Tesla’s Disappointing Service For Its Current Customers Means Trouble For Model 3
Tesla's U.S. owners are reporting wait times of three to four weeks for simple repairs and warranty coverage in the U.S. With a tiny fleet of roughly 130,000 total vehicles in circulation in the U.S., Tesla has failed to build and staff adequate service departments through its direct-service plan. As anyone who tracks Tesla knows, the company has opted out of using dealerships and instead sells and services its vehicles directly. Although the company is planning to sell 500,000 vehicles each year starting in either 2017 or 2018, depending upon the length of delays in its new Model 3, Tesla Motors has not yet laid the groundwork to properly service its present fleet.
- Torque News predicted this dilema in 2013
In other countries, it is worse. Elektrek.com reports that Tesla owners in Denmark are furious that they must wait up to 3 months for service. Elektrek reports that the company is reluctant to provide more than the two service centers it build because sales have “disappeared.”
Carbuzz reports that Tesla has 61 Tesla service centers and ten more are on the way. According to Carbuzz only 24 states have any Tesla service centers, which means that 26 U.S. states don’t have a single place to bring a Tesla for service.
Automotive News details customers who have waited two weeks for a door handle repair and another customer that waited more than five weeks for a windshield repair. That owner tried a local glass repair company, but the repair failed and now the customer is waiting for parts from Tesla to arrive for the job to be completed. These reports are not old news. Today, on the Facebook Tesla clubs owners were reporting waits of three to four weeks for simple things like issues related to tire pressure sensors.
Tesla’s non-warranty maintenance costs are among the highest in all of the automotive world. For example, its four-year pre-paid service plan is priced at $2,100. All BMW’s include service for four years, including the i3 electric vehicle and all its ICE-powered vehicles. Jaguar includes five years of maintenance in its pricing. Toyota, the largest seller of green cars in America, includes two years of service on all of its vehicles. Torque News detailed Tesla's disadvantage in operating costs in our 2014 story "Myth Busted, EV's Cost More Than ICE Cars To Maintain." (More on page 2)
Tesla plans to launch the more affordable Model 3 in either 2017 or 2018. This new, high-volume model is expected by Tesla to reach sales of 500,000 units. Those numbers are higher than the top-selling cars and crossovers in the U.S. right now. How can a company that cannot service 130,000 cars with more than four years to prepare for the volume be expected to service more than triple that number in a year or so?