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Solution for the service dilemma?

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by CurrentRide, Jul 15, 2015.

  1. CurrentRide

    CurrentRide Member

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    Tesla has done an admirable job providing repair and warranty service to a widely spread customer base despite having relatively few service centers. The Ranger service model was an excellent (albeit expensive) tool to reassure potential customers and help encourage adoption of the new product. However, it is clear that this approach will quickly become unwieldy when widespread adoption of the more mass market Model 3 becomes available.

    Tesla clearly wants to stay true to its internet sales model and avoid the franchise dealerships, but there is no way that the relatively few services centers and Ranger Service approach will be able to keep up with 500,000 Teslas on the road. In this situation, they could build more service centers, open themselves to having dealership franchises, or partner with local non-dealership automobile service centers. Clearly if this is not addressed BEFORE model 3's begin hitting the road in volume, Tesla will be setting themselves up for a world of hurt, potentially devastating customer good will and their own excellent reputation by being unable to meet the volume of service that would be needed.

    Would it be possible to work-out an exclusive "Tesla-certified" arrangement with a widely spread automobile service franchise like Firestone? There are Firestone service centers in almost all US cities. They could be supplied with the training, parts, and equipment necessary to perform most basic service needs, with arrangements to transport more complex problems to regional Tesla service centers. Loaner automobile issues would have to be worked out.
     
  2. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    Tesla has rapidly expanded its service centers over the past two years to keep up with the growth in Model S sales. There is no reason to think they won't be able to continue doing so.
     
  3. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    It's a valid concern though. Existing service centers in Tesla hotspots such as the Bay Area typically have 2+ week lead times for service appointments. Loaners are a constant problem.
     
  4. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    San Rafael just expanded almost tripled there square feet and are hiring more staff, so they are aware of the increased demand.
     
  5. santana338

    santana338 Member

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    The Boston (Watertown) service center is booked up too. I had an appointment for my second annual service on July 10th, but when they looked at my punch list they realized they couldn't do the work in a day and wouldn't have a loaner available. So the work was pushed back. I don't have a new date yet.
     
  6. CurrentRide

    CurrentRide Member

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    I don't know, there is already a quiet but increasing murmur of discontent among Tesla customers who have had less than optimal experiences with the service side. It seems as if some locations already are having a hard time keeping up with volume, which can lead to longer wait times, and shoddier quality. This is aside from the problem of rural customers.

    Unlike other new cars that are bought from dealerships, in which case a service center is always nearby, TM has built an Internet sales model. Most small town customers will limit their auto choices to those available at local dealerships. There may be relatively few rural MS owners (and the few that are out there have started complaining about a decline in Ranger services), but that will change when a $35k vehicle becomes available. Will TM be able to expand the service centers and Ranger program rapidly enough to keep up with a car that is selling on the order of 5000 per week? If this is their plan, they are likely to fall flat on their face.
     
  7. Uncle Paul

    Uncle Paul Member

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    Tesla is learning as they go. They have a unique sales/service model, and from my viewpoint they are doing a pretty good (but not perfect) job.

    They are data centric, and believe when they see that an area needs more facilities they will open them.

    The roll out of the Supercharger is another area where they have done more than anyone really expected them. These superchargers are popping up all over the place, and strategically located to provided continuous conduits of free electricity.

    I believe over a Billion miles have been driven by Tesla's all electric vehicles. A tremendous effort of planning, logistics and funding was required to get where they are now, and it seems that the intend to continue to develop these systems as additional Tesla's are purchased.

    I would expect that Tesla plans to develop it's service facilities, and place them where they will serve the most customers.
     
  8. Merrill

    Merrill Active Member

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    This problem is not specific to Tesla, most other manufactures have wait times for service in there busy months which are June thru September. I think that they will expand there service centers as time go on, Tesla has lots of issues that need to be dealt with and it become a matter of priorities. I hope they can expand to meet the demand as time goes on and they sell more and more Tesla's.
     
  9. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    The key to expanding service is not just more/larger service centers but, of course, to hire the right folks and train them well. That's usually the harder part.
     
  10. Rockster

    Rockster Active Member

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    Please, God, not Firestone. Their service centers suck beyond words.
     
