Easing concerns about (early) Rivian manufacturing quality?

yizzung

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I was recently pretty surprised to hear about how poorly Tesla has done on the JD Powers dependability surveys. This is old-ish news but here's an article: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/18/tes...al-debut-on-jd-power-dependability-study.html

I know there are probably some caveats here, e.g. that Tesla doesn't voluntarily participate, but regardless these results are no bueno. Interestingly, Tesla gets the most dings for really basic stuff: "Tesla owners reported more problems with their exterior and interior than with other systems like propulsion, battery or infotainment and navigation."

That basically says to me that Tesla engineers focus on autonomous driving, battery life, UI, etc. possibly at the expense of making doors that don't rattle. This gives me pause. While it's neat for a car to parallel park itself, I actually know how to parallel park. (My parents always owned GM cars back in the 1980s and those things literally fell apart, starting from the inside out. I really don't want to go back to that world...)

So, I'm curious: anyone else worry a little about how much Rivians are going to squeak and rattle? About whether the doors will be properly aligned and the door handles will stay attached? This seems like very basic car stuff but it also seems like the basic car stuff is not much of a priority for Tesla. Will it be a priority for Rivian? Or is it just to be expected that all new car companies have these kind of quality issues in the early days?
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sheydon

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I haven't been to a Tesla factory, so I'm basing this on everything I've read and videos I've seen...

Seems to me one possible explanation for the poor build quality coming out of Tesla is the fact that they didn't give the manufacturing processes the correct focus it needs - as part of the design process. High quality autos generally come from companies that are very focused on engineering the vehicle in a way that makes it easy to get quality right on the assembly line. Additionally, the culture at Tesla seems to me (again from the outside) to be on where problems are bad things - not good. If the line workers feel that way - then they aren't going to want to ask for help when they encounter a quality problem - it will just be passed on. Never mind getting to the level of stopping the entire line when one person has a problem that isn't easily addressed.

Rivian, I believe is adopting a more Toyota-oriented approach to designing quality into the production process (when designing the vehicle) and having a production system that is designed to make problems visible. This quote from the About Rivian page gets at that thought - though not directly:
<I>"We surround problems with different perspectives, united by our values and determination."</I>

So, I'm comfortable they're attempting to setup a system that is VERY focused on quality. Achieving that is more challenging - especially as a startup for 3 new vehicles - but I believe they're focused on it.
 

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I don't have a Tesla, but the people I've talked to who had early Teslas weren't bothered too much by repairs because the company had great customer service and offered mobile repairs. It seems Rivian noticed that as well and are following suit.
 

Gshenderson

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Given the number of and duration that Rivian has had test mules out in the wild, I feel confident that quality is a big deal for them. Different than Tesla who seem to value speed to delivery over quality.

That being said, I can’t bash on Tesla too much. I got mine in 2015 and couldn’t be more pleased with the car and service. My most recent service was an airbag recall and replacing the drivers side door handle. I was stressed about the cost of the door handle repair based on things I’d read online. Mobile Service tech came to me, did the repairs in about 90 minutes and billed me $300. Essentially just labor. The car is 6 years old with 60k miles, so well out of warrantee, but they only charged me labor for the door handle even though they replaced it. Class move on their part. 👍 👏

I realize others who have taken deliveries more recently have had a different experience with service. The cars need more service due to quality problems introduced when they went into serious mass production mode, which has resulted in frustrations with service being backed up and also problematic. I’ve seldom needed service, so really haven’t had to endure the nightmares that others describe online.

I will say that it’s been over a year since they notified me of the MMC chip recall, and to date I’m still not scheduled for a replacement. But I’ve not had any problems with the car other than sometimes it takes 30 seconds or so to boot up if it has sat for a couple of days, so it’s not a huge problem. Service tech said if I start having problems, they will bump my priority.
 
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yizzung

yizzung

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All good input. I hope it plays out like this. I'm really pulling for Rivian.
 

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I believe that Rivian will manufacture high quality vehicles all be it slowly.

I wonder what the status is of the certification for the crash tests?
 

hola29

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I literally walked up to a custom wrapped brand new model Y (with 21” tires btw) and the door, front/rear quarter panels were completely out of line. I could not believe it and I would not have accepted that car.
 

dleewla

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I was recently pretty surprised to hear about how poorly Tesla has done on the JD Powers dependability surveys. This is old-ish news but here's an article: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/18/tes...al-debut-on-jd-power-dependability-study.html

I know there are probably some caveats here, e.g. that Tesla doesn't voluntarily participate, but regardless these results are no bueno. Interestingly, Tesla gets the most dings for really basic stuff: "Tesla owners reported more problems with their exterior and interior than with other systems like propulsion, battery or infotainment and navigation."

