Newsflash: Hyundai komt met cross-over onder de Kona

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+++ BMW has released on its Facebook page a new image of the upcoming all-electric iX3, presenting the Energy Flow screen in the infotainment, which shows a surprising range rating. The system estimates a range of 238 km at about 75 % state-of-charge (SOC), according to the graphic with 15 battery bars full, and 5 discharged. Quick math brings me to the conclusion that at 100 % SOC it would be 317 km or so. That’s quite surprising, as the iX3 was supposed to offer 460 km of WLTP range and 520 km of NEDC range, using 74 kWh out of 80 kWh battery. So, is this just an image, not much related to the real-world range, or is it actually related to the real-world range, which might be much lower (by almost a third) than the WLTP value? I hope that the iX3 will be able to deliver a result closer to its WLTP rating and such low values will not be seen often, aside from winter or sporty driving with multiple hard acceleration blasts. +++

+++ CHEVROLET is recalling the new Corvette for the first time, but owners won’t need to visit their nearest dealer to get the problem fixed. It will ensure no one gets trapped in the car’s frunk by sending an over-the-air software update. In a statement, the company explained the frunk release button might not work once the car enters the low-power sleep mode, which it’s programmed to do 10 minutes after the engine is turned off. That means someone trapped inside the frunk (“a small person”, according to Chevrolet) may not be able to get out without assistance, which evidently increases the risk of injury. It also makes the Corvette non-compliant with a federal safety standard. Instead of asking technicians to fix this issue, Chevrolet will update the Corvette’s Body Control Module (BCM) to lower the voltage required to wake the car from the sleep mode. In turn, this will ensure the release button opens the frunk even if the car’s onboard electronics have been off for over 10 minutes. Owners who signed up to receive over-the-air software updates will receive the fix wirelessly. Those who chose not to enable the feature will need to get the update installed free of charge by an authorized dealer. Chevrolet hinted it could send out a separate over-the-air software update to address complaints about the frunk flying open, though it stressed the issue isn’t due to a design- or manufacturing-related defect. Several owners reported their frunk unexpectedly flew open while driving and obscured their vision, sometimes causing damage. +++ 

+++ CHINA ‘s car rental market has quickly rebounded and better overcome the negative impact of the Covid-19 epidemic. Given its privacy and cleanness, more customers are seeking to take self-driving trips and personal short-term rentals. This year, revenue of the car rental sector in China are foreseen to exceed 100 billion yuan ($14.4 billion). The orders on Trip.com Group, which cooperates with more than 2.000 car rental companies, are expected to jump by 30 % on a yearly basis, it forecasted. China’s largest online travel agency Trip.com found nearly two-thirds of its car rental customers are new users this year. Industry-wide, 45 % of the total car rental customers are new, which is a strong indication of the growing potential of the sector, Trip.com said. The most popular destinations for car rentals are Sanya in Hainan province, Chengdu in Sichuan province and Shanghai, respectively. “Individual drivers have shown increasingly diversified demand of car rentals in different scenarios”, said Peng Liang, a researcher of tourism big data at Trip.com. “Since the outbreak of the epidemic this year, more Chinese started to work from home and the demand of business travels has declined. Yet, more have recognized the advantages of car rentals, and they rent cars for work and vacation, or rent a luxury car for photography tours”, he said. Currently, China has more than 30.000 car rental companies. Most companies have a lineup of 30 cars on average. In China, the 5 largest car rental providers, such as New York-listed Ehi Car Service, State-owned Beijing Shouqi Group and Beijing-based Car Inc, took about 30 % of the total market share. In the past 5 years, the compound annual growth rate of the sector was 20 %, Trip.com said. The younger generation has become the backbone of car renters. Those aged between 24 and 40 accounted for 51 % of the total car rental customers of Trip.com, while people aged below 24 make up for 12 %, it found. Separately, renters are showing big concerns about car rental securities. Besides prices, car types and conditions, drivers pay attention to aspects such as the transparency of insurance compensation and the reliability of car pick-up stores. Renters are also concerned if customer services would cover the whole rental process and if orders can be easily canceled or changed, Trip.com said. “The car rental sector is a highly decentralized market and it may generate problems such as different standards and service guarantee difficulties. Mergers and innovations will help increase service standards, and the sector will see more growth opportunities”, Peng said. On another front, a niche for the recreational vehicle rental business has developed in the country as more travelers are seeking safe and distinguished travel experiences. Orders of RV trips in July on Fliggy, the online travel arm of Alibaba Group, surged more than 120 % year-on-year. It was one of the few segments that has seen its revenue significantly surpass that of last year, Fliggy said. The SAIC MotorRV Technology is China’s largest RV rental company. It has a dominant market share of nearly 60 %. “Despite the fact there is still a gap between China’s RV rental business and that in Europe and the United States, China’s stock of RVs jumped with an annual compound growth rate of 30 %in the past few years”, said Yang Songbai, general manager of SAIC MotorRV Technology. “The sudden outbreak of the epidemic has further driven the popularity of RV trips, as RVs can provide independent space that is safe and private. Now, most travelers who take RV trips are families and college student groups”, he said. +++ 

