Tesla hit back on fresh claim of 'flawed parts' and low morale
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Production of Tesla’s more affordable Model 3 sedan [pictured below] has been hit with numerous delays over the last few months, causing the firm to push back its targets on more than one occasion.
And, according to a new report from CNBC, this could be in part because Tesla has been churning out a high rate of ‘flawed parts.’
The firm has received more than 400,000 orders, and CEO Elon Musk initially claimed they’d be making 20,000 of the vehicles per month by December.
Now, however, Tesla is targeting 2,500 per week by the end of March, and 5,000 per week by the beginning of the summer.
Citing current and former Tesla employees, the CNBC report claims roughly 40 percent of the parts made or received at the Fremont factory must be ‘reworked.’
It also claims Tesla has had to bring in outside help for rework and repairs, and even send parts from Fremont to its remanufacturing facility 50 miles away in Lathrop, California.
Not only is this affecting the production rate, the report claims, but employees said it’s taking a toll on morale.
CNBC also sites Tesla job listings for remanufacturing technicians and a team process leader to back up the claims.
But, Tesla has hit back, arguing that the report makes inaccurate assumptions.
‘Our remanufacturing team does not 'rework' cars,’ a Tesla spokesperson told CNBC.
The firm also says the process is ubiquitous in the auto industry, and that they are not at all unique in remanufacturing.
‘Remanufacturing is a process that literally every automaker on earth performs,’ Tesla said in a statement responding to the report, according to Electrek.
‘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.'
The firm suspended production from from February 20-24 for planned work to adjust equipment in order to improve automation and increase production rates.
Tesla said the planned pause was normal and common for increases in output when a company is ramping up a new product.
Production of the highly-anticipated car has been plagued with delays, causing the firm to push back its targets numerous times last fall and early this winter.
'Our Model 3 production plan includes periods of planned downtime in both Fremont and Gigafactory 1,' a Tesla spokesperson told Reuters in an email.
'These periods are used to improve automation and systematically address bottlenecks in order to increase production rates.'
The Tesla Model S
Fremont, where the Teslas are built, is near San Jose, California. Their batteries are manufactured at the Gigafactory 1 in Sparks, near Reno, Nevada.
The company did not provide specifics about the production upgrade, but it said there could be more periods of downtime in coming months.
In the fourth quarter, Tesla said it delivered 28,425 Model S and Model X vehicles and 1,542 Model 3 vehicles, totalling 29,967 deliveries.
Tesla's full statement:
'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.'
- Daily Mail