Tesla Sues German Parts Maker Over `Sagging' Door on Model X

  • Says Hoerbiger automotive demanded payment for faulty door
  • Tesla alleges it has spent $3 million on `falcon wing' design

Tesla Motors Inc. sued a German parts maker for allegedly bungling the design of “falcon wing’’ doors for its Model X, the latest setback for the long-anticipated SUV.

The car maker said it seeks to avoid “a series of unreasonable demands” by Hoerbiger Automotive Comfort Systems LLC, including payment for breach of contract. Tesla already has paid Hoerbiger about $3 million for the doors that “sagged” and were “prone to overheating,” according to the complaint filed in federal court in San Jose, California.

After the company failed to produce a prototype in 2014 and 2015 that was up to Tesla’s standards, the two cut ties in May. Tesla’s decision to start redesigning the door prompted Hoerbiger’s demands that ultimately led to Tuesday’s lawsuit, the company said.

“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 spokeswoman said in an e-mail. “We will vigorously prosecute this case.”

Officials at Hoerbiger’s facility in Auburn, Alabama, didn’t immediately respond after regular business hours to phone calls seeking comment on the complaint. Company representatives in Schongau, Germany, weren’t available for comment.

Release of the Model X has been delayed at least three times in the last two years, fueling a drop in Tesla shares. The stock fell 2.9 percent Wednesday, closing at $198.70, its lowest value in more than 10 months.

This case is Tesla Motors Inc. v. Hoerbiger Automotive Comfort Systems LLC, 5:16-cv-00288, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

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