Elon Musk Confirms Tesla Added Stronger Second Layer Of Quality Control For Model X


Elon Musk Tweets On Second Layer Of Quality Control For Model X

Elon Musk Tweets On Second Layer Of Quality Control For Model X

Some Of The Frequent Model X Delays Coming To Market Were Likely Caused By Falcon Wing Door Operation

Quality Control Efforts Get Stepped Up For Model X

Following Consumer Reports’ article on poor build quality for early Tesla Model X SUVs and subsequent headline articles on the same topic from the Wall Street Journal and Tech Crunch, Elon Musk recently took to Twitter for some damage control.

Darth BL posted a link to the Tesla Motors Club Forum from which most of the X build quality issues were initially posted.

Musk responded by stating that Tesla Motors has actually added a stronger second layer of quality control to the Model X build to assure that the electric SUVs are less problematic.

The vast majority of Model X issues have centered around the cars revolutionary Falcon Wing doors. The complexity of those doors are likely the primary reason behind the late arrival of the X.

Our own viewpoint has long been that Tesla should have made the Falcon Wing doors an added cost option on the X. This would alleviate problems for those who ordered an X without desiring the special doors, and also would surely cut down/subsidize costs (and man hours) needed to get the doors to operate to perfection. However with that said, Tesla has always been set on the Falcon Wing doors as standard equipment, so it now needs to address the numerous reported issues that center around these unique doors.

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72 Comments on "Elon Musk Confirms Tesla Added Stronger Second Layer Of Quality Control For Model X"

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Having the Falcon Doors as optional isn’t as easy as it sounds, and may not even be possible. The cars roof structure and the size of the door opening would need to be significantly different for no falcon wing doors. Honestly it would probably cause even more problems if it were to be optional.

Not to mention all of the work/tooling to set up the line to make both models.

All of those points are very valid.
However, if any company could pull it off, it would be Tesla. They seem to have made it a habit to do things that the majority said couldn’t be done.

Personally, I’d prefer 4 standard doors…

agree. give me a model X light. Standard doors/ standard windshield / standard door handles for $20k less. I’ll buy it today!

Well, that’s most likely the price/feature combination that the Model Y will be, so unfortunately, it will require more patience…

They produce S and X on the same line, using the same general equipment, so they can definitely add an X with different roof structure/door openings to the same line. As to whether setting that up would save time vs just fixing the problems with the doors, I don’t know. I think it would definitely save time in the long run because in the long run they’ve got to offer a standard door version for all those people who complain that rain/snow gets into the giant door opening with the falcon doors. I don’t think falcon doors are appropriate for areas with a lot of harsh weather.

Making the doors optional will dramatically reduce the number sold. losing volume pricing on parts. Both versions of the car would have to cost more.

AddLightness said:

“Having the Falcon Doors as optional isn’t as easy as it sounds, and may not even be possible.”

Well, it certainly wouldn’t be possible in the way that, say, upgrading to an optional better stereo system is possible with most car models. It would require structural changes to the car, which means it would need to be a distinctly different version of the car, with separate crash tests.

On the other hand, American auto makers used to routinely offer a station wagon version of some or most of their sedans, and I think the required body changes would be less than that to put on regular doors.

Bottom line: Tesla could offer the MX with standard doors if they wanted to. But so far at least, they’ve shown no signs of wanting to. Given the current “full steam ahead” on developing the Model ≡, that’s hardly a surprise.

Elon keeps claiming that Tesla can do two things at once, but the history of the company rather strongly indicates that they can only do one major thing at a time. We need to keep in mind that compared to major auto makers, Tesla Motors is still pretty small.

Falcon doors as an option? … don’t think so. Would love to see the marketing study which has told them that people are desperate for this type of door and that their market share will explode with more sales.

This way they committed the BMW’s long time known sin … over engineered something meant to be simple.

Tesla’s aim was to create something that would attract attention to the Model X, and thereby create a lot of person-to-person advertising to help sell cars.

From reports, they have certainly succeeded in making a car which attracts a lot of attention anytime the falcon wing doors are opened. Whether that is going to translate to a lot of sales over time, remains to be seen.

As many (including myself) predicted, such unusual doors are going to present a lot of problems, and unnecessary complexity is usually not compatible with reliability. Unfortunately, that likely outcome has already been shown to be a reality here.

Will the problems with the falcon wing doors lose more Model X sales than they gain? Only time will tell.

Tough call. The Falcon doors were hyped up as a signature feature of this $100k+ luxury SUV. Pride and overcoming an engineering challenge probably also played a role. I agree it would likely not be feasible to make it an option. So it was either commit or change course. Hope they hold up long term.

