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    The defect appears to have been created before or during the paint process. You can bet the appropriate QA/Department Manager has already lost a few hairs over this. The process created a severe defect and failed to contain it.

    It’s easy to say this kind of defect should be obvious in a visual inspection. One problem with relying on visual inspection is that it is only 85% effective, at best. Another problem is, visual final inspection does nothing to prevent the defect from being created in the first place.

    However, it is impressive to think this severe defect passed through paint, subsequent assembly steps, final QA test/inspection, transport and dealer PDI without being noticed.

    I wonder how many other $100k+ cars have ever left the factory with defects like this.

  • avatar
    Asdf

    Yet another sign that Tesla can’t even get the basics right (as if the ridiculously high price and unreasonably long charging times weren’t bad enough).

  • avatar
    redapple

    Rumors of a lot of turnover with mid level salaried. Some staff I ve worked with are stars but a lot of them are real duds. Dont belong a decent supplier much less GM or Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      The turnover is mostly among designers. It’s hard to find a better manufacturing job so the line workers aren’t turning over as fast. In recent months their morale has plummeted though, so they are looking elsewhere. And the UAW is seeing an opportunity. A few years ago the workers told them to go away, but they’ve been on required overtime for a while and complaints about factory floor safety are only being answered with pep rallies and requests that everyone sign anti-UAW pamphlets (loyalty oaths, basically).

      I’m not surprised things like this are slipping through.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Musk might want to take a long hard look at Toyota and Hondas play book. How to build a quality product, while keeping the UAW from knocking at your door..

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          ” How to build a quality product, while keeping the UAW from knocking at your door..”

          LOL! Never thought you would write something like that.

          That’s the way I feel too.

          When the UAW gets involved, that gums up the works and there goes the quality down the toilet…..

          Ah, but then Trump: The union guy!

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Have to disagree there HDC..In the modern manufacturing facility the individual worker has little to no impact on build quality.

            Poor management, on the part of the big three, allowed the UAW to become too big, and too powerful.

            Very early in my career circa 1973, I had occasion to speak with an assistant superintendent. I started to say “I think….”He stopped me in mid sentence to say “we don’t pay you to think”

            Kinda set the tone eh ?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Well, I believe that under Trump we will see a major resurgence of all unions in the US of A.

            And I also believe that under Trump we will see many transplants adopt the UAW into their operation, even those that resisted UAW advances before, like VW.

            Union-membership overwhelmingly backed Trump during the last election while union-management poured hundreds of millions of dues-dollars into backing the loser. Kinda like George Soros did.

            So, now that Trump has bombed Syria today, union members who voted for Trump will be talking about how Trump is a man of his word.

            Things have changed within unions, changed a bunch, since circa 1973.

            Now employees ARE paid to think. Ask any Hyundai/KIA employee in Alabama.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            “A fish starts to rot from its head” and “you get the union that you deserve” are both apropos to the comments regarding unions.

            Workers treated properly do not seek out a union to represent them.

            Unions can only negotiate protections and working conditions, not impose them.

            Some locations that are unionized can manufacture products with equal quality and productivity as non-union shops. German plants and Oshawa are examples.

      • 0 avatar
        jalop1991

        So this is the current day screwdriver left in the fender, eh? Autoworkers deliberately screwing things up for their employer?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “Autoworkers deliberately screwing things up for their employer?”

          There’s a decades-long history and precedence of that already.

          But I’m surprised to also find that in an ideologue product like a Tesla.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          a line worker isn’t going to be able to tear sheetmetal.

          this looks like over-worked or hardened aluminum cracking.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Yup. Split AL likely from stamping.

            The expandable body sealer inside of it may have pushed it further apart in the ecoat oven. A high strength A pillar with a split is what I would call ‘unsafe.’

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Very simple: Everyone wants to know how it happened. We’re already seeing at least part of what Tesla is doing to fix it.

    To some extent this looks like a defect in the part when it was formed. How it got all the way through the assembly process without being noticed is the question. Electric-eye QA systems have been around a long, long time.

