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2 On Your Side: Some Owners Say Tesla Model X Needs Too Many Repairs For Six-Figure Price

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — It's possibly the most hyped new car to hit Southern California freeways, an SUV that is seemingly too high-tech and expensive to have squeaky windows.

James Purvis didn't expect to have such problems with his new Tesla Model X, which typically costs around $100,000, and reached out to 2 On Your Side's Kristine Lazar for help.

After purchasing the car in October, Purvis says he's taken his Model X to the shop four times for everything from squeaky windows to doors that close without warning.

"I think this door has been in the shop three separate times for what it's done," said Purvis. "At one point, I had had the car for a total of five days, and they had had it like 30."

Purvis says the car once turned on by itself in his Huntington Beach garage. Another time, one of the falcon doors wouldn't shut. So he had his Model X towed to the shop with the door wide open.

"There's no key anywhere near it, and the door won't even shut," he said.

His service paperwork shows the door was fixed Nov. 9, but it went back in two weeks later for repairs when a large crack appeared in the window of the same door.

"I honestly don't think my car went through any quality-assurance testing when it got rolled out," Purvis said. "There was just too many problems."

Tesla owner Etti Hardar also reached out to 2 On Your Side about problems she says she had with her Model X.

Hadar, who also got the car in October, says three days after her Model X was delivered, the software update wouldn't load. Then one of the falcon doors started making a loud noise while she was driving.

When she took it into Tesla service in Van Nuys, it had only 229 miles on it.

"I am baffled. I am disappointed. I just want a car that will work properly," Hadar said. "Maybe my expectations were too high."

Hadar says there was a gap when she closed one of the falcon doors and paint was chipped on the spoiler. She says she had problems with hands-free calling and the autopilot feature.

Over the next 40 days, Hadar says, her car was in service 22 of them. After the third time in, despite having a loaner Model X, Hadar asked Tesla to take the car back and refund her money.

"Instead of the car working for me and servicing me, I have been servicing the car," she said.

In a 2016 review, Consumer Reports called the Model X "fast and flawed", and last fall named it one of the least reliable cars on the road.

Karl Brauer, executive publisher at Irvine-based Kelley Blue Book, says buyers of the Model X may have missed warnings from the face of Tesla himself.

"Elon Musk admitted at some point after the launch that he probably made the Model X more complex or challenging than he needed to."

In the beginning, Brauer says, Tesla customers were primarily tech fans who were understanding of the glitches. But the Model X attracted a new fan base altogether.

"If you pay a lot of money, more than six figures, you expect it to be very well crafted, and the cars often don't have a very well crafted look to them," said Brauer. "If you're living in the suburbs and you want to use the Model X to transport your kids, and it's breaking down on you or you're having challenges with it, that's a whole different circumstance."

Tesla denied a 2 On Your Side request for an on-camera interview. But the automaker said the percentage of new vehicles going for repairs has dropped significantly, and that from 2015 to 2016, they saw a 92 percent reduction in reliability concerns with the Model X.

Despite poor reviews of the Model X, customer satisfaction with the luxury brand is extremely high. That same Consumer Reports survey ranked Tesla as the No. 1 brand in owner satisfaction at 90 percent, just above Porsche.

Purvis, however, doesn't share that confidence.

"It's unsafe. I don't trust it. It's definitely not worth the money that I paid," he said. "I wouldn't want anyone to go through what we've gone through."

Purvis and Hadar have both asked Tesla to take back the car. Tesla offered to do so in Hadar's case, but they want her to cover the cost of tax and licensing, which is close to $10,000. Purvis is awaiting a response from Tesla.

Purvis has hired a Lemon Law attorney and plans to sue Tesla.


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