More Tesla Model 3 Setbacks?

We recently discussed Tesla Model 3 production setbacks due to battery and logistical issues, which caused the company to meet production numbers far short of their goals. A new CNBC report illustrates the problem is far greater than simply meeting demand and working out logistics, as faulty and flawed parts are part of the bigger issue. These flawed parts are, according to reports, causing Tesla to have vehicles be reworked and fixed before reaching the market.

The reports are coming from current and former employees, with one current engineer estimating that 40 percent of Model 3 parts are requiring fixes before they can be installed in vehicles on the production line. Other employees say these defect rates affect production targets, which affect company morale.

Tesla’s public relations team has pushed back on these claims, saying their remanufacturing specialists comprises less than one percent of their overall workforce, meaning they work on only a small portion of Model 3s in production. Furthermore, the tech company argues that reviewing products to make them the best they possibly can be is a process every automaker goes through on a regular basis.

This is unfortunately not the only piece of negative press to come out about Tesla in the last few days. Just this week, a self-driving Model S crashed into some pedestrians in the Netherlands, causing an uproar over the safety and reliability of self-driving technology. Many journalists have begun writing articles about the erosion of Tesla’s stock and the company’s “make or break moment” coming relatively soon. Other auto manufacturers are also taking this opportunity to learn from Tesla’s mistakes and come into the electric vehicle industry with a streamlined, competitive approach. Volkswagen, slowly coming back from a disastrous PR storm of falsified emissions data, is looking to get into the electric vehicle market to undercut Tesla on vehicle prices and attract former Tesla investors in the process.

One has to wonder if much of this less-than-stellar publicity is being projected onto Tesla given their lofty goals and bold moves over the last several years. As the poster child of the electric (and self-driving) vehicle movement, there are skeptics at every turn of Tesla’s maturation. Undoubtedly, many other automobile manufacturers have run into production issues without much fanfare and criticism. In their defense, Tesla has rebuked all claims of mass product defects with very reasonable explanations of product refinement, safety testing and making the best possible cars they can make.

Journalists may be right that Tesla’s “make or break moment” is coming, but if Elon Musk’s past confidence and ambition are to be considered, it’s hard not to think Tesla will come out on the other end of these negative press pieces. What do you think of Tesla’s setbacks and the company’s future? Let us know in the comments below.

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