Tesla owners across America are taking to social media to report the end of Tesla's promised service loaner vehicle program. For those new to Tesla, Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO promised owners in 2013 on Tesla's official forum, "If your car does need service, then it should be swapped with a car that is ideally better in some or many ways. To this end, Tesla is building a fleet of top of the line Model S loaners. These will not be our basic model – they will be state of the art with all the best features and options.” Musk later reiterated that promise in December of 2018, saying to a Twitter user who had a Tesla in for service, "You should def have a loaner. Will take care of it."
Owners of Tesla vehicles are now reporting widely that the local service center they use has discontinued the loaner program, and is instead substituting Uber vehicle vouchers, which are typically internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. In the past, Tesla has used rental car companies to provide ICE-powered vehicles to Tesla owners who had a vehicle in for service.
In addition to moving away from a loaner program without making any formal announcement, Tesla-advocacy publication, Elektrek, says that Musk seemed to be caught off guard by the move. How could an executive that is prone to being a notorious micromanager not know that his company has changed a meaningful customer service policy?
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Another reported change relates to washing owners' vehicles when they are in for service. Free car washes have become ubiquitous in the vehicle service industry and even affordable brands's dealers like Subaru offer this. Most have a simple small car wash installed on their property. When we visited Tesla's Dedham showroom in March, a single Tesla employee was washing cars in for service using a pressure washer.
Torque News has long covered this topic. It seems that the issue of loaner cars is now coming to a head and will soon be changed one way, or another. If you have a Tesla vehicle, tell us if you received a loaner car at any point during a service visit.
In addition to covering green vehicle topics, John Goreham covers safety, technology, and new vehicle news at Torque News. You can follow John on Twitter at @johngoreham.