Tesla’s Model 3 received some extremely harsh criticism from a Detroit engineering firm that takes automobiles apart and reviews them. CEO of the company, Sandy Munro, says that the new mass-market electric vehicle has so many production flaws that it’s “like a Kia in the 90s.”
“I don’t understand how it got to this point. These are flaws that we would see on a Kia in the ’90s or something…I can’t imagine how they released this. It’s just a surprise. A really big surprise for me.” he said in an interview with Autoline Network on Youtube.
Tesla Model 3’s “Fit and Finish”
A lot of Munro’s issues had to do with the “fit and finish” of some of the automobile’s components. The frunk, he noted, is very difficult to open manually which becomes a problem if the car loses power during an accident. Later in the video, he points out that the rear trunk is heavy and difficult to close. His next issue was with the door handles. He explained that because of the way they’re installed, it isn’t comfortable to open the doors with one hand.
“It’s a two-hand operation,” he said.
Munro also didn’t like that he heard the glass rattle around in the door while he was opening and closing it and noted that he heard this rattle in the two front doors. There’s also an extra layer of “Catspaw” or sealing material for the window on the driver’s side which Munro says seems like an afterthought. He stressed that you’re not supposed to just add another piece but remove and replace the original.
Then he got to the “gaps” on the Tesla Model 3. In Munro’s opinion, you can see the gaps between the car’s components “from Mars.” He says that the gaps in the trunk on one side are so small he can’t get his finger through. But then on the other side, they’re so big that he can get his thumb through. This is “very unusual,” he said.
During the video Munro criticizes the Tesla engineers for being “electronics snobs” That’s because he believes the mechanical backups for some of their electronic features are sub-standard. For example, the car has an electronic switch to open the door but there’s a mechanical lever as well that’s designed to be used if the car loses power. But you can only find those levers in the front seats and not in the back. In an emergency, the passengers in the back would have to pull the seats forward and escape the car from the car. That’s a lot to do if you only have seconds to exit the vehicle, he adds.
Some commenters on Youtube claimed that they weren’t surprised by Munro’s assessment since they believe the car was “rushed” to market. Others claimed that the issues he pointed out aren’t unique to the Tesla Model 3, while a couple of commenters claimed that Munro’s age made it difficult for him to understand the rationale behind Tesla’s specs.
But this isn’t the first time the build of one of Tesla’s models has been criticized. When Fortune reviewed the Tesla Model X, they loved the speed and some of its other cool features like the automatic door opening button. But they weren’t as impressed with the seat controls and other quality issues that took some of the polish off the luxury electric vehicle.