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    Tesla: Why Has Manufacturing Quality Dropped So Much In 2021?

    Jul 02,2022 | Chloe Lacour

    A study by J.D. Power reports that problems around just-delivered vehicles from Tesla and other manufacturers have multiplied in 2021, suggesting a decline in manufacturing quality. The consequences of the pandemic would be in question.

    Fortunately, all Tesla owners have no manufacturing issues. But the latest J.D. Power study on the subject shows that the situation has nevertheless deteriorated significantly in 2021. The electric car manufacturer is not alone in this case. Nevertheless, Tesla is one of the manufacturers where manufacturing quality has deteriorated the most in the past year.

    However, the J.D. Power study is not intended to point the finger at manufacturers. But rather to identify the difficulties to help them improve. The coronavirus pandemic has had a strong impact on automotive production, which has mechanically lowered manufacturing quality for all manufacturers.

    Tesla suffered like others from component shortages linked to the pandemic

    But not everyone is the same. The manufacturing quality of the General Motors brands (notably Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet), for example, has remained at a very high level. The same can be said for BMW, Hyundai, Toyota, and Ford brand vehicles. But at the very bottom of the ranking, we find Tesla tied with Mitsubishi (226 problems encountered out of 100 vehicles, or pp100). The manufacturer is followed by Volkswagen (230 pp100), Audi (239 pp100), Maserati (255 pp100), Volvo (256 pp100), and Chrysler (265 pp100).

    Fortunately, not all Tesla owners have manufacturing issues. But the latest J.D. Power study on the subject shows that the situation has nevertheless deteriorated significantly in 2021. The electric car manufacturer is not alone in this case. Nevertheless, Tesla is one of the manufacturers where manufacturing quality has deteriorated the most in the past year.

    However, the J.D. Power study is not intended to point the finger at manufacturers. But rather to identify the difficulties to help them improve. The coronavirus pandemic has had a strong impact on automotive production, which has mechanically lowered manufacturing quality for all manufacturers.

    Tesla suffered like others from component shortages linked to the pandemic

    But not everyone is the same. The manufacturing quality of the General Motors brands (notably Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet), for example, has remained at a very high level. The same can be said for BMW, Hyundai, Toyota, and Ford brand vehicles. But at the very bottom of the ranking, we find Tesla tied with Mitsubishi (226 problems encountered out of 100 vehicles, or pp100). The manufacturer is followed by Volkswagen (230 pp100), Audi (239 pp100), Maserati (255 pp100), Volvo (256 pp100), and Chrysler (265 pp100).

    The worst student is the Polestar brand, whose latest deliveries suffer, according to J.D. Power, from 328 problems out of 100 vehicles. The study explains that the deterioration affects older vehicles, even if “it is the very new models on which the deterioration is the strongest”. There are also fewer new problems with mass-produced vehicles than on more premium vehicles.

    Foremost among the problems noticed by new car owners are those with the infotainment system. The latter have problems in 45% of vehicles delivered recently, in particular problems with Android Auto / Apple CarPlay connectivity, voice recognition, the touch screen part, or the Bluetooth system. Users also report missing ports and volume hold issues.

    Unsurprisingly, electric vehicles and PHEVs are hit with the most problems. New owners are also noticing more issues with the driver assistance systems, including problems with the lane change system. However, appearances are deceiving: according to J.D. Power, overall the sector has resisted the difficulties linked to the pandemic in terms of manufacturing quality rather well:

    “Given the many challenges manufacturers and dealers have faced in the past year, it's almost surprising that build quality hasn't dropped even more significantly […] overall quality has improved. improved at a steady pace since the first edition of this study, so this year's decline is disappointing – yet understandable.”

    And J.D. Power to continue: “Manufacturers have continued to launch vehicles that are increasingly technologically complex in a period when it has been necessary to deal with shortages of many components”. These shortages almost caused real logistical disasters, sometimes forcing Tesla-like other manufacturers to deliver vehicles with missing elements like these Teslas with a hole in place of USB ports.

    J.D. Power is on his 36th study of the genre. The survey is based on responses to a questionnaire in which 84,165 new owners who received their vehicle in 2022 took part. The questionnaire contains 223 questions grouped into 9 categories: infotainment, features, controls and screens, exterior, driving assistance, interior, engine platform, upholstery, driving experience, and air conditioning.

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