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Tesla sues German supplier over delays in designing the Model X’s Falcon Wing doors


The Model X suffered several delays during its development. Tesla first unveiled the car in 2012 and planned to start deliveries in early 2014, but after several issues, low volume production only started in September 2015 and we are seeing a slow ramp up in the past few weeks with more deliveries.

The difficulty with producing and/or designing the second row seat and the Falcon Wing doors were the recurring main suspects for the cause of the delays, and now we learn that Tesla is suing a German supplier over delays in designing the Model X’s Falcon Wing doors.

The WSJ has the details of the lawsuit:

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, aims to stop the supplier, Hoerbiger Automotive Comfort Systems LLC, from demanding more payment from Tesla after the electric-vehicle maker cut ties with the supplier in May 2015. Tesla is asking the court to state that it didn’t breach any contracts and to pay damages and attorney fees.

In the lawsuit, Tesla claims it contracted and paid Hoerbiger to develop the Falcon Wing doors for the Model X, but between February 2014 and May 2015, the German auto part supplier couldn’t produce a prototype that passed Tesla’s engineering standards because it “leaked oil and sagged or produced excessive heat”.

Tesla’s ‘Falcon Wing’ doors are similar to the more common gull-wing doors, but they uses a two-hinged system instead of one-hinged like the gull-wings.

A Tesla spokeswoman shared the following statement about the lawsuit:

“We were forced to file this lawsuit after Hoerbiger decided to ignore their contracts with us and instead demanded a large sum of money to which they are not entitled. We will vigorously prosecute this case.”

After cutting ties with Hoerbiger in May last year, Tesla designed and built an electromechanical door system and hired a new supplier at a premium to rush the production of the system. The company says it also incurred “millions of dollars in damages, including, but not limited to costs of re-tooling the entire vehicle in order to support a different engineering solution.”

A few months later, Tesla was presenting the production version of the Model X and delivered the first few cars.


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  1. Anner J. Bonilla - 7 years ago

    So it seems the delay was largely in part to the supplier promising something and not delivering. Wonder how Tesla put up with them for so long with any updates or realizing they where not going to be able to deliver.

  2. Rebel44 - 7 years ago

    Further reason, not to depend on (useless) suppliers and have as much as possible of design and manufacture in-house.

  3. Rebel44 (@Rebel44CZ) - 7 years ago

    Further reason, to have as much as possible of both design and manufacturing, in-house, instead of depending on (often incompetent – see previous Tesla issues with transmission for Roadster) suppliers.

    • Michael Myers - 7 years ago

      Last I read, Tesla only produces 20% of what goes into their cars. Everything else is outsourced. I think the car industry as a whole rolls that way, with Tesla being on the high side of in house manufacturing.

  4. Tom Fahey - 7 years ago

    I wonder if that’ll be the last time Tesla uses a -German- automobile part supplier…

  5. letsverify - 7 years ago

    Hey Fred, thanks for reporting, but there is a small flaw here iirc: the supplier is Switzerland based, so it should read “Swiss” instead of “German” supplier. Rest seems to be correct, the local newspaper here reports about it as well.


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