Translation: “Hey guys we are finally caring about the quality of the cars we build. We were just kidding before”

Note: ***mod edit (staff) please no personal attacks/slander – descriptive sentence for above commenter removed***, instead of slandering good companies that try hard and care about their customers, instead of hiding and denying problems for ten years and killing over 200 people.

Ignorant? It’s on point and aligns with the facts. Unlike your personal attacks, which violate the terms of service of this site.

Disagree if you must, but if you can’t handle opposing opinions, you probably should not be on the internet.

I’m fairly certain that Tesla has always cared about the quality of their vehicles. It shows in how they address customer issues and in issues they find themselves.
The implication that they didn’t before is ridiculous.

That is a matter of opinion. I have facts supporting my opinion. Given the history of quality problems with the Model S and now with the early Model X’s. Tesla has repeated a pattern of rushing new models(which were already late) out without proper quality control process. With the Model S, Tesla provided a myriad of excuses. This time Tesla had no choice but to admit it. Quality control needs to be far better to meet the promises Musk made for Tesla.


Quality issues with new models is inherent to the business. It’s the reason you hear that constant refrain of not getting the first off the line of a new model or model refresh. That there are issues has NOTHING to do with whether or not the manufacturer cares about the issues.
Musk has always shown concern for how his cars are perceived by the public at large, not just by those who buy them. Even long time manufacturers have quality issues. That you can point to those issues, again, does not mean the carmaker doesn’t care.

Floydboy said: “That there are issues has NOTHING to do with whether or not the manufacturer cares about the issues.” I respectfully disagree. Tesla cared more about maximizing the number of Model X deliveries in the first quarter of 2016 than it did about quality control. Tesla put quality control on the back burner in order to deliver as many Model X’s as is could, resulting in the delivery of vehicles with obvious fit and finish issues that should never have made it out the factory past quality control. The first post in the link below has some pics (PDF file) of obvious fit and fitment issue that should never have made it past Tesla’s quality control, including not only fit and fitment issues, but also rusting seat hardware. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/delivery-feedback-and-pics-for-sc-after-a-week.66580/ Direct link to the PDF file containing the pics: https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/attachments/potential-tesla-x-issues_web-2-pdf.168870/ Telsa needs to raise capital very soon and the higher its stock price, the more capital it can raise with a secondary stock offering. After countless delays in releasing the Model X and an extremely slow ramp up in the 4th quarter of 2015, Tesla had to push Model X… Read more »

Perhaps but it is the shared “opinion” 90+% of Tesla car owners that have actually lived with the cars and Tesla. The negative opinions of people with no direct experience in the matter are just complete, meaningless BS.

Taser54 whinged:

“It’s on point and aligns with the facts.”

No, it’s a troll post, quite obviously untrue and deliberately worded to provoke outraged responses. So you’re a successful troll; congratulations.

“Unlike your personal attacks, which violate the terms of service of this site.”

So it’s okay for you to libel Tesla Motors with FUD, then pretend outrage at getting the response you wanted to generate. In other words, you violate the social rules for civil discourse, then complain when someone else responds by violating the rules of civil discourse.

What a hypocrite.

“…you probably should not be on the internet.”

You probably should look in the mirror when you say that.

One man’s snark is another man’s troll post.

Tough spot to to be. If you say you are improving Q&A, someone will say exactly what you said.
But if you don’t say or worse don’t do anything to solve the issue, then…

Well, that’s how human behaviour works. Either you take the bad red pill or the bad blue pill…

Somewhat surprisingly, marketing studies have shown that companies who mess up but then fix the problem for a consumer well, actually are viewed more favorably than companies who never messed up in the first place.

So if Tesla fixes this properly, it may be good damage control and even improve their image more than if they hadn’t messed up at all.

Interesting. thnx.

I think the falcon doors was a mistake. I’m pretty sure the Model-X would have sold fine without them and would have been on the market a year or two earlier, thus making Tesla more money by this point.

I recently had a chance to trade for a day my Model S for a Model X (owned by a friend). I liked everything about the X including the falcon doors which surprised me because before driving the X I was cold on the falcon doors. The fit-n-finish of the X is top notch. My friend says that after delivery he had a driver door issue that was quickly resolved by Tesla and since then no problems…he very happy with his X.

I’m now thinking falcon doors was a risky but smart move by Tesla because it does make Model X stand out and they are indeed useful. I won’t be surprised if some competitors will follow Tesla on falcon doors both in EV & ICE SUVs/CUVs.