+++ Electric car manufacturer FARADAY FUTURE seemed to have a future. That vision has been crumbling for years, and it’s been one troubling sign after another. The latest indication that things are going badly has a silver lining, however. Instead of creditors getting stiffed or executives jumping ship, this bit of news includes an actual car you can buy. In fact, this FF 91 prototype is (as far as I can tell) the first, and so far only, Faraday Future vehicle to go up for sale. Buying it won’t save the company, but at least you’ll be able to hold a tangible product produced by a company that otherwise just seems to be burning cash. And this is no ordinary FF 91 prototype. It’s the car that ran up Pikes Peak in 2017 in a claimed record time, although it wasn’t a production car. And, frankly, still isn’t, and probably never will be. Set aside the symbolism of the company getting rid of what should be one of its most prized assets, and you’ll find a bespoke, one-off car that’s seen some hard use but likely still offers a lot of enjoyment. This FF 91 produces a claimed 1.050 hp, which helps it launch to 60 mph in a claimed 2.3 seconds. That’s nothing to shake a stick at. Its claimed driving range of 600 km is also impressive. What, if any, of the FF 91’s impressive drivetrain components could be replaced or fixed if they fail isn’t clear, but anyone thinking of bidding should plan for such an inevitability. The interior is also very minimalist. It’s simple, purposeful, and not particularly clean. It’s a prototype, after all, and one that’s seen some intense use. Available at Worldwide Auctioneers, this FF 91 will be sold at the Auburn Auction on September 5th. I don’t have an auction estimate or even a good understanding of the car’s working condition, though. The biggest unknown, however, is what a buyer could do with this machine, since it’s almost certainly not street legal and probably impossible to register. Maybe it’ll give a competitor some critical intel in taking its own electric model over the line? Whatever happens with this FF 91, it’s a fascinating bit of EV history. +++ 

+++ FAW , China’s leading automaker, sold 322.471 vehicles in July; up 23.2 % year on year, according to corporate sources. Its iconic sedan brand Hongqi sold 17.508 vehicles last month; an increase of 98.8 % year on year. The group’s joint ventures FAW-Volkswagen and FAW Toyota also reported a growth of 6.9 % and 40 % in sales in July, respectively. Despite the Covid-19 epidemic, FAW Group’s major brands have been expanding online and offline sales channels and launching new products while stabilizing production. Hongqi has rolled out 2 new models (Hongqi H9 and Hongqi E-HS9) this year, aiming at the high-end auto market. The brand fulfilled its sales target of 100.000 cars in 2019 and has doubled the target for 2020. With a younger and more market-oriented design style, Hongqi plans to roll out 21 new models in 5 years, and eyes a sales target of 600.000 cars in 2025. Founded in 1953 in the northeastern city of Changchun, capital of Jilin Province, FAW Group is seen as the cradle of China’s auto industry. The group sold more than 1.63 million vehicles in the first half of 2020; up 2.3 % year on year. +++ 

