Owner of Tesla With Cracked A-pillar Gets Action, But No Answers

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Earlier this month, we detailed the plight of a Toronto-area man whose newly delivered Tesla Model S 90D — a six-figure vehicle boasting cutting-edge technology — arrived from the factory with a sizable crack in the A-pillar.

Because the A-pillar forms part of a one-piece aluminum side member, the defect represented a structural fault that couldn’t be ignored. It wasn’t the kind of PR Tesla wanted, especially as it ramps up production (and stock value) ahead of the Model 3 launch, and it certainly wasn’t something a first-time owner and admitted Tesla fan wanted to find.

After airing his story on the Tesla Motors Club forum, the owner provided TTAC with updates on his vehicle’s status.

The owner, who goes by the name Snowstorm on the forum, acted quickly after finding the Red Sea-like crack. Though he ran into some attitude from his delivery specialist early on, the crack was obviously a manufacturing-related imperfection, not a fault of the new owner. So, after a some back-and-forth with his local Tesla service center, it was off to the certified body shop for his Model S.

And, in the body shop it remains.

“Right now, the car is at the local certified body shop,” the owner wrote on April 9th. “They just completed their evaluation and sent his assessment to Tesla engineering to determine how to fix this. The manager says if it is up to him, he’ll repair it rather than replace, as a replacement will be very invasive.”

That potential remedy rubbed the owner the wrong way, as he doubted the side member was capable of actually being repaired. After telling the service manager he’d like to have a new car built, he was told to wait to hear his options.

The next day, the owner received his wish.

“Dustin, the regional service manager here contacted me and said they’ll rebuild my car,” he wrote. “I don’t know how the logistics will work out due to the lease, [and] government rebate applications. The price and options are also different now for the Model S.”

At this point, the owner claimed he felt confident in the process, adding the Tesla team has been very accommodating. He returned to the online vehicle configuration page to help rebuild the new Model S, as there were options he neglected to check off the first time around.

Yesterday, more news from our Torontonian Tesla owner:

I’ve just send in my request for a re-build yesterday to Dustin who is now working with his team to figure out the logistics of how Tesla will take my vehicle back, build a new one and transfer the lease. I was planning to add the rear facing seats since I now have an extra child. The pricing structure has changed quite a bit since I last ordered mine 6 months ago and just changed again, so I am in uncharted territories on that now.

Eventually, an uncracked Model S will return to the owner’s driveway. Still, he wonders about what caused such a significant crack in the A-pillar, and how it passed under the noses of quality control inspectors at Tesla’s Fremont, California factory undetected. So far, no answers.

(We fielded several emails from auto industry employees who pointed to the stamping process as the logical source of the defect, but that’s up to Tesla to confirm.)

“My original car is still in the Toronto area body shop according to my app, but Dustin said they’ll be shipping it back to the factory for examination,” the owner wrote. “Hopefully, the original build process is well recorded so they can see what/who missed this and prevent this from reoccurring.”

If the owner hears anything from Tesla on that front, we’ll dutifully pass the information along.

[Image: Tesla Motors Club Forum]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Aja8888 Folks, this car is big enough to live in. Dual deal: house and car for $7 large.
  • Astigmatism I don't think tax credits will put me in this league, but if I could swing it, I would 1000% go for a restomod EV Grand Wagoneer: https://www.thedrive.com/news/you-can-buy-an-electric-80s-jeep-grand-wagoneer-for-295000
  • FreedMike I like the looks of the Z, but I'd take the Mustang. V8s are a disappearing breed.
  • Picard234 I can just smell the clove cigarettes and the "oregano" from the interior. Absolutely no dice at any price.
  • Dartdude The Europeans don't understand the American market. That is why they are small players here. Chrysler Group is going to die pretty soon under their control. Europeans have a sense of superiority over Americans that is why the Mercedes merger didn't work out and almost killed Chrysler. Bringing European managers aren't going to help. Just like F1 they want our money. We need Elon Musk to buy out Chrysler, Dodge and Ram from Stellantis.