    • 0 avatar
      jonnyanalog

      I agree with you, this happened well before painting. I’m guessing during the forming process. How it passed through all the various stages of manufacturing is beyond me. There has to be some checks in place, I’d hope!

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Very simple: Everyone wants to know how it happened. We’re already seeing at least part of what Tesla is doing to fix it.”

      Bull. this is a severe structural defect. the only “Fix” is to replace the car.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Here are some extra ones. Just charge for the part, no labor.

    3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/gfx/news/hires/2012/6-firstteslael.jpg

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    I agree with those saying Tesla should have replaced the car ASAP. This is crap. And he should have a loaner until that time..

    Making me re-think my Model 3 deposit..

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I agree that they should replace the car ASAP. I’m probably going to go with a Porsche Mission E (provided they don’t want 918 money for it) and I’m sure the body will be good, but the rest of the car – who knows. I may end up wishing I got a Tesla in the end.

      • 0 avatar
        Keef Wivanef

        Apparently if I report this problem to NHTSA as a concerned citizen then it makes me a “LUNATIC”

        JRP3, 9 minutes ago
        navguy12 said: ↑
        It appears OP is from Ontario. Is not the NHTSA an entity specific to the United States (i.e. the complaint would have to go to the Canadian equivalent)?
        That never stopped the lunatic Keef Wivanef from filing endless false complaints with NHTSA.

        Oh well…
        Too bad.

        I’ve already reported it.

        • 0 avatar
          Keef Wivanef

          Here is the complaint along with over 100 others that I have filed.
          http://teslabears.club/t/new-thread-keefs-complaints-with-photographs/107/107

          Oh dear, what a lunatic I are :)

          • 0 avatar
            Digital Jedi

            Could be your history of filing false reports with pictures of salvaged Teslas. Wild guess. https://electrek.co/2016/06/13/tesla-fale-complaints-suspension-nhtsa-keef-wivaneff/

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    And to think that so many quality vehicles which sold for a fraction of the cost of a Tesla were built at that location for so many years.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Deming would not be very happy…

  • avatar
    mikey

    Yeah…Thats a “split”…I’m going to assume that is a stamped panel ? Somebody correct me if I’m wrong.

    Anyway, if it is indeed a stamped panel, I doubt there is only one of them. A metal panel can get “strained” in the stamping process. The strain could open to split either in the assembly process, or the paint ovens.

    My guess ? It came out of the press that way…Now if they find a few more similar defects on other vehicles ? Then it becomes a “containment ” issue.

    Oh, and Ontario does not have a lemon law.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      mikey,
      You’re right. It is an entire body side panel. It is a stamping split – lack of dc290 die lube, trash in the die or maybe a out of spec blank.

  • avatar
    ejwu

    After reviewing the system log Tesla decided this is the owner’s fault.

  • avatar
    SELECTIVE_KNOWLEDGE_MAN

    Challenge time. Try to find any Lexus assembled after 1989 or German luxury car assembled after 1995 with a similar issue.

  • avatar
    Ion

    Meh. I don’t really see this as a big deal in terms of build quality. The better question is how it made it all the way to the customer. I know Tesla has service centers now so I’m assuming they would perform the PDI there.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      It’s a major deal for build quality because it could have been a car-wrecking failure if it happened in a hidden place. There’s no excuse for a metal stamping going that horribly wrong, much less ending up installed in a car.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        In my 19 years working in stamping, I spent most of my time in material handling..I didn’t have much to do with production. In that capacity, I was very much aware of the containment process.

        The stamping process involves a progressive die set. Forming the panel, punching holes, flanging, trimming, and transferring, all accomplished from a single stroke of the press. No human hands involved.

        The finished panel came off the press, and workers packed the panels into a dedicated container. Chevy Impala fenders ran at 14 strokes a minute. I’m sure, by now the packing is done by a robot. As “vulpine” mentioned “electric eye QA” is probably used extensively these days.

        So back in the day when workers packed the panels , there was a huge incentive to scrutinize every panel for any flaw.