When they work, they’re an absolute technical marvel… They are essentially robot arms that calculate on the fly how to open, using inverse kinematics from sensor input. Hubris, thy name is Elon.

But the upside of building the world’s most complex SUV, is that many lessons have, will be, and continue to burn into Tesla’s Corporate Culture at ALL LEVELS– in time to prevent these painful things from happening to Model III.

Model X will improve reliability over time, just as Model S did, not that long ago. Early teething pain is normal for any vehicle ramp up. Ask any automaker. But if any company can make those doors work, Tesla can.

I really think you have to give them credit for having the temerity to design and then implement those doors.
Pretty gutsy stuff for a brand new company. Probably most of his life, at least the early part, people told him you can’t do this that or the other thing, fortunately Elon simply ignored them, as probably should be the case with most of the negative comments concerning Tesla.

Funny how that works, people who have done next to nothing most of their lives are gonna tell Elon Musk how to run his company and what cars to build etc…

Yes he ignored them and now he’s doing damage control. Seems like he should have listened to them. The Model X is a nice vehicle and having normal doors would have been 99% of the vehicle it is now.

Everyone keeps talking about how fast Tesla fixes problems, but you’re ignoring the fact every time Tesla has to fix a problem it drags their profit margins down. That’s why Tesla is trying to do more QC before it leaves the factory.

Anon said:

“…many lessons have, will be, and continue to burn into Tesla’s Corporate Culture… in time to prevent these painful things from happening to Model III.”

Looks like it’s too late. Tesla is already planning to replace the driver’s instrument panel with a HUD.

Looks like the falcon wing doors all over again. Or at least, it looks that way to me.

The doors are a first in production item, and truly complex. The HUD shouldn’t be an issue however. They have been used in mass-market vehicles for quite some time. The Mazda 3 has one available. I do understand your point though. Tesla might try to make it the first truly holographic HUD and repeat the cycle, but I hope they are honestly trying to simplify the Model 3.

“I’m now thinking falcon doors was a risky but smart move by Tesla because it does make Model X stand out and they are indeed useful.”

The jury is still out. They are undoubtedly cool looking and do have some nice utility (as long as you don’t need a roof rack). And some of these initial problems will be solved.

However . . . what I worry about is the long-term functioning of these doors. What happens as entropy rears its head. What happens as the doors become misaligned, are subjected to freezing water in the cracks, thermal expansion & contraction, etc. over time. The repairs could become costly.

But if they can make them really reliable, it will be great.

The biggest concern to me is snow and ice. How do these work in parts of the country not ending in “alifornia”?

Seems like a nightmare. I get plenty of snow in my car opening normal doors.

From what I read on the TMC website, higher temperatures are more of an issue as the motors/hydraulics(?) overheat after multiple uses and need to cool down in order to resume normal functions.

Interesting. Have people had a chance to experience snow yet? Wondering if there’s positive snow experiences versus none to report at this point. I guess either way we’ll know for sure after another winter.

Speculawyer said: “However . . . what I worry about is the long-term functioning of these doors.”

I fear that the falcon-winged doors issues that Model X owners are experiencing on their brand new cars are the prelude to a post-warranty apocalypse.

“…post-warranty apocalypse.”

I has thinking same thing before driving the X for a day…the falcons opened/closed butter smooth…I’m thinking should not be any more of a maintenance/warranty issue than the upgrade air-suspension shocks that technically go through much higher wear cycle.

How can you tell? I’m sure the original design of the self-presenting door handles on the Model S “opened/closed butter smooth” when new, yet after a while they are very prone to failure, and Tesla has been replacing all four of them under warranty on a large percentage of Model S (those with the original, not updated design). Out of warranty, those self-presenting door handles cost $1,400 a pop replace or a whopping $5,600 to replace a set of four, down from previously costing $1,900 a pop and $7,600 for four.


“I’m sure the original design of the self-presenting door handles on the Model S ‘opened/closed butter smooth’ when new…”

I’m sure they didn’t. Non-extending door handles is one of the more common complaints from owners with brand new Model S’s. As I recall, that was included in Consumer Reports‘ list of initial problems with the car.

That said, and altho I’m not an engineer, what I do know of entropy and the way the world works rather strongly suggests that for any individual car, any problems with the falcon wing doors opening and closing are likely to get worse over time.

I’m sure they did, until they didn’t.

