Tesla's Model 3 Production Is Reportedly Delayed Due to Flawed Parts

With up to 40% of parts needing work.

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Automotive
4,794 Hypes 3 Comments

After initial delays to the production of its Model 3 car last year, Tesla has received another setback as it prepares to release the vehicle. It was recently announced that Elon Musk‘s company had been forced to halt production of the car in February, with employees now reporting that this is due to a high number of flawed parts being produced.

Two current Tesla employees recently told CNBC that the high number of defective parts — which is reportedly as high as 40 percent — has been delaying production and pushing back production targets. Tesla has denied the reports, while also stating that it believes employees may be confusing the processes of reworking and re-manufacturing parts. The delays to the Model 3 have been huge, though, with Musk claiming the automotive firm planned to produce 20,000 per month vehicles by the end of 2017. Current estimates place the actual figure at 5,000 cars per month by the end of June 2018.

You can read Tesla’s full statement on the report below. The company has also recently announced that it is raising the rates of its Supercharger stations.

“Our goal is to produce perfect cars for every customer. That is why we review every vehicle for even the smallest refinement and conduct extensive end of line quality checks before a customer takes delivery of their car. Nothing speaks to this more than the fact that Tesla has the highest customer satisfaction levels and the highest percentage of customers who say that their next car will be a Tesla in the entire global auto industry. We care about even the smallest imperfections like a slight paint gloss texture or a wheel alignment check.

CNBC‘s recent story on quality at Tesla completely misses this critical point. In what world is the pursuit of perfection looked down on? Not one we want to live in.

As an example, every Model S or Model X on the assembly line must pass through hundreds of inspection and test points. In order to ensure the highest quality, dedicated inspection teams track every car throughout every shop in the assembly line to document and address potential issues. Towards the end of the line, every vehicle is then subjected to an additional quality control process involving more than 500 other inspections and tests.

The majority of issues identified at the end of line inspection are extremely minor, and are resolved in a matter of minutes. That said, we’re working to reduce this work and make the process as efficient as possible. We then feed these improvements back to production in a pursuit of perfection.

This is reflected in the overall efficiency of the factory, which has improved dramatically. For example, the number of labor hours needed to complete a Model S or Model X vehicle has decreased. Whereas before, it took three shifts with considerable overtime to produce 100,000 Model S and X vehicles, now it can be done with only two shifts and minimal overtime.

Moreover, CNBC‘s focus on remanufacturing has nothing to do with the quality of our cars. Remanufacturing is a process that literally every automaker on earth performs. CNBC is extracting a few lines from two job descriptions posted online and making gross assumptions about the roles that are inaccurate. Our remanufacturing team is very small, comprising only 0.1% (40 people) of our nearly 40,000 employees. Any “expert” claiming there is something unusual about our remanufacturing or that it has something to do with the quality of cars that come off a production line is either very confused or just completely wrong. In reality, like other automakers, Tesla remanufactures parts because doing so uses fewer materials and less energy than building a new part from scratch. It is undeniably a good thing that is ultimately better for the environment and if well done is equally good for the customer.”

Our Model 3 production plan includes periods of planned downtime in both Fremont and Gigafactory 1. These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates. This is not unusual and is in fact common in production ramps like this.”

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