+++ FORD has halted sales of its new Kuga PHEV due to concerns over overheating battery packs, the company has confirmed. The plug-in hybrid SUV arrived in showrooms only a couple of months ago but has been deemed a success so far, accounting for half of the Kugas registered across Europe in the second quarter of this year. However, Ford has released a statement admitting the sale of Kuga PHEVs built prior to 26 June has been suspended “temporarily”. The statement also says “information from the field indicates that 4 vehicle fires are likely to have been caused by the overheating of the high-voltage batteries”. The “potential concern” has not only led to deliveries and sales of new models being stopped; buyers who have received their cars have also been contacted and told not to charge their high-voltage battery “until further notice”. They have been asked to keep the car in its “EV Auto” drive mode. The brand has now issued a safety recall for all affected models and is writing to customers to book vehicles in for remedial work from later this month once the required parts are available. It’s not yet known how difficult the problem will be to resolve, with unverified suggestions claiming it’s related to the battery’s charging module overheating. Ford admits that this overheating can occur “when the vehicle is parked and unattended or is charged”. Although it’s not believed that any injuries have been reported as a result of the fires, the fact that multiple fires have been reported on a relatively new car is cause for concern. Also unclear is why the problem affects only Kugas built prior to the end of June. It’s believed that up to 27.000 cars globally are affected. Fires in combustion-engined vehicles are nothing new, but they’re rarer in EVs, due to their relatively small numbers. EV fires can be volatile, however, with first responders and firefighters now provided specific EV training to ensure the high-voltage power system is switched off as a priority. +++ 

+++ HYUNDAI was caught testing what looks like their upcoming i20-based small crossover model for the first time. The new model will become Hyundai’s smallest crossover in the range, at least in Europe, based on the new i20 hatchback. Unlike the previous-gen i20 Active, which was just a lifted version of the regular hatch with added plastic fenders, Hyundai’s new crossover model is expected to feature its own unique bodywork. From the spy shots, I can notice some resemblance with the regular i20, particularly at the front, but the rear looks completely different, featuring a longer roof and a more wagon-esque aesthetic. The taillights are also new units that reach over to the D-pillar instead of the hatchback’s horizontal ones, with a separate set of lights left visible lower on the bumper. The interior was also covered by a semi-transparent cover but since we have already seen the cabin of the new i20, it’s pretty easy to see that Hyundai uses the same dashboard design here as well. The 10.25 inch digital instrument cluster is paired with an equally sized touchscreen display for the infotainment system, which will feature both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The new i20-based crossover will slot under the Kona in Hyundai’s European model range. It will be available only with front-wheeldrive and will share most (if not all) the powertrains that are available with the i20. That includes the 1.0-liter T-GDI petrol engine, which is offered with 2 power outputs (100 hp and 120 hp) and paired with a mild-hybrid 48 volt system. Transmission options will include both a 6-speed manual and a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. Given that most of the bodywork under the heavy camouflage looks production-ready, we expect Hyundai to reveal its newest crossover model sometime towards the end of the year. +++ 

+++ This year’s LE MANS 24 HOURS will run behind closed doors following a jump in Covid-19 cases in France this month. The world’s most famous endurance race was initially scheduled for 13-14 June, but in March it was delayed until 19-20 September as the corona virus quickly spread throughout Europe. As things started to improve in June, race organizer the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) decided a small number of fans would be able to attend the event in ‘social bubbles’ made up of 5.000 fans each. However, ACO president Pierre Fillon has now confirmed that this plan has been shelved and the race will go on without spectators. “Over the past few weeks, we have looked at many ways in which we could hold our event in September with fans present, albeit in limited numbers”, Fillon said in a statement. “However, given the constraints involved in organizing a festival-scale event over several days in the current situation, we have opted with the local government authorities to hold the race behind closed doors. There were still too many question-marks regarding health and safety. We know that our fans will be as disappointed as we are by this decision but, with public health in the balance, it really wasn’t a difficult call to make”. Fans who had purchased tickets will be contacted by the ticket office for a refund. Meanwhile, the 2020 World Endurance Championship will resume at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium this month. +++ 

