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The latest knock against Tesla’s production credentials comes from Munro & Associates, a small Detroit-area firm that disassembles new cars and analyzes them down to the nuts and bolts. Founder Sandy Munro has picked apart a Model 3 sedan and praises its battery pack and electronics but pans much of the rest of the vehicle as costly, heavy and poorly built.
For Tesla, developing the ability to mass-manufacture cars is key to its viability. Musk, who predicted programmable robots would give his electric-car maker a leg up over the rest of the auto industry, has instead confronted repeated delays and steep losses. If Munro is right, Musk may have a more lasting problem on his hands: His first car for the masses could be weightier and more expensive to build than competing models that are on the way.
“Mechanically, I don’t have much good to say,” Munro said last week on “Autoline After Hours,” a Metro Detroit local television show. “If it would have come out even decent, they’d have mopped the floor with everybody. But they didn’t.”
A Tesla spokeswoman said the company has been refining its Model 3 manufacturing process since starting production last year and that the standard deviation of all gaps and offsets across the car has improved on average by almost 40 percent, with particular gap improvements visible in the area of the trunk, rear lamps and rear quarter panel.
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