  11. CurrentRide

    CurrentRide Member

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    I like my local Firestone, generally just tires, rotation, balancing and oil changes for my Lexus Rx400h. They probably vary a lot by site.

    Just an idea to rapidly scale up service. Alternatively, TM could offer a "Tesla certified" service center designation that independent service centers could apply for.
     
  12. bollar

    bollar Disgruntled Member

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    My Firestone punched a rivet into my car's tire when I was there for warranty work on my car's battery and put the hard sell on me to replace all four with some new Bridgestones.

    I had the car flatbedded to NTB so I could get some Michelins.

    Weasels.
     
  13. linkster

    linkster Member

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    +1

    These big chain ones with no or low skilled, high turnover, up selling, joksters are laughable at best (until they joy-ride your quicker than quick P85D). :confused: :eek: :mad: :cursing:
     
  14. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    #14 neroden, Jul 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015
    Tesla has failed to keep up so far. There is no reason to think that they will be able to keep up, unfortunately. I see only 12 in North America on the 'coming soon' list, of which one (Fairfax VA) doesn't add geographic coverage. Not nearly fast enough, especially with the cutbacks in Ranger Service (which are a really terrible idea)

    At this point I really think Musk should do a secondary public offering to raise capital, and devote it to Service Center expansion, while hiring some really good managers to fix the severe internal communications problems at Tesla. There's some sense in which you can't rush training, but there's another sense in which you can if you hire the best people to do the training. Tesla is still doing too many things seat-of-the-pants style...

    Also, Tesla's been making one really obvious error. Tesla has been opening multiple small service centers in major metro areas, or having to relocate major-metro service centers because they picked locations which were too small. For each of those major metro areas, Tesla should buy a REALLY BIG location and open a megacenter. The five NYC service centers are reasonable because they're in five different directions (ensuring that the surburbanites don't have to drive through Manhattan), but the two Cincinnati Service Centers indicate poor planning.

    Tesla's picked its business model of in-house service. It's a tough model to pull off, but I think they can do it -- if they actually bother to do it. Service centers need to have geographic coverage.

    I'm annoyed because there isn't a service center in upstate NY (Syracuse would be ideal, Rochester would be OK), but others have it worse -- there obviously should be centers in Memphis, El Paso, somewhere in Montana, somewhere in Alabama, somewhere in Kentucky, and dozens of other places, and they need to be up and running before Model 3 is released.
     
  15. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Oh my gosh, you're right! I bet Tesla hasn't even noticed they've only got like 3 1/2 years.
     
  16. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    At 6 centers per year (yes, that's the average rate for the last two years), they'd have 21 more in North America by then. Not *nearly* enough. Hey, maybe they'll move a little faster and finish 25. Still not enough.

    Service centers need to be opening at least twice as fast as they currently are, preferably four times as fast.
     
  17. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Service Center prevalence doesn't need to be linear; in fact it would be stupid to implement linear growth to meet a mass market launch in 3 years time. That's plenty of time to plan a ramp-up in openings.
     
  18. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Given that permitting / zoning approval / etc. lead time is generally two years -- and we've watched one year even for little things like Superchargers -- NO, THIS IS NOT PLENTY OF TIME.
     
  19. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Nothing like two years if you move into existing, zoned, buildings. Maybe in Ithaca it takes two years which could be why you don't have a service center yet? :)
     
  20. beeeerock

    beeeerock Active Member

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    Vancouver Canada. A hole in the wall service center (although I've heard rumours they have plans to relocate to a bigger place - hopefully in a less-sketchy neighbourhood!) that seems to be pretty much slammed just doing delivery prep work. Thankfully, there don't seem to be major repair issues to back them up even more, because I really doubt they'd have the physical ability to keep up, even if they started running two shifts a day. This is based on my observations when I picked up and when I've attempted to get hold of the service department since delivery. And the comments I heard about the number of overtime hours worked regularly.

    Of course, the numbers in Canada aren't as big as in the US, but the next closest service center (if you don't cross the border) is Toronto - essentially the other side of the continent.

    That's a challenge. But all in all, a good problem to have.
     

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