You may remember a long time ago how the CEO of Tesla was accused by the company founder of some pretty serious knowledge and ethics gaps (calling him an “exaggerator and a liar“):
…claimed on a number of occasions to have degrees in both business and physics and to have briefly attended Stanford University, the suit alleges that Musk only has a degree in economics…
Lately those accusations have seemed like important foreshadowing to the CEO’s well documented lies and exaggerations.
According to a new book it’s also an insight into Tesla’s growing struggle to handle the truth — allegedly their manufacturing “approach” all along has been sacrificing safety and delaying fixes in order to push harmful exaggerations onto the road.
Musk’s approach to many manufacturing issues was, and still appears to be, keeping the assembly line moving while line problems are being fixed. He’s not a fan of the Toyota method, where a worker can stop the line until the problem is solved. He’s all about the volume.
That may be one reason why the quality of Teslas is so variable — why buying one can feel like a crapshoot. Some owners report their car is perfect; some say they were sold a piece of junk. (Including Kristen Wiig and Avi Rothman.)
In fact, Toyota ended a partnership with Tesla over such issues. “Musk was willing to let some quality issues slide if addressing them meant slowing down their schedule…,” Higgins reports. “Tesla was building the airplane as Musk was heading down the runway for takeoff.”
Of course Toyota ended that partnership. Tesla puts safety last. It’s a repeat story for many companies who realize far too late that they’re being pulled into a scam.
Getting more product out in a variable state of quality is a certain recipe for disaster, which is exactly what the data has been showing (Tesla’s safety record rapidly declines with the more cars they release).
- Tesla ‘Autopilot’ leads to *more* crashes than regular driving
- Tesla Model S has higher insurance losses than other large luxury cars” (higher frequency and severity)
- Tesla has fire deaths at 4x the rate of other vehicles
- Teslas have 2-4x more non-crash fires than the average car, and incur damages up to 7x higher
- Teslas have triple the driver deaths of comparably priced luxury vehicles
- Teslas crash twice as often as regular cars
- Tesla Deaths as of 7/7/2021: 201
A “crapshoot” is not how safety regulation is supposed to work, but it’s a good description of what owners should be thinking about as their brand new Tesla battery rushed to market spontaneously combusts and their door locks fail to release — a predictable death trap.