Mighty kind of you, Tesla.
Tesla has decided to replace a customer's Model Y after the steering wheel came off, but it's unwilling to accept any liability and states that replacing the car is an act of goodwill.
We first reported on this specific case about a week ago. Prerak Patel was driving his week-old Model Y on the freeway, and the steering wheel came off. "Was driving on highway and all [the sudden steering wheel fall off, was lucky enough there was no car behind, and I was able to pull on devider (sic)," Patel initially tweeted.
The car was towed away, and the steering wheel was fixed, after which Tesla charged $103.96 for the repair. Understandably, Patel was unhappy about this, and Tesla reversed the payment. Even so, Patel demanded that the car be taken back and demanded a refund.
Tesla eventually gave Patel two options. He could either keep the car with assurance or choose to have it replaced with a new one. Patel gave Twitter users the option to vote, but the answer is pretty obvious. Once a car's steering wheel comes off, it's pretty hard to trust it again. Tesla has given Patel a Model Y loaner until his car arrives.
Tesla sent a letter to Patel explaining the repurchasing procedure: "Although Tesla has determined that the vehicle contains no defect, non-conformity, or other warrantable condition or basis for Tesla's liability, as a gesture of goodwill to you as a valued Tesla customer, pursuant to this letter, Tesla agrees to purchase the vehicle from you," the letter stated.
We could hardly believe this response ourselves, so we've included a photograph to prove it's real.
This is not the first time a Tesla's steering wheel has come off. In 2020, a Model 3's steering wheel came off a month after the owner took delivery. Thankfully, in this incident, the driver was backing out of his driveway when it happened.
Tesla and the Teslarati claim that quality issues have been resolved over the last few years, but there's little evidence to back this up. The infamous yoke steering wheel is prone to premature wear, and new owners constantly upload footage of poor build quality to YouTube.
While these can be seen as subjective opinions, the research backs them up. In the 2020 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, Tesla came stone dead last with an average of 250 problems per 100 vehicles. By 2021, Tesla only managed to reduce the figure to 231 problems per 100 vehicles delivered. 2022 was more of the same.
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