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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
owner of tesla with cracked a pillar gets action but no answers

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]

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3 of 34 comments
  • DenverMike What else did anyone think, when GM was losing tens of billions a year, year after year?
  • Bill Wade GM says they're killing Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Any company that makes decisions like that is doomed to die.
  • Jeff S I don't believe gm will die but that it will continue to shrink in product and market share and it will probably be acquired by a foreign manufacturer. I doubt gm lacks funds as it did in 2008 and that they have more than enough cash at hand but gm will not expand as it did in the past and the emphasis is more on profitability and cutting costs to the bone. Making gm a more attractive takeover target and cut costs at the expense of more desirable and reliable products. At the time of Farago's article I was in favor of the Government bailout more to save jobs and suppliers but today I would not be in favor of the bailout. My opinions on gm have changed since 2008 and 2009 and now I really don't care if gm survives or not.
  • Kwik_Shift I was a GM fan boy until it ended in 2013 when I traded in my Avalanche to go over to Nissan.
  • Stuart de Baker I didn't bother to read this article. I'll wait until a definitive headline comes out, and I'll be surprised if Tesla actually produces the Cybertruck. It certainly looks impractical for both snowy and hot sunny weather.