+++ The LUCID AIR is inching closer to its online unveiling on September 9 and the electric vehicle’s range has just been announced. In a statement, Lucid has confirmed the Air has an estimated EPA range of 832 km. Lucid says it came to this figure through independent testing with FEV North America in Auburn Hills, Michigan that applied the EPA’s Multicycle Test Procedure with the standard adjustment factory. With an EPA-estimated range of 832 km, the Lucid Air easily eclipses the next highest range of an electric vehicle sold in the United States, the Tesla Model S Long Range with its EPA range of 647 km. “I’m delighted that the Lucid Air has been independently verified by FEV to achieve an estimated EPA range of 832 km, and that this landmark in the history of EV development has been achieved entirely through Lucid’s in-house technology”, chief executive and chief technology officer Peter Rawlinson said. “I believe that our 900 volt architecture, our race-proven battery packs, miniaturized motors and power electronics, integrated transmission systems, aerodynamics, chassis and thermal systems, software, and overall system efficiency has now reached a stage where it collectively sets a new standard and delivers a host of ‘world’s firsts’ ”. Lucid has yet to reveal the capacity of the Air’s battery pack. However, the company says the Air’s battery pack draws on the expertise the company has gained through its technology division, Atieva, which supplies the battery packs for the entire field of Formula E cars. “Range and efficiency are widely recognized as the most relevant proof points by which EV technical prowess is measured. A few years ago we revealed our alpha prototypes of the Lucid Air and promised over 640 km range; a reflection of our technology at that time”, added Rawlinson. “In the intervening period we have achieved a series of technological breakthroughs, culminating in an unsurpassed degree of energy efficiency. I am therefore pleased that we have consequently achieved an estimated EPA 832 km of range today whilst also significantly reducing our battery pack’s capacity, thereby reducing vehicle weight and cost, and improving interior space. Such exceptional efficiency, achieved through in-house technology, is undeniably a measure of a true EV tech company”. In addition to its impressive range, the Lucid Air will be able to hit 60 mph (96 km/h) in less than 2.5 seconds and sprint to over 320 km/h. Customer deliveries are expected to kick off in early 2021. +++ 

+++ I already saw BMW Group’s general plug-in car sales in the second quarter of 2020, but with the more detailed numbers that emerged recently, I can now see how the particular branches cope. There are 3 categories of BMW plug-ins: BMW i (currently represented only by the i3, as i8 was retired), BMW e plug-in hybrids and MINI Electric plug-ins (one PHEV and one BEV). As it turns out, during the first half of 2020, BMW actually increased sales of its BMW e plug-in hybrids (by 39.3% to 42.731) and they are responsible for the majority of the overall volume (61.652 and up 3.4%), while the BMW i (mostly i3 with the retired low-volume i8) was down by half year-over-year. Sales of the Mini Electric category were stable, which means that the all-electric Mini Cooper SE was replacing the decrease of Mini Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 plug-in hybrid. Anyway, about 7.2% of Mini sales were plug-ins and the share is growing. The true increase of BMW plug-ins is ahead of us, as there will be many more plug-in hybrids (some with fairly decent EV range) and all-new all-electric models. It should not take long before plug-in sales will take between 10 and 20 % of BMW / Mini total result. +++ 

