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What does Tesla Motors need to fix, operationally?


Model S Owner and Frustrated Tesla Fan
Apr 25, 2011
Ithaca, NY, USA
I have my own opinions on this as a stockholder and customer, but I wondered if other people do too. This is not for anything specific regarding products, but for *organizational*/*managerial* issues.

This is my list, in no particular order except that #1 is the most important.
(1) Internal communications. Far too often at Tesla, the left hand seems not to know what the right hand is doing. Maybe if the left hand knew about it, the left hand would be able to tell the right hand that the right hand was making a mistake,.... but the right hand isn't listening to the left hand, either!
(2) Software change management. This seems to be dangerously sloppy, with driving bugs actually being introduced in an update. Software on a car should never delete functionality or introduce a regression in key stuff like throttle response or dashboard displays, and there are procedures which can be used to make sure that that doesn't happen.
(3) Customer feedback checking on changes *before* the changes are made. This seems haphazard and often nonexistent. The deletion of prepaid Ranger service with apparently no thought at all to the consequences is a great example, though there are also dozens of software examples and even a couple of hardware examples, along with various examples regarding the bundling of car options.
(4) Distribution of service information to customers. This is lacking.
(5) Collection of information on issues *from* customers. This is also lacking. There's a lot of very bright customers who are volunteering hardware & software debugging assistance to Tesla, which Tesla is mostly ignoring (which is Tesla's loss).
(6) Avoiding "overpromising" in marketing. Overpromsing has hit Tesla repeatedly already. I don't think they need to overpromise, the car's good enough.
(7) Clarity regarding the timing of changes to hardware, to avoid the "but if I'd ordered my car later I would have gotten feature X!" Hardware version numbering like on the Roadster would solve this.
(8) Legal policy design and management. I haven't seen much competence here at all. Excess paranoia about some not-so-real problems (using legal as an excuse not to give CPO car owners their car's service history, really?!?) with total disregard for other real problems.
(9) Actuarial projections for warranty reserve, pricing of extended warranty, locations and sizing of service centers, etc. This sort of professional projection seems lacking, judging by the random and seemingly arbitrary changes which have been made in pricing and plans.