That basically says to me that Tesla engineers focus on autonomous driving, battery life, UI, etc. possibly at the expense of making doors that don't rattle. This gives me pause. While it's neat for a car to parallel park itself, I actually know how to parallel park. (My parents always owned GM cars back in the 1980s and those things literally fell apart, starting from the inside out. I really don't want to go back to that world...)

So, I'm curious: anyone else worry a little about how much Rivians are going to squeak and rattle? About whether the doors will be properly aligned and the door handles will stay attached? This seems like very basic car stuff but it also seems like the basic car stuff is not much of a priority for Tesla. Will it be a priority for Rivian? Or is it just to be expected that all new car companies have these kind of quality issues in the early days?
Like most people, I do hope Rivian focuses on quality production processes over cost savings and speed. From most of the videos and pictures I've seen of the mules, there's definitely issues with fit and finish of the exterior. Which means if you can see it in the picture from a distance its pretty noticeable. Not sure about the interior since there's not many high quality pictures or videos. Hopefully they figure it out and improve things before deliveries start. That all being said, I think we need to expect quality issues no matter how much they engineer this. The early adopters are going to need to be realistic about buying these vehicles and expect issues. There are pros and cons of being the first. You get the benefit of having it before everyone else, but you have to be a test bed to improve quality, design and engineering. Comes with the territory.
 
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yizzung

yizzung

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Yeah, I think this is a realistic view. Hell, my 2017 Audi has had a problem with the gas tank seal that they have never been able to diagnose nor repair. And they have been making cars for a minute or two…

Per the original post, I am wondering if we should expect these new EV companies to focus so much on batteries and whatnot that the everyday annoyances (glove box won’t stay closed) start to pile up.

Given the way that some of us plan to abuse these things, I could see these types of problems really intensify, so I’m hoping they are prioritizing the build quality. Time will tell.
 

Diddy123

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Per the original post, I am wondering if we should expect these new EV companies to focus so much on batteries and whatnot that the everyday annoyances (glove box won’t stay closed) start to pile up.
Rivian won’t even confirm/deny if a glove box even exists in their vehicles. It’s been two weeks since RJ promised better communication and more frequent production updates… I’ll start worrying about production quality when I actually believe they’re close to producing vehicles.
 

AdamsFan1983

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Yeah, I think this is a realistic view. Hell, my 2017 Audi has had a problem with the gas tank seal that they have never been able to diagnose nor repair. And they have been making cars for a minute or two…

Per the original post, I am wondering if we should expect these new EV companies to focus so much on batteries and whatnot that the everyday annoyances (glove box won’t stay closed) start to pile up.

Given the way that some of us plan to abuse these things, I could see these types of problems really intensify, so I’m hoping they are prioritizing the build quality. Time will tell.
I can't imagine a scenario in which a company like Rivian that has built its ethos around customer experience, and packaging to let quality slip in a material way. Like anyone else, I'm sure there will be some gripes here and there, but I highly doubt they'll be pulling these stunts:

https://www.thedrive.com/tech/36274...bled-together-with-home-depot-grade-fake-wood
 

TessP100D

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Given the number of and duration that Rivian has had test mules out in the wild, I feel confident that quality is a big deal for them. Different than Tesla who seem to value speed to delivery over quality.

That being said, I can’t bash on Tesla too much. I got mine in 2015 and couldn’t be more pleased with the car and service. My most recent service was an airbag recall and replacing the drivers side door handle. I was stressed about the cost of the door handle repair based on things I’d read online. Mobile Service tech came to me, did the repairs in about 90 minutes and billed me $300. Essentially just labor. The car is 6 years old with 60k miles, so well out of warrantee, but they only charged me labor for the door handle even though they replaced it. Class move on their part. 👍 👏

I realize others who have taken deliveries more recently have had a different experience with service. The cars need more service due to quality problems introduced when they went into serious mass production mode, which has resulted in frustrations with service being backed up and also problematic. I’ve seldom needed service, so really haven’t had to endure the nightmares that others describe online.

I will say that it’s been over a year since they notified me of the MMC chip recall, and to date I’m still not scheduled for a replacement. But I’ve not had any problems with the car other than sometimes it takes 30 seconds or so to boot up if it has sat for a couple of days, so it’s not a huge problem. Service tech said if I start having problems, they will bump my priority.
I got my EMCU chip replaced 3-4 months ago.
 

TessP100D

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Rivian won’t even confirm/deny if a glove box even exists in their vehicles. It’s been two weeks since RJ promised better communication and more frequent production updates… I’ll start worrying about production quality when I actually believe they’re close to producing vehicles.
exactly
 

CommodoreAmiga

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Rivian won’t even confirm/deny if a glove box even exists in their vehicles. It’s been two weeks since RJ promised better communication and more frequent production updates… I’ll start worrying about production quality when I actually believe they’re close to producing vehicles.
Pretty sure it's been confirmed NO on the glove box.
 
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