        Picture yourself packing fenders at one every 4.3 seconds. The noise is incredible, hearing protection is mandatory . Conversation is almost impossible. The unpainted steel is razor sharp. Its backbreaking,
        sole destroying work.. So if you see a split, a strain, an up, or a down ding, a hole missing, or any distortion, you simply push the “cycle stop” . At that point the big machine comes to a shuddering halt. You the worker sits on your butt. Commonly referred too as “..a$$ time”

        Within about 15 seconds, the press tech, and the Tool and Die man come running. The general question is WTF is wrong . An up, or down ding, usually means wiping the dies down looking for foreign matter, thats the “toolys” job . A good 5 minutes of a$$ time. A split, or a strain ? Maybe 20 minutes.? What you don’t want, is a major FU.. A major break down, translates into being moved to another press, or even worse, going to metal finish.

        I hated piling parts, and was so glad to transfer to material handling. Its all a fading memory now.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          Mikey, your comments rank right up there with Jim Z’s and Tresmono’s (his sane ones).

        • 0 avatar
          Jagboi

          I did a tour of the Land Rover factory and they took us through the press shop. Very impressive! They were making the sides of Discovery’s that day, as a single pressing – 12 at a time! From firewall to tail light was a single pressing, the entire side of the car. You really felt it when the dies came down!

          Material flow in and out of the press was completely automated too.

          Considering how much energy was in that press, it was surprisingly quiet.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            @Jagboi…The one i described would be about a 1980 Komatsu B size press. What you describe would be a modern A press. I witnessed them building a body side press, for the Camaro. I never saw it opperate.

          • 0 avatar
            Jagboi

            I did some searching and what I saw at Land Rover was an 8,300-tonne crossbar Müller Weingarten transfer press. Whatever it, it was huge!

      • 0 avatar
        Ion

        Manufacturing defects happen. The issue is that such a glaring issue made it out of the factory and into a customers possession. I’ve seen vehicles that were held at Vance for quality issues. What I wonder is if Tesla’s insistence on avoiding a proper dealer network hurts them here as well. If no one in sales noticed this what happens to vehicles with shipping damage?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “Meh. I don’t really see this as a big deal in terms of build quality.”

      then I don’t think you have any business commenting on it. A torn stamping making it even one stage past the final forming step is inexcusable. that panel should have been caught, documented, and diverted before it had a chance to reach the body shop.

      “The better question is how it made it all the way to the customer”

      that’s why it IS a big deal.

      • 0 avatar
        Ion

        I have as much business commenting as you do. This is a QC issue plan and simple.

        • 0 avatar
          rocketrodeo

          You’re thinking of QC as a step in the manufacturing process. JimZ thinks of QC as a philosophy that permeates the manufacturing process, as all experienced manufacturers now do.

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          Ion, your comments make it pretty clear that you have little to no experience with actual manufacturing. I recommend you stop digging.

          You appear to think of “QC” as a separate step, presumably conducted by men in white coats with magnifying glasses. That’s not really done anymore, because it’s hideously expensive and does not work very well.

          Quality is ideally an ongoing *process* throughout manufacturing, and a defective component making it through to the next process downstream is a serious miss.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I wonder if it will trigger the Canadian equivalent of an NHTSA query? A metal stamping THAT bad is one of those “never” problems. (Mainly because it could be catastrophic if it were to happen in a hidden place.)

    • 0 avatar
      Keef Wivanef

      Canadian owners can still report to NHTSA.
      I’m an Australian and not an owner and I’ve had gazillions of Tesla complaints accepted by NHTSA.
      They even say thank you :)

      This email is to confirm we received your vehicle complaint submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Thank you for this public service as it is through actions like yours that together we can save lives on America’s roadways.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        We should all start a grassroots campaign to submit NHTSA reports:

        “This car allows me to drive in the left lane for extended periods when I am slower and not passing. It needs driver alerting system, preferably a loud alarm.”

        TTAC B&B, I’m telling you: together we can make America’s roadways great again! Think of the children!

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Looks like they have foam inside the pillar? (stiffness, noise ctl).
    Have to be careful when you heliarc that back together since it’s flammable.
    I had that happen repairing a rocker panel once. Pretty much self extinguished but it was a bit exciting for a minute or so.

