Tesla Motors Inc ‘s Model X SUV is a wonder. It’s a beautiful, big, super-fast, fun, family car. If you want one, you’ll pay a hefty price and you’ll wait for months before you actually get your hands on it. And once you get the car you might find that it gives you a great feeling and an occasional headache too. But do you really mind a little headache once in a while?
Tesla overcame tons of trouble getting its Model X SUV out the door. Numerous production issues bedeviled the process and the delivery date was delayed and pushed back solidifying Tesla’s reputation for being late. If it weren’t for the cult-like loyalty the company has amassed, many buyers may have canceled their Model X orders before they got the chance to drive one.
Tesla is not out of the woods with the Model X because Consumer Reports has published a story suggesting that early units of the Model X had problems in their build quality. Some of the problems reported in the SUV include double vision, glitch in falcon wing doors, confusing autonomous mode, and distorted street lamps, headlights and taillights of other vehicles. Earlier this month, news broke that Tesla has issued a recall for more than 2000 Model X because of wonky rear seats.
Tesla and its unending woes on the Model X
Tesla initially delivered just a handful of Model X SUVs and the firm made a little over 200 deliveries of the Model X in the last quarter of 2015. Production has increased for the Model X and Tesla seems to have perfected the rhythm of building and delivery the Model X.
Before the launch of the Model X, Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk was full of praise for tech advancements that his firm made in the design and building of the car. The Model X was designed to impress the hardest of critics with its autopilot, futuristic falcon wing doors, panoramic windshield, biodefense mode, and unbelievable performance despite its large size.
Musk however admitted that his firm went over and beyond in building the car. He says the Model X was “the most difficult car in the world to build”. He also said “I’m not sure anyone should have made this car…”We probably should have just [modified the Model S],” into an SUV. He also claimed that “there are so many more features and difficult to build parts on [the Model X] than it is necessary for us to sell the cars”.
Now, Tesla’s quest for perfection in building the ultimate SUV is coming back to bite it. One of the main reasons behind Model X production delays was the engineering of the falcon wing doors and the firm had to terminate a contract with a German supplier who built and delivered shoddy prototypes of the doors. However, the falcon-wing doors that Tesla designed in-house now posses one of the commonest complaints from the buyers of the car.
Tesla suffers haircut because of glitch Model X
On Wednesday, shares of Tesla Motors got a haircut soon after the news of Model X bugs broke. Shares of the firm closed down 2.56% to $247.37 per share yesterday after dropping to a session-low of $241.25 – the stock has lost another 0.64% in pre-market trading this morning. The losses are in sharp contrast with 0.27% gains in the Dow Jones and the 0.31% gains in the S&P 500.
Tesla owners will put up with a little trouble
Tesla does a good job at responding to customer complaints and it has an efficient system of dealing with bad press. The firm says, “We are committed to making the world’s most reliable cars. 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…. 98 percent of our customers say they will buy another Tesla as their next car.”
However, the bugs plaguing the SUV underscore some of the underlying points that critics had about Tesla’s penchant for choosing design over practicality. Bob Lutz, a former vice chairman at General Motors notes that “The Model X appears to be unbuildable with those automatic gull-wing doors, which everyone in the industry always said were not going to work.”
Tesla will surely fix the issues with the Model X and recover any damage to the company’s sparkling reputation. However, for now, Jake Fisher, the head of auto testing for Consumer Reports says “statistically speaking, this car is more likely to have problems than the average vehicle. And that’s not a good thing. You know, when you plunk down this kind of money, you want a car that’s going to not just perform really great, but do it every day without headaches.”
Headaches are no fun but they are temporary and they go away with a little aspirin.