Will Tesla Model Y Quality Problems Ding Sales? A Growing Unease As EV Competition Heats Up

The Tesla Model Y from the get-go has had widely-documented quality problems. Time will tell if this gives the budding competition an opening.

This week Consumer Reports cracked the door — providing a reason for prospective buyers to at least stop and consider the competition:

Closely-watched Tesla now sits second from the bottom among all 26 ranked brands. It was pulled lower by the newly-introduced Model Y SUV, which has well below average reliability and thus cannot be Recommended by CR.

—Consumer Reports, November 19, 2020

Of course, this isn’t a surprise to the scores (hundreds?) of Model Y owners who have meticulously documented quality-control issues on YouTube over the past six months.

Or to mainstream car-enthusiast pubs like Car and Driver, which cited “shoddy fit and finish” in its review this past summer, adding that this is “the one feature we’ve come to expect in all Teslas.”

Tesla user forums this past week were lit up with comments about whether this will send future EV buyers to brands like Audi or Porsche.

One typical comment in the r/teslamotors subreddit cited the large “chasm” in build quality between Tesla and brands like Porsche, Mercedes, and Audi.

Another warned that if Tesla quality doesn’t improve, it would be a “glaring” liability as EV models arrive in force from the Europeans in 2021.

Others warned that Tesla could follow in the path of American automakers who, because of quality problems, lost significant market share to the Japanese. The message here: once a carmaker gets a reputation for bad quality, it never goes away.

Some are more sanguine, though.

“I often wonder if traditional OEMs will catch up to Tesla’s EV technology before Tesla catches up to them on build quality and reliability,” one person said in the comments section at Green Car Reports.

And others have pointed to improved Model Y build quality in recent months.

So far this year Tesla shows no signs of losing market share.

It remains the No.1 electric car maker in the world and delivered 139,300 vehicles in the third quarter beating its previous record of 112,000 vehicles.

The Model 3 and Model Y comprised about 89% of the third quarter deliveries (124,100). Tesla does not break out Model 3 and Model Y numbers.

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I have a model 3 on order, coming from a BMW 3 series that has cost me thousands in oil leak issues, failed radiator hoses, exploding charge pipe, etc. I am sick of it and threw in the towel. Can’t wait for my model 3!

The market clearly has spoken despite all these criticisms which put up by the media, more and more people want Teslas. If these quality issues are becoming so prevalent as Tesla enters into the masses, then people will stop buying the cars, their friends will not recommend them, and the company’s growth will stall with more other choices becoming widely available. If people don’t want to buy electric cars from other automakers because they don’t want to associate with them for any reason, that in itself speaks to the power of the Tesla brand.

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