My opinion could be biased because I love these falcon doors and I strongly hope they will come with a future Cross-over/mini-SUV version of the 3 (model Y?) that I intend to buy. These doors will require a lot of work to become as reliable as we and Tesla want. But, high end cars exists for that. Trying new technology, new cool stuff, even it’s not as reliable than the existing one. Then, after a lot of hurdles and pain, it could became mainstream in other cars for average customers. I wonder what was the reliability of the first automatic gear box? Yes, why doing such complex mechanism? For lazy persons who don’t want to make the movement with their hand and foot at the same time? And what about the overall car fuel consumption with that thing? No, definitively, automatic gear box were a mistake, sure. And electric windows? Why doing such thing? For lazy people? They were cool sure, but what about the reliability? What happen, if they are down and is starting to rain? And children being crush by these electric windows. No sure, electric windows will neither reliable and manual ones are so simpler! Conclusion, let… Read more »

That might help with some of the problems.

But I worry that some of the problems are design flaws or defective parts that won’t be fixed by better Tesla factory QA.

Oh, his tweet mentions several parts being replaced. That sounds good.

Who is this man you speak of? Is there some reason to doubt his video?

The video shows a level of quality commensurate with 1980s Detroit autos. How is that in any way acceptable? It would take some powerful kool aid to convince me to keep such a rolling junkyard. Actually that video seals the deal on a Bolt for me – there is no effing way would I buy a Model 3 at this point.

That’s strange, the original comment I replied to seems to have vanished. Here’s the video I’m replying to:

***link removed***

If there is some reason to doubt the authenticity then please fill me in.

***mod edit (staff)***
We had to remove the link due to the nature of the youtube poster’s ID, and the subsequent language/conversation on the topic that spread into IEV, and it not being “PG” as set out by the ToS.

That said, the content itself was not an issue, and we don’t believe the YT link provided was via the original source, but a repost. If you can locate the original, you (or the original OP) are of course free to repost
***mod edit***

Jacked Beanstalk continued his anti-Tesla FUD campaign:

“The video shows a level of quality commensurate with 1980s Detroit autos.”

Why don’t you restrict your serial Tesla bashing to forums where at least some will appreciate it? No doubt all the short-sellers over on Seeking Alpha will enjoy it.

Here, not so much.

Tesla should make the X with standard doors. Not everyone wants the falcon doors.

Or maybe sliding doors?

After seeing an X up close, I understood why they made the falcon-wing doors. It is pretty tight in there and getting to the back row of seats is not trival. The big doors help with that.

Sliding minivan doors would provide just as good an access, other than needing to duck your head*. Is it really worth the added cost and complexity just so you don’t have to duck your head?

Given my personal experience with our Town & Country minivan, I don’t think so. The falcon wing doors were put on the Model X mostly to give the car an image of “coolness”, not primarily for any useful purpose.

*Elon claims one way the FW doors are better is because if you’re parked in a tight space, opening a sliding minivan door would block your ability to slide your body in between the cars. But you can accomplish the same thing merely by sliding your body in before opening the door. Again, I speak from experience here.

If you do the car right you don’t need “extra” QC. Just another example of how Tesla tries to substitute PR for actual quality.

I don’t know we could use some extra quality control around here concerning lame comments, such as the one posted above this one.

+1. He must have to wipe his feet for an hour before walking inside.

Don C, just like sven and Taser54 are longtime, serial Tesla/Musk haters that post their anti-Tesla FUD here and other EV forums.

What’s funny is now that Tesla has over 15 Billion in pre-orders is that they can no longer claim that Tesla is about to go under any day now.

You’re wrong, as usual. I don’t post on any other EV forums. 😉

P.S.: For the record, I actually like Tesla, but I do hate the Tesla reality distortion field.

LOL,for someone “who likes Tesla” your constant carpet bombing of Tesla threads with negativity tells us the true story about how you really feel, talk about a distortion field!

Maybe you don’t post elsewhere or maybe you do with another username but the other two posters DO post anti-Tesla FUD frequently on other sites so maybe you just keep your FUD here?


This was my first concern when I read the story. It sounds like Tesla is adding extra inspection. Hopefully that is not what they meant, or what they are actually doing.

The auto industry has learned that you cannot inspect quality into the product. Instead you must have robust process control, which has statically designed inspection at the proper points in the process of each component and assembly.

I think Tesla needs to hire a top notch Quality Guru, and have him or her report directly to Musk. The latter will be necessary so that Elon can understand the need to freeze requirements and concentrate on process control for several months (years?) before start of volume production.