+++ MITSUBISHI hopes to increase its operating profit in its main market of Southeast Asia to a record ¥100 billion per year after fiscal 2025, chief executive officer and representative executive officer Takao Kato said in an interview. Mitsubishi is also mainly in charge of the Southeast Asian market in joint venture with Renault and Nissan. Next January, it will start production of a plug-in hybrid vehicle in Thailand and will also consider production in Myanmar. In fiscal 2019, Mitsubishi’s operations in Southeast Asia had an operating profit of about ¥64 billion. In Japan, the United States and Europe, however, sales were sluggish, leaving the company with its first net loss in 3 years. “The omnidirectional expansion strategy was unreasonable”, Kato said. The company will reduce fixed costs by 20 % over the next 2 years. In Japan, the company has decided to close a plant in Gifu Prefecture that produces the SUV model Pajero. Regarding 2 other plants that produce finished vehicles, “production line restructuring is possible”, he said. +++ 

+++ Hyundai and auto supplier Aptiv have named their self-driving joint venture MOTIONAL , the companies said. Formed a year ago, the $4-billion venture is developing a fully automated system that it hopes to begin selling in 2022 to robotaxi companies and fleet operators, chief executive Karl Iagnemma said in an interview. “In a post-Covid world, driverless technology is more relevant and important than ever”, he said. “More Americans are interested in ride hailing now than before the pandemic”. Boston-based Motional, which expects to have more than 1.000 employees by year-end, has locations in Pittsburgh, Las Vegas, Santa Monica, Singapore and now Seoul. Its chief competitors include Waymo (the Alphabet affiliate), Cruise (the San Francisco startup that’s majority-owned by General Motors) and Pittsburgh-based Argo AI (which is jointly controlled by Ford and Volkswagen). Waymo’s self-driving technology was developed in-house at Google, and the company has attracted funding from Canadian auto supplier Magna International and dealer AutoNation. It is testing its system in robotaxis and commercial vehicles, with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and United Parcel Service, among others. Cruise, whose shareholders include Honda and the SoftBank Group, has been testing both ride and delivery services, and eventually will deploy an electric shuttle jointly developed by GM and Honda. Argo has been testing its system in Ford vehicles at several U.S. locations, with plans to expand to Europe with Volkswagen. Iagnemma said those 3 self-driving ventures and Motional may have the best changes of survival. “Unless you check all 3 boxes” (software, capital and a strategic partnership with a vehicle manufacturer) “your chances of succeeding at scale are slim”, he said. “If you don’t have resources to get to scale, ultimately you’ll end up with a novelty”. +++ 

+++ Chinese electric car startup NIO saw its first ever positive cash flow from operations in the second quarter this year since its establishment in 2014, said its founder and CEO William Li. According to the company’s financial statements, its gross margin was 8.4 % in the quarter and the gross profit stood at $44.3 million. In the same period last year, Nio recorded a loss of $72.5 million. Li said Nio also witnessed a record-high vehicle margin of 9.7 % and its lowest-ever operating losses in the quarter, which were $164.2 million. The company’s total revenues were $526.4 million in the quarter, representing a 146.5 % surge from the same period last year. Nio delivered a record-high 10.331 vehicles in the second quarter; up 191 % from the same period last year. The company expects to sell 11.000 to 11.500 vehicles in the third quarter, which will be an increase of 6.5 % to 11.3 % from the second quarter. “The current constraints on production will be lifted in the near future and we are confident that our production capacity can meet the accelerated demand for our models”, Li said. Nio expects revenues in the third quarter to reach $572.9 million to $596.2 million, representing an increase of approximately 8.8 % to 13.3 % from the second quarter of 2020. Feng Wei, Nio’s chief financial officer, said the vehicle margin in the second quarter “significantly” exceeded its target of over 5 %, which was attributed to the increasing scale, higher average revenue per vehicle, reduced material costs and improved manufacturing efficiency. “We have demonstrated our capabilities to generate positive cash flow from operations”, Feng said. “We will continue to enhance our efficiencies across the company in the rest of 2020 and beyond”. +++ 

