Hollis Johnson/Business Insider
- Tesla’s Model 3 beat out its electric competition from Chevrolet and BMW when it came to powertrain and electronics.
- But when it comes to fit and finish, UBS analysts say the car has significant manufacturing issues.
- The teardown engineers found missing bolts, loose tolerances, misaligned welds, and more.
- Follow Tesla’s stock price in real-time here.
UBS has published the final lap of its complete teardown and analysis of a Tesla Model 3 to compare it to the competition.
Despite winning the first two laps — powertrain and electronics — the bank says Elon Musk’s newest sedan comes in last place behind the Chevy Bolt and BMW i3 when it comes to build quality.
“Our teardown experts noted numerous Model 3 quality issues including inconsistent gaps & flushness throughout the car, missing bolts, loose tolerances, and uneven & misaligned spot welds,” the team of analysts lead by Colin Langan wrote in a note to clients Thursday.
“The car scored ‘below average’ on the fit & finish quality audit which looked at >1, 500 gap measurements. The team also found the body/wind noise was “borderline acceptable.” The results confirm media reports of quality issues & are disappointing for a $49k car.”
They won’t be easy fixes, either, UBS says, especially when it comes to the structural issues creating excess noise.
After speaking to manufacturing experts and former Tesla employees, the bank says “many of the issues have to do with the basics of stamping out frame parts or the attachment thereof, which requires extensive retooling investment and shutdown time to fix.”
This verdict comes at a time when Tesla is racing to build enough cars to become profitable. The company built an entire assembly line in a tent next to its main plant in Fremont, California as it ramped to build 5,000 cars per week at the end of June. Documents seen by Business Insider showed roughly 4,300 of those required significant work to fix production issues.
“Beyond the build quality issues, the serviceability of the Tesla Model 3 comes into question as well,” said UBS. “Many aspects of the vehicle are inaccessible to even experienced mechanics and the containment of the battery pack makes fixes complex and expensive.
“In general, the car has fewer components, which are often more advanced than previous generations, but each component is more complex, expensive, and harder to service or replace.”
With two leading laps and a hiccup under its belt, UBS says it will name an overall winner of the electric car race in a coming note.
You can read about the first two tests here: