Quality issues in all-new vehicles is nothing new. Established automakers have had to grapple with such concerns since their first production models debuted. For Tesla, however, long bathed in the glow of positive public opinion – and high stock value – a recent online article from Consumer Reports calling out quality issues on early-build models of the 2016 Tesla Model X can’t feel good.
The article, published April 19, features comments from Model X owners who’ve experienced a series of complaints about their newly-purchased Tesla luxury SUV.
Owners’ Litany of Complaints
Among the common complaints from Model X owners are those involving the electric SUV’s gull-wing doors, windows, infotainment screen, heating system, AutoPilot and more.
- Both a unique styling statement and, apparently, prone to issues, the gull-wing doors of the Model X are reported to fail to close, be unable to sense objects nearby, resulting in dinged doors.
- Driver’s door and window fail to close properly.
- The infotainment screen repeatedly freezes.
- The curved windshield creates a “double vision” distortion of headlights and taillights and streetlamps at night. The Consumer Reports article says the effect is “distracting and tiring, and it makes following distances difficult to gauge.”
- An AutoPilot self-driving issue occurred when the road shoulder fell away, according to one Model X customer.
- The heating system proved ineffective in keeping occupants warm on a chilly evening.
Consumer Reports also notes in the article that Tesla message boards are filled with customer gripes about tolerances in interior trim pieces, paint quality, balky doors, second-row seats that malfunction, gaps in sheet-metal panels, and issues with the Model X climate control.
The company has already recalled 2,700 Model X SUVs for a faulty third-row seat latch, a potential safety issue.
Still in early production, only a few thousand Model X builds are in customer hands. Consumer Reports, which says that such issues are expected from a brand-new model, “recommends against buying a vehicle in its first year of production – especially a ground-up vehicle with the incredible complexity of a Tesla.”
The response from Tesla to Consumer Reports questions about the Model X quality problems?
“We are committed to making the world’s most reliable cars,” wrote a Tesla spokeswoman in an email to the publication. “While we have seen some issues with early Model X builds, the issues are not widespread, and we are working closely with each owner to respond quickly and proactively to address any problems. We will continue to do so until each customer is fully satisfied. This commitment is one of the reasons why 98 percent of our customers say they will buy another Tesla as their next car.”
Expect Tesla to take action with respect to owners’ complaints, as its prepared press release indicates the company will work “closely with each owner to respond quickly and proactively to address any problems.”