Tesla Takes German Supplier To Court Over Faulty Falcon Doors
Electric car maker is also contesting Hoerbiger’s demands for compensationby Kirby, on
Tesla is taking one of its former suppliers to court on allegations that it misrepresented its ability to design the falcon doors on the Model X SUV, forcing the electric car maker to make an 11th hour change in suppliers. According to the lawsuit that was filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, the prototype doors that German parts supplier Hoerbiger were all defective to the point that they either leaked oil or produced excessive heat. The company’s failure to provide a working prototype from February 2014 to May 2015 that met Tesla’s engineering standards compelled the automaker to effectively cut ties with the supplier.
Tesla’s lawsuit is also challenging demands by Hoerbiger to be paid $3 million for services rendered. But, the automaker is challenging that it doesn’t owe the German parts supplier anything since the latter didn’t hold up to its end of the agreement. Instead, Tesla is asking the court to junk Hoerbiger’s claims and pay for damages and attorney fees that the automaker would incur with the lawsuit.
Since the falcon wing doors are one of the highlight pieces of the Model X, the problems Tesla had with its supplier forced the company to delay the launch of the electric SUV several times. Production was supposed to start in late 2013 but that has already been moved a couple of times, most recently in the latter part of 2015.
Fortunately for Tesla, production of the Model X has already begun and, according to the company, the daily production rate in the last week of the year was 238 Model X vehicles per week.”
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Why it matters
This is a pretty serious lawsuit considering the details that Tesla bared on why it says it’s “vigorously pursuing” to prosecute this case. It also sheds some light on why the Model X was delayed for so long. The good news is that production of the electric SUV has already begun so all’s well that ends well, right?
Well, not exactly. See, the details of the legal battle between Tesla and Hoerbieger hinges on the latter saying that Tesla owes it money. But, because Tesla says that the parts supplier failed to meet the terms of their agreement, the automaker believes that it shouldn’t pay for anything other than what it has already spent.
The truth is, legal cases like this are always tricky to have an opinion on because I don’t know the facts of what happened. At least I know Tesla’s side, but Hoerbiger has yet to comment on the automaker’s lawsuit so it’s important to hear the side of the other party before coming to a conclusion. What I do know is that Tesla will pursue this case to the full extent because it believes that it was the aggrieved party and Hoerbiger has no right to demand more money from the company.
If you look at it from that point of view, Tesla has a valid case. But, I’m withholding judgment until I hear Hoerbiger’s comments about the lawsuit. The company deserves to be heard and it’s our responsibility to listen to what it has to say. Hopefully, both sides can come to an agreement and move forward. Nobody really wins with lawsuits that play out in the public arena so I hope both Tesla and Hoerbiger understand that.
Read our full review on Tesla Model X here.