  • avatar
    michal1980

    new car time. I would not take this salavage POS back. Wheres Musk with his big mouth now?

  • avatar
    claytori

    Welding heat treated aluminum alloy causes a huge reduction in its strength. I suspect that this cannot be safely welded up and ground smooth. This may require replacing the entire side frame of the body. I don’t think I would want that to be happening to my “new” car.

    Doesn’t Ontario have a 10 day cool off law?

  • avatar
    whitworth

    Obviously Big Oil doctored this picture.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    I can’t believe they’re even going to attempt to fix it and give it back to him. Really, he needs a different vehicle.

    It’s just insane to me how cars that cost as much as my house have more QC issues than my mid-20k Mazda.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Coincidentally, software seems to be the same way. some of the buggiest, most crash-prone software programs I’ve used in my career cost tens of thousands of dollars per seat license.

  • avatar
    scent tree

    Yea… I appreciate his trying to be diplomatic, but this is the type of defect whose resolution ends in regulator involvement and a few dozen cars crushed. Tesla probably broke the law even releasing that thing to a customer.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    No big deal. Some bondo, sanding and a good paint match. Couple of days, tops.

    It’s a Tesla. They’re magic.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    The correct fix to this problem to apply an E&G landau top.

  • avatar

    The comments from folks who actually know stuff, unlike those of us (guilty) who know what we read on the internet, are why this site has great s/n. I have no idea how this stuff is made, other than the car I spend X on is made for 1/5 X, maybe. The rest is hubris, bad advertising, and fun to watch at a distance corporate knifing.

  • avatar
    Magnusmaster

    This is the biggest manufacturing fail I’ve ever seen in my life. How did this car even get out of the factory? If it happened to a Chinese brand or Alfa Romeo they’d been bankrupt in a day. Even Chinese cars made for third-world countries (the notorious zero-star ones) have better quality control than this.

  • avatar
    B_C_R

    You paid too much money for a boutique car. Things like this are bound to happen.

  • avatar
    snowstorm

    Hey guys, this is my car…

    I had been following the progress of Tesla for a couple of years and finally managed to take the plunge last November and placed and order for a model S. This car doesn’t make sense financially (few but the most basic cars ones do), but is really something I want and I believe in what Tesla is doing.

    I would be lying if I say I wasn’t disappointed, as a defect of this nature should not have left the factory, less so than making it all the way to me. There are still unanswered questions on how it happened and why it didn’t get seen from everyone who touched it along the way, but I can’t really speculate what happened. From what I’ve read in the community, I’ve expected some minor fit and finish issues (which Tesla do fix quickly), but not this. I was upset initially for not inspecting it better during the delivery, but it was the day after my son was born and I did have to hurry back home.

    I still am supportive of Tesla’s mission and believe the Model S is one of the greatest vehicle available today. The Tesla folks have been helping me as well as they can so far and I am cautiously optimistic that they can make this right. The service center contacted me the next morning to look at the car, and the local and regional service manager has keep me in the loop of what’s happening while providing me a model S loaner while this is being sorted out. I know this car will be fixed one way or another, but no customer should be forced to accept a defective new car that requires major repair work right away. I would expect Tesla would take this car back to debug their production and build me a new one instead, and somehow would make the replacement process as pain-free as possible to navigate.

  • avatar
    Keef Wivanef

    Hi Snowstorm.

    First off, a question for you.
    Have you reported this to NHTSA (you are able to do so by entering a dummy USA address to satisfy the website requirements and then provide your real contact details in the text box. This is perfectly permissible)
    Additionally you are of course able to report to the Canadian authorities.

    Do you believe your faith in the Tesla “mission” overrides your civic responsibility to protect the lives of other road users?

    In case you did not know.
    Elon Musk did not found Tesla Motors.
    Tesla Motors did not invent the electric car and thus far has only made cars for the affluent.

    Despite the fact that Tesla has never shown a profit he has personally trousered close to a billion dollars.
    His family and cronies have trousered billions more.
    Do you think that is justified?