As a Model 3 reservation holder, I have confidence that Tesla will be able to increase quality over time. It’s difficult being a new manufacturer and building vehicles in the 10s of thousands is very different than 100s of thousands. There is no denying that it is critical for Tesla to get this right before production increases or they will be in a world of hurt due to high costs in replacing parts and fixing issues.

I hope my future Model 3 is as well put together as my 2012 Volt. That was one vehicle that was over-engineered right from the start.

If you don’t believe these doors were necessary, just try to open a Model X’s falcon wing doors in a public area and not have several people stop and stare and ask what kind of car that is. This is why Tesla doesn’t need advertisements. Their cars ARE their advertisements.

People made complaints about the Model S’s all-touch screen system when it first debuted. Now nobody complains about it and all the other car manufacturers are showing off concept design with same large touch panel mounted in the center.

The same thing will happen with these doors. Already there are concepts with “falcon wings” appearing from other car manufacturers. People may realize, it really is better for most people to have a door that opens vertically giving you a large opening instead of one that give you a small slit to slide through.

We want Tesla to try new designs, even if they are not perfect to begin with. That is why they have several hundred thousand reservations on car that want debut for a couple years.

This is another Tesla myth. Their ads are all over facebook. They don’t advertise in TV but spend a whole bunch in facebook. More than any other make that I can tell.

They don’t have billboards ad, magazine or newspaper ads (paper or web), tv commercials, movie product placements, or any other kind of advertisement I am aware of.

So definitely not a myth.

I have never seen an “ad” on Facebook either, so I am not sure exactly what you are referring to.

As I never had a facebook page and I never consult facebook, I wonder how I know Tesla?!!! 🙂

agzand said:

“Their ads are all over facebook. They don’t advertise in TV but spend a whole bunch in facebook.”

I’ve never seen a Tesla ad on Facebook, or any paid Tesla ad anywhere on the Internet. Do you have a link?

EV Driver said:

“Already there are concepts with ‘falcon wings’ appearing from other car manufacturers.”

Can you provide a link? I’ve seen plenty of gull wing (and “butterfly wing”) concept cars, but not any indication that anyone else is building even a concept car using two-segment, double-hinged doors.

I was referring to the Lincoln Navigator and GAC WitStar concepts. And yes, they are not falcon wing doors, which is why I used the term in quotes.

The sudden arrival of concept SUVs with vertically opening doors does not seem coincidental to me. And I have a feeling we will soon see more.

Typical uneducated article. Having two types of doors on a car is extremely expensive. These guys think making a car is like making a smartphone. The tooling required to make a car costs billions of dollars. You cannot have two types of tooling for a low production car like Model X.

Well now, that’s a good point. I posted earlier comparing a Model X without falcon wing doors to a legacy auto maker making a station wagon version of a sedan, but you rightly point out that the Model X is produced in much lower numbers. So yeah, it would be much harder to justify the expense of developing a version so different that it would require separate crash tests, EPA tests, etc.

RE: door options. In the modern automotive era, something as fundamental to vehicle structure as door configuration is not easily changed. Crash safety modeling and tests would be all different. The entire structure would have to be engineered differently. Vehicle dynamics and handling. Air bags. Door locking systems. It isn’t getting the robots on the assembly line tooled and programmed to install two different doors. That’s easy (relatively). It’s all the other things, from engineering through crash testing and air bag compliance. A car is tough enough to get from scratch to on-the-road-ready without dealing with duplicating all the things that would have to happen to have two different door configurations.

The article says:

“Musk responded by stating that Tesla Motors has actually added a stronger second layer of quality control…”

Hmmm, no, that’s not actually what the tweet says. Here’s the original quote:

“We have amplified pre-delivery inspection to provide a stronger second layer of QA.”

I rather suspect that means only that Tesla has “amped up” the pre-delivery inspection. From posts to the Tesla Motors Club forum, I’m pretty sure Tesla was already performing such an inspection.

it is not a shame to say:
“sorry,we couldnt hit the target,the falcon doors are a nice gimmick,but we do a step back,in the future the model x comes with normal doors.”
a reason for me, for not ordering the X are the falcon doors.

My spoiler was misaligned from day one: upon unlock, the entire car groans as the spoiler arm exchanges paint with the body as it raises. On the highway it rattles nonstop. It’s egregiously bad. The drivers side FWD is also misshapen, and a center console seam is coming apart and has gobs of adhesive on it. Never take delivery of a Tesla near the end of the quarter.

…writing this here… you to like to skate on thin ice it seems 🙂

If it’s a legitimate post, then that really sucks, and shame on Tesla Motors.

The thin ice gives way when the post is questionable or the info is simply incorrect.