With Tesla still “anti-selling” the Model 3, interested buyers simply can’t walk into a Tesla dealership and test drive the company’s mass market EV. Hardly a surprise, Tesla is still struggling to ramp up production to meet staggering demand. And despite Elon Musk’s early and overly optimistic production projections, Tesla last quarter only managed to deliver 222 Model 3 vehicles to early reservation holders.
No doubt, Tesla will eventually manage to get a handle on production. After all, we’ve already been through this song and dance before with both the Model S and the Model X. What will unfortunately remain a problem, however, are ongoing fit and finish issues with the Model 3.
Case in point: Tesla recently gave Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi an opportunity to test drive the Model 3 and his experience was perhaps not what Tesla was anticipating.
In a research note obtained by CNBC, Sacconaghi said that the “fit and finish on the two demo cars we saw, perhaps not surprisingly, was relatively poor.”
Sacconaghi further added:
While we doubt that it would impact (or even be noticed by) most prospective buyers, we do worry that poor overall initial quality could undermine Tesla’s brand and potentially overwhelm its service network.
Our inspection revealed widespread shortcomings in fit and finish … Tesla representatives acknowledged some of the fit issues, but stated that they believed that Model 3 was much further ahead than where Model X and S had been at this point in production.
While fit and finish and build quality issues haven’t strongly impacted the Tesla brand just yet, it’s primarily because most Model S and Model X buyers tend to be early adopters who understand that not everything will immediately be perfect on a revolutionary vehicular platform.
The Model 3, though, is a mass market car and those forking over $35,000 for a brand new car — which will likely be their primary means of transportation — may not be as forgiving as Model S and Model X owners have been over the last few years.
Incidentally, two videos highlighting Model S build quality issues came to light over the last two weeks, both of which can be seen below.