    • 0 avatar
      Digital Jedi

      What does snowstorm need to file a report for, you already claimed to have filed one for him, above. You know, along with all the others false reports you filed with the NHTSA that Electrek already called you out on in the article I posted below your comment? The ones where you fraudulently used pictures of salvaged Teslas from auctions.

      Musk was one of the first round of investors in Tesla. He’s included as a co-founder.

      EVERYONE knows that Tesla hasn’t turned a profit yet. This isn’t news.

      You have no evidence of your supposition that he pocketed a billion dollars personally from running Tesla. Oddly enough, when you make accusations, you’ll be called out if you can’t back them up.

      • 0 avatar
        Keef Wivanef

        I have indeed filed a complaint which is as yet unpublished on the NHTSA site.
        I find it concerning that an owner would not file a complaint himself upon finding such a glaring defect.

        None of my complaints are fraudulent.
        I have expressly stated in my complaints that I am not the owner and am merely reporting on what I see in the junkyard photographs that appears to be an alarming rate of failures in the Tesla suspensions.
        If you care to read my complaints (conveniently sorted in date order and with accompanying photographs) – http://teslabears.club/t/new-thread-keefs-complaints-with-photographs/107/109 then perhaps you will agree that there seems to be a problem.

        As to Mr Musk’s trouser pockets I suggest you read – https://seekingalpha.com/article/3976390-tesla-elon-musk-sold-stock-kept-cash-official-story-untrue

        I have taken out a few put options on TSLA (since expired worthless)
        If you or ELon believe that my complaints are fraudulent and perhaps an attempt to drive down the share value then those are very serious charges for which I could be extradited and charged.
        Go right ahead and report me.
        I’m easy to find.
        I’ll wait by the door.

      • 0 avatar
        Keef Wivanef

        Perhaps you might like to contact NHTSA and tell them to stop publishing my “fraudulent” complaints.
        https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls?nhtsaId=10971041
        and
        https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls?nhtsaId=10971044
        and
        https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls?nhtsaId=10971044

        The photographs to back up those reports are posted here – http://teslabears.club/t/new-thread-keefs-complaints-with-photographs/107/109

        Incidentally, that site has been visited by over 4000 people.
        IF my complaints are fraudulent then Tesla has plenty of grounds to sue me for defamation and causing harm to their reputation.
        Go right ahead punk.
        Make my day :)

    • 0 avatar
      snowstorm

      Kevin, I am not in a position to respond to many of your assertions. I do believe that EV will be an important part of our transportation future and am glad there are companies such as Tesla that are moving us in that direction, with hopefully many more to follow. I chose the Model S because it is a great car, the fact that it also happens to be an EV is a bonus.

      Now, a bunch of people (and machines) must have made some mistakes for this cracked part to end up on a delivered vehicle. I am of course disappointed to be on the receiving end of this situation. At this point however, giving Tesla a few days to find out what went wrong, fix the root cause, and remedy the situation is the only reasonable thing to do.

      As for filling reports to the relevant agencies, it is something that should be considered once all the relevant facts and outcome of this is understood. I am not an engineer in this field, and thus am also awaiting to learn what Tesla and the repair shop says about this defect. No need to bust out the pitch forks yet, lets give this a few more days to sort out.

      • 0 avatar
        Keef Wivanef

        Hi Snowy.
        (don’t call ME Kevin…that’s your service manager)

        I hope no more people get killed by defective Teslas while you are waiting to decide if you should file a report.
        I doubt that buyers of a Ford, GM, or Toyota would be so generous if they found a cracked A- Pillar.

        It’s not just the A-Pillar it’s the culture of cover up and denial at Tesla.
        It’s the very antithesis of TQA.

