Although it may seem like Tesla is ruling the car world at the moment, the company has yet to turn a profit and its cars suddenly seem snakebitten by quality control problems. Earlier in April, Tesla was forced to recall 2,700 Model X cars in order to fix a backseat latch problem that could have caused seats to collapse in the event of an accident.
Now the Wall Street Journal is reporting that some owners of the pricey SUV are having mundane problems like window and doors refusing to open or shut. The $138,000 Model X has some exciting, if complex, features. Things like falcon-wing doors and sensors designed to prevent the car from being too close to objects are highly innovative, but also subject to glitching if they are not installed and maintained properly.
The Wall Street Journal interviewed several Model X owners who cited problems with the falcon-wing doors. Consumer Reports did an unofficial review of Model X, that paints a very unflattering portrait of the SUV. A few notes of caution regarding the Consumer Reports article, however, since it was not an official testing review of the vehicle. Instead the magazine wrote extensively about a man named Michael Karpf and his many complaints about the Model X. Karpf’s P90 D Model X had one door which would not open and one would not close. On another occasion, the falcon-wing door’s sensors did not work, causing the door to bash into an overhand, leaving a dent.
Karpf also echoed the concerns of some drivers who believe the curved windshield creates a double-vision effect. He complained that the autonomous driving features became confused when a road’s shoulder fell away, and he said the car’s heating did not get warm enough. However, Karpf also said these issues were fixed to his satisfaction quickly when he took it in for repairs.
Tesla maintains that the early Model X’s may have had some minor issues, they are all correctable. Founder Elon Musk also reminded consumers on Twitter than 98 percent of Tesla owners said they would not hesitate to buy another car from Tesla in the future.
So is this much ado about nothing, or are these legitimate gripes? The problems Tesla has experienced after launching a new model are certainly not unheard of, as even the world’s most established brands have recalls and glitches requiring repair. Although anyone who purchases an expensive car deserves a reliable and excellent vehicle, that does not mean there will never be any issue with the cars, regardless of price.
Tesla has to be careful about managing expectations. When a company says they will manufacture the world’s best cars, and do it without the delay and bureaucracy of older car companies, it puts a target on its back, as Tesla is very aware of at this point. However, Tesla is still pleased with its position in just the fourth month of the year, reminding us that they’ve booked nearly 400,000 pre-orders for the Model 3.