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Tesla Accused of Manufacturing Flawed Parts

March 21, 2018 0 Comments

According to several current and former employees, Tesla is manufacturing a high ratio of flawed parts and vehicles.

One engineer currently working for the automaker estimated that 40 percent of parts made and received at the factory in Fremont, California, required rework. The employee also said that the need for review of parts coming off the line as well as the need to rework parts contributed to Model 3 delays.

Another current employee from the Fremont factory said that Tesla’s defect rate is so high, it’s hard to hit production targets.

To deal with the backlog, according to the current and former employees, Tesla is bringing in teams of technicians and engineers from its service centers and remanufacturing lines to help with the rework and do repairs on-site.

Instead of fixing flawed or damaged parts “in-line”, Tesla is purportedly sending them to its remanufacturing facility in Lathrop, CA., said employees. They declined to be identified, as they were not authorized to talk to the press.

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Tesla denies that the remanufacturing teams are engaging in rework, according to a spokesperson for the company. Tesla said that employees could be combining rework and manufacturing, and that each vehicle produced is subjected to “rigorous quality control” involving over 500 tests and inspections.

“Even during what is considered ‘launch’ mode, if a company is selling its cars to customers, it should not be experiencing large amounts of rework,” said lean manufacturing specialist and founder of MAG Consulting Matt Girvan. “This speaks to an internal quality issue that is on a magnitude that is not normal for most car manufacturers.”

According to Tesla, the cars coming off the line are reviewed “in detail” to “produce perfect cars for every customer.” Most of the calibrations performed at the end-of-line inspection are minor and resolved in minutes, the automaker said, adding that the efficiency of production has improved significantly:

“Whereas before it took three shifts with considerable overtime to produce our target annual production of 100,000 Model S and X vehicles, now it can be done with only two shifts and minimal overtime.”

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