Tesla has hit back against reports that its Model 3 production line is churning out flawed components.
A report on Wednesday claimed that production of the $35,000 electric vehicle — which has already missed targets since manufacturing began last July — has slowed down because of the need to rework parts. Tesla strongly denies any link between delays of the car and a general remanufacturing process that “literally every automaker on earth performs.”
CNBC reported that that the company’s Fremont, California, plant is producing so many bad parts that employees are finding it hard to hit production targets. One engineer told the publication that around 40 percent of parts need extra work, while another said that flawed parts are being shipped to a plant in Lathrop 50 miles away, rather than fixing them in the line.
The report comes at a critical time for Tesla, which is seeking to expand its production with a car far cheaper than any it has produced so far. Plans to reach a production rate of 20,000 Model 3s per month by December slipped by, and it now expects to reach 5,000 cars per week by June this year. Customers that have already placed $1,000 deposits face a long wait before getting their car.
Tesla quickly fought back against the story, stating that the “majority of issues” at end-of-line inspection are “extremely minor” and fixed in a matter of minutes.
“Our goal is to produce perfect cars for every customer,” a Tesla spokesperson said regarding the story. “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.”
The company also highlighted its high customer satisfaction ratings. In December 2017, Consumer Reports averaged a score of 90 from current Tesla owners, beating Porsche’s score of 85 to claim the top spot for the third year in a row.
“CNBC’s recent story on quality at Tesla completely misses this critical point,” the spokesperson said. “In what world is the pursuit of perfection looked down on? Not one we want to live in.”
The original report stated that the remanufacturing department is comprised of 130 people, based on descriptions from LinkedIn. Tesla claimed the number was in fact closer to 40, or 0.1 percent of the total 40,000 employees on the team. The company also said that every car is subject to over 500 inspections and tests.