+++ NISSAN achieved a sales recovery and saw a year-on-year increase for 4 consecutive months in the world’s largest auto market despite Covid-19. In July, it sold 120.945 units in China; up 11.6 % year-on-year, setting the best sales record of that month. In the first 7 months of 2020, Nissan sold 717.287 vehicles in China. Shohei Yamazaki, senior vice-president of Nissan and chairman of the management committee of Nissan China, said: “As Covid-19 is spreading worldwide, there is still much uncertainty in auto market in the second half of the year, but Nissan remains confident in China”. Dongfeng Motor, Nissan’s joint venture partner, has a system of coordinated operations, which offered resilience to deal with risks during the pandemic and laid a solid foundation for the sales recovery, he said. Nissan will continue to enhance its cooperation with dealers and partners to provide products and technologies that meet the demands of Chinese customers, he added. In May, the carmaker released its new development plan saying that China is 1 of its 3 core markets and Nissan was tasked with growing its share in that market.`The carmaker plans to launch 7 pure electric vehicles in China by 2023. The sales of electric vehicles are expected to account for 23 % of Nissan’s total in China. Nissan China will also increase the proportion of vehicles featuring an intelligent connected system from 75 % to 90 % by 2023. Last month, Nissan unveiled its first all-electric crossover Ariya after it released the new development plan. The model is expected to hit Chinese market in 2021. +++ 

+++ ROLLS-ROYCE has detailed the extensive chassis developments for its next-generation Ghost luxury saloon, including the use of 4-wheeldrive and 4-wheelsteering. The second generation Ghost (set to be unveiled in the coming weeks) will follow the latest Phantom in featuring a system that steers the rear wheels as well as the fronts. It will depart from its bigger brother, however, by shunning rear-wheeldrive for 4 driven wheels. Rolls-Royce has also detailed a new suspension technology making its debut on the Ghost. Called the Planar system, it features what the firm describes as a “world-first technology” in the form of an upper wishbone damper unit mounted above the front suspension assembly for “an even more stable and effortless ride”. The system has taken 3 years to develop. There’s also the Flagbearer system, which uses cameras to read the road ahead and prepare the suspension, and Satellite Aided Transmission, which uses GPS data to preselect the optimum gear for a corner. The new Ghost switches to the latest version of the Rolls-Royce aluminimum platform used by the Phantom and Cullinan, and company boss Torsten Müller-Otvös noted the only components carried over from the successful original were the Spirit of Ecstasy figurehead and umbrellas. That aluminium spaceframe is said to “accommodate significant advances in Rolls-Royce’s hallmark magic carpet ride and dynamic abilities”. New Ghost engineering lead Jonathan Simms elaborated: “Ghost clients told us that it’s the car in their collection that they’re drawn to the most. They love its uncomplicated versatility. It’s not trying to be a sports car, it’s not trying to be a grand statement; it’s simply exceptional and exceptionally simple. When it came to creating a new Ghost, one that outshines its incredibly capable predecessor, the engineering team had to start from scratch. We pushed our architecture even further and created a car even more dynamic, even more luxurious and, most of all, even more effortlessly usable”. Müller-Otvös says that the new Ghost luxury saloon, set to be revealed later this year, will be “the purest expression of Rolls-Royce yet” with a ‘pure’ design to reflect a new trend towards “Post Opulence”. The luxury car firm is currently putting the finishing touches to the second-generation version of the Bentley Flying Spur rival, and Müller-Otvös has attempted to smooth the path to the launch of the crucial machine in an open letter issued to prospective clients that tacitly addresses the challenge of launching an ultra-luxury car given the  ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The firm has also release the first official outline sketch teaser of the car. In the letter Müller-Otvös notes that since it was launched in 2009 the original Ghost has become the most successful model in Rolls-Royce’s long history, which he attributed to it being a car that owners could enjoy driving or being driven in. He added: “They also appreciated the car’s pared-back simplicity, or as they put it, ‘a slightly smaller, less ostentatious means to own a Rolls-Royce. Going further, our clients expressed an ardent desire for even more minimalism in design”. Müller-Otvös said the firm’s research showed that trend reflects a wider movement among luxury customers towards what Rolls has termed ‘Post Opulence’; a move “towards luxury objects that celebrate reduction and restraint”. While noting that Rolls-Royce models will always “inspire greatness and present a sense of theatre and magic”, Müller-Otvös said the new Ghost, which has taken 5 years to develop, will reflect that movement towards reduction. “Ghost is the purest expression of Rolls-Royce yet”, wrote Müller-Otvös. “It distils the pillars of our brand into a beautiful, minimalist, yet highly complex product that is perfectly in harmony with our Ghost clients’ needs and, I believe, perfectly in tune with the times in which we are all living”. The Ghost will be launched with a digital event later this year, which Müller-Otvös wrote would be preceded by a series of 4 animations giving an insight into “what we believe is the most sublime expression of Rolls-Royce yet”. +++ 

