A new report claims that Tesla employees worked through harsh condition and took shortcuts such as using electrical tape to patch cracks to meet Elon Musk’s Model 3 production goals.
CNBC reports that Tesla employees are claiming that they were forced to take extreme shortcuts to hit the company’s Model 3 production goals while working in an open-air “tent” factory. The employees claim that they were forced to make quick fixes to plastic housings using electrical tape and skip vehicle tests that were previously required to be completed.
Four people who worked on the assembly line allege that supervisors told them to use electrical tape to patch cracks on plastic brackets, even providing photographs that show where the tape was applied.
Tesla alleges that some of the parts with electrical tape applied comes to them from suppliers, workers acknowledged this but stated that tape used to fix housings or brackets with cracks or to stop components from vibrating inside the scar is not the same as “factory tape.” Four others familiar with the conditions of the open-air tent factory allege that employees were forced to work through extreme heats, cold night temperatures and consistently smoky air during the wildfires in Northern California.
Tesla told shareholders that over the course of three months ending June 30, the company produced 87,048 vehicles, including 72,531 Model 3 vehicles. Both of these productions were quarterly records with Tesla telling shareholders to expect 360,000 full-year deliveries, 250,000 of which would be Model 3 sedans.
Commenting on the working conditions of the production facility, Tesla stated: “We work hard to create a work environment that is as safe, fair and fun as possible, and it is incredibly important to us that employees look forward to coming to work every day. In fact, we have a large number of employees who request to work on GA4 based on what they hear from colleagues and what they have seen first-hand.”
Other employees claim that they would frequently see cars moving down the line that they knew were missing bolts, nuts, or lugs as the company attempted to save time. The employees stated that in particular, aeroshields are regularly missing a middle bolt and loose connections in body controllers are quite common.
Tesla commented on this stating that it “has a robust quality assurance team that reviews each vehicle at the end of the GA4 assembly line to ensure every car was built correctly and is perfect before it leaves our factory to go to customers.” Mike Ramsey, senior automotive research director at Gartner commented on the issues Tesla is facing stating: “Every time a car rolls off the lot and a piece of trim falls off, or an electrical system is failing after a month, it undermines the brand. That customer is not likely to buy another Tesla.”
He added: “The idea that you would not stop the line, and would patch something with spit and bailing wire — OK, not literally that, but close to it — almost certainly injects quality issues down the road that they are going to have to fix.”
In January, Tesla underwent mass layoffs, which reportedly included an entire quality assurance team.
Read more at CNBC here.