Bumpers are reported to be falling off Tesla Model 3s after heavy rain.
That’s according to two owners in the USA, who say their all-electric vehicles’ rear bumpers were torn off after driving through standing water.
The first owner, Rithesh Nair, tweeted a picture of his new Model 3 missing its rear bumper. He’d owned the vehicle for just half an hour when he ran into standing water on the road, tearing the plastic cover from the car’s rear.
Nair’s caption read: “1/2 hr, bringing Model 3 home, run into heavy rain on the streets and bumper comes off.” He tagged both the Tesla brand and its chief executive, Elon Musk, in the tweet.
Minutes later, a second owner had replied to Nair’s tweet with a photograph of his own Tesla, also missing its bumper. The user, known simply as ‘Ben’ on the social media site, commented: “Hey, that looks like mine!”. He then clarified what had happened, tweeting: “I drove through a large amount of standing water in heavy rain.”
Famously Twitter-friendly Musk hasn’t responded to the tweets yet, but Tesla released a statement, saying: “We’re setting an extremely high bar for Model 3, and what happened in this situation is not how we build our cars.
“We’re investigating the issue to understand what caused it, and we are contacting our customers to resolve this and ensure they are satisfied.”
Twitter and social media sites are rife with speculation on what could have caused the problem. Many believe that a piece of bumper liner was missing or had fallen off, allowing water to collect in the plastic trim, eventually pulling it off.
It’s not the first issue the firm has had with build quality, though. Munro & Associates, a benchmarking company that tears down products to examine manufacturing quality, notoriously panned the build quality of an early Model 3. Sandy Munro, the firm’s chief executive, said the car had ‘flaws that we would see on a Kia in the ’90s or something’.