+++ A post-Brexit trade agreement between Britain and Japan will come into force in 2026 according to reports. Japan is pushing for the current TARIFFS too be lifted earlier and the Japanese foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi is currently negotiating with British trade minister Liz Truss about the deal. In a statement Truss said that they “have reached consensus on the major elements of a deal”, and that a principle deal will be agreed by the end of the month. The deal covers all kind of trade though, and vehicle and agricultural product tariffs have so par proven to be a hurdle in the negotiations. “Japan agreed to phasing auto tariffs on Japanese vehicles out in 2026 in line with the EU trade deal, despite asking to hasten the timing”. Britain’s proposed deal is based on the 2019 EU-Japan agreement and it is hoped that the deal will be fully finalised by the end of the year, upon the expiration of Britain’s transition agreement with the EU. +++ 

+++ TESLA does a lot of things better than any other electric vehicle manufacturer, however, initial quality clearly isn’t one of them. I recently rented a new Model Y to conduct a highway range test and discovered 4 flaws; any one of which should have prevented the vehicle from being delivered to a customer. Tesla’s been extremely busy building and delivering Model Ys since reopening its Fremont factory in May. But are they giving them thorough quality control inspections before shipping them to customers? Based on the numerous complaints, videos, and reports we’ve seen, it really doesn’t appear so. The first issue was the rear left door’s upper covering was torn. The owner noticed it during the delivery process and reported it to Tesla. As of today, it still hasn’t been fixed, nearly 6 weeks after delivery. This could have easily been spotted and flagged by a quality control specialist during the final inspection. However, to be fair, it’s possible that it happened after the vehicle left the factory, sometime during transport. The second issue was an improperly secured speaker. When I closed the front passenger’s side door, the speaker that is located on the top front corner of the door just fell off. It was just dangling by the wires and I had to resecure it. It snapped back into place fairly easily, but I wasn’t sure if it just wasn’t attached properly at the factory or if it’s defective and will fall off again in the future. It did seem to pop into place securely, so I’m inclined to believe the factory just didn’t attach it properly during assembly. The third issue I came across was probably the most alarming. There was a wire hanging out of the front right wheel well and dragging on the ground. This issue has been reported by many Model Y owners, so it wasn’t an issue unique to the Model Y we had. Speculation is that the wire meant to power the pedestrian alert speaker, but for some reason, Tesla didn’t install the speakers on many Model Ys (supply issue?). Therefore, the wire just dangles down and finds its way out into the wheel well area. A simple zip tie or some tape would have prevented this from happening. The fourth and final issue we noticed was the rear hatch wasn’t aligned properly. This caused it to hit the taillight lens as the hatch lowers and bounce back and forth a bit before latching closed. The plastic lens of the taillight was already cracked and the paint on the hatch was already worn completely off, exposing the metal. I imagine this shouldn’t be too difficult a fix as the hatch just needs to be slightly adjusted, but it’s hard to believe anyone at Tesla checked this before sending it out for delivery because it was so obviously misaligned. Does Tesla even check the cars? It’s hard to imagine that so many issues would get past a QC team if there is indeed one. However, that doesn’t seem to deter most Tesla customers. Even though Tesla is the lowest-rated manufacturer in JD Power’s initial quality, they have the highest customer satisfaction rating according to Consumer Reports. So are these problems really “problems” for the automaker if their customers accept them? +++

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