After a client places their order for a new Tesla Model S, there’s typically a two- to three-month wait until they take delivery of their new car, the last five hours of which is spent in a rigorous quality control inspection.
Elon Musk expects that his clients won’t mind the wait. Previously, he was overseeing and personally involved in the final quality checks of every single Tesla Model S that rolled out the doors, but as CEO of a highly successful electric vehicle manufacturer, he’s got plenty of other things on his plate. After all, future Tesla Models, SpaceX, and Solar Cities won’t develop by themselves.
Fortunately, removing Mr. Musk from the scene in person hasn’t diminished in the least his vision for Tesla Motors quality. The five-hour final inspection for each Tesla Model S covers all the usual things, such as interior and exterior panel fit and finish, paint quality, electronic and electrical systems check, which you would expect.
Don’t forget the water-tightness test, in which 1,500 gallons of water are sprayed at the vehicle from all directions to make sure it doesn’t leak. Then there are a few simulated road surface tests to check for abnormal noises, squeaks and rattles, and a 20-mile run on the dynamometer up to 80mph. All in all, I’d estimate at least 200 points of final inspection before a client gets to drive it.
This all reminds me of how Lexus got its start back in 1989, whose pattern of excellence Elon Musk and Tesla Motors seem to be following fairly closely. Lexus final inspection is intensive and time-consuming, which is why many of their clients, even those first-adopters in 1989, are still driving Lexus today.
With this attention to detail, Tesla Motors will build long-lasting relationships with their clients as well. In spite of the fact that the Tesla Model S is not a luxury vehicle, but a performance vehicle, Tesla Motors is actually outselling some luxury vehicles, including the Lexus ES. Could Tesla Motors have actually stolen some Lexus fans?