Tesla's Model X Falcon Door Development Issues Are Now Legal Issues

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It’s easy to forget that the Tesla Model X was intended to start deliveries back in early 2014. Now Tesla faces a legal battle after dropping one of its parts suppliers during development for issues with effectively engineering the “falcon” door system, in part delaying the launch of the electric SUV.

In the report from Automotive News, Tesla sued German parts supplier Hoerbiger on Tuesday for the company’s inability to engineer the unique and complex “falcon” passenger doors on the electric SUV. From the News:

Tesla’s lawsuit claims that Hoerbiger’s design prototypes were riddled with problems, including overheating and oil leaks. The automaker says in the lawsuit that the doors “sagged beyond Tesla’s specified tolerance levels” and “did not open with the speed or symmetry” that it requested.


This led to the automaker dropping the supplier in May of last year, months after the original announced deliver date for the earliest Model X orders, and seeking development elsewhere. The vehicle eventually launched in September of last year.


Tesla has brought the suit to the U.S. District Court of Northern California to prevent Hoerbiger from seeking more compensation following the $3 million the automaker has already paid out, and is asking the court to determine if they have breached the terms of the contract with the supplier. Tesla is also requesting that Hoerbiger pay claimed punitive damages for costs and fees, which Tesla claims is valued in the millions of dollars, associated with the supplier’s inability to produce the complex door system on schedule.

“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,” a Tesla spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “We will vigorously prosecute this case.”

Hoerbringer allegedly demanded to be involved with the Model X production through the model’s lifetime, as well as other “unreasonable demands” against Tesla.

It’s surprising to see Tesla stick to its guns on such a complex and “controversial” door system, but a gimmick isn’t just a gimmick if it brings in more sales. It will be interesting to see if the automaker managed to get all of the kinks in the door system worked out, or if this is just the first development of the Model X’s complicated falcon doors causing problems.


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