        How many loose bolts would be acceptable do you think?
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfXTx0OeGYo

        https://forums.tesla.com/forum/forums/model-s-pulls-left-please-read

        https://forums.tesla.com/forum/forums/model-x-front-suspension-failure
        Yesterday, I was parking my Model X90D in the parking garage at work, I was making a sharp turn as I was backing into a parking spot (in manual mode, not autopark), when I heard a bang and my steering became stiff. When I tried moving the car, it felt like it wouldn’t want to move. When I moved forward, the car front part felt like it was lifted up an inch or so. I stopped, got out, got onto my knees and crawled under the front suspension to see what was going on. It was obvious to me that there was a front suspension failure (I used to design suspension systems for cars in Detroit 20 years ago). The wheel appeared to contact the wheel well. I refrained from making any further movement as the wheel well was acting as a giant brake on the tire.

        Fremont…we have a problem.

  • avatar
    Keef Wivanef

    Here you go…NHTSA have now published my complaint.
    Is this “fraudulent” or what?

    Sorry bout the capital letters..that’s just NHTSA shouting to get Ewon’s attention.

    April 5, 2017 NHTSA ID NUMBER: 10970820
    Components: STRUCTURE
    NHTSA ID Number: 10970820
    Incident Date April 3, 2017
    Consumer Location BEVERLY HILLS, CA
    Vehicle Identification Number UNKNOWN****
    Summary of Complaint

    CRASH Not yet
    FIRE Not yet
    HERE IS A REPORT FROM AN OWNER OF A BRAND NEW MODEL X THAT HAS A CRACKED IN HALF A-PILLAR.
    https://TESLAMOTORSCLUB.COM/TMC/THREADS/HELP-A-PILLAR-DEFECT-FOUND.88657/

    PHOTOGRAPHS ARE ATTACHED.

    SNIP “I PICKED UP MY S90D LAST FRIDAY AND WAS SUPER HAPPY ABOUT IT, THERE WAS SOME TRIM MIS-ALIGNMENT ON DELIVERY BUT NOTHING SERIOUS. TODAY, I WAS SHOWING OFF THE CAR TO MY BROTHER IN-LAW AND NOTICED SOMETHING VERY WRONG WITH THE A-PILLAR. ON THE PASSENGER SIDE WHERE IT TOUCHES THE FRONT OF THE WINDSHIELD, THE ALUMINIUM WAS ACTUALLY CRACKED AND THERE IS A GAPING HOLE TO THE INSIDE! THERE IS NO WAY THAT I WOULD HAVE ACTUALLY CAUSED THIS AND YOU CAN SEE THAT THEY PAINTED THE CRACK PART AS WELL. I HAVE EMAILED MY DELIVERY PERSON AND AM SUPER SAD ABOUT THIS AS I DON’T KNOW HOW THEY CAN ACTUALLY REPLACE THAT PART WITHOUT RIPPING APART THE CAR. THIS CRACKED PART IS OBVIOUSLY UNACCEPTABLE BUT I DON’T WANT THEM TO CAUSE MORE ISSUES RIPPING IT APART TO REPLACE IT. WHAT SHOULD I DO?”

    IT IS SCANDALOUS THAT SUCH A SERIOUS STRUCTURAL DEFECT COULD PASS QUALITY CONTROL.
    THIS IS YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF TESLAS BEING RUSHED OFF THE PRODUCTION LINE IN ORDER TO MEET QUOTAS WHILE IGNORING THE PRODUCTION DEFECTS.
    PLEASE INVESTIGATE HOW THIS CAR WAS ABLE TO ESCAPE FROM THE FACTORY.
    CONCERNED CITIZEN ETC.

  • avatar
    snowstorm

    Dustin, the regional service manager in my area, reached out to me yesterday and confirmed that Tesla will be building a new Model S for me. The logistics of the actual transfer still has to be worked out (lease, government rebate in progress etc…) and I’ll need to build a new Model S where the option and prices have changed a bit in my region (e.g. one up) since I built mine last November.

    Overall, it is disheartening to see such a defect on a brand new car and it is a hassle to deal with. Nevertheless, the Tesla service team have been going a good job so far in helping me remedy the situation. I do hope the replacement process will be smooth and they’ll fix whatever issue that cause this in the 1st place.

    I didn’t hear anything about what caused the original problem or what will become of the original Model S, I’ll let you guys know when/if find out.


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