Tesla Motors Inc might have a rough road ahead as the year runs to an end after news broke that the firm is back in the center of new quality control issues. On Friday, news broke that Tesla has recalled all 90,000 units of its Model S cars on the roads after the firm found out that the seatbelts in the cars might be faulty.
Tesla Motors has been fighting to keep its brand image as a maker of premium, luxury, and high quality EVs alive, but quality control issues are becoming one too many. About two months ago, the Consumer Report retracted an earlier strong rating on Tesla because its cars had poor reliability. CEO Elon Musk has replied that the firm has fixed most of those issues, but it appears that the firm forgot to double check the seatbelts.
Tesla Motors seatbelt might not protect you
Tesla Motors has built a strong brand in the EV space. It is the only firm with pure EVs on the road while its rivals are still battling with concept designs. The Model X SUV that the firm unveiled has raised the bar on what to expect from EVs. Tesla’s autopilot features are still the best-in-class driver-assistance system on the roads, and Musk has hinted that his cars will be fully autonomous in three years. Yet, for all the expertise, Tesla can’t seem to build a reliable seat belt.
The recall of the 90,000 Model S cars on the road follows the discovery of a fault with the passenger seatbelt. In a statement that the firm emailed to Model S owners, it said, “Tesla recently found a Model S in Europe with a front seatbelt that was not properly connected to the outboard lap pretensioner.”
Tesla Motors noted that its service crew found the fault in the car, that the said car was not involved in a crash, and that nobody sustained any injury before the fault was found. Yet, the firm noted that “in the event of a crash, a seatbelt in this condition would not provide full protection.” Hence, all Model S owners are being asked to take their cars to a service center for a check.
Tesla Motors faults go beyond the seatbelt
Tesla Motors has survived many of the problems that killed previous startups in the auto space, and the firm is not likely to face threats to its survival from a single seat belt. Yet, the firm has serious issues that have been mostly ignored because Wall Street is in love with its stock.
Failing seatbelts are just one of the many problems that the firm has to solve. The firm has a backlog of orders for the Model S, Model X has not been delivered to real buyers, and rivals in the EV space are becoming stronger with each passing day.
Bob Lutz, who has been at BMW, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler, has said that the firm could be facing a “trifecta of doom”. Last month, he noted that “all the signs of a company in trouble: bleeding cash, securitized assets, and mounting inventory,” and added that “anyone paying attention probably saw this coming a mile away”.