According to a media report, in order to bolster its service delivery, Tesla has been sending sales staff, managers, and entry-level workers to help service vehicles.
The original report, by Electrek, an electric vehicle market media outlet, says that concern over the quality and speed of service and repairs is behind the move.
The challenge for new car makers on the service front is not Tesla’s alone. Service capacity concerns are widespread throughout the industry, most acutely at the original equipment service level. There are approximately 3,200 new car dealers in Canada, versus some 12,000 independent automotive aftermarket service providers, plus corporately owned aftermarket general and specialty service outlets.
But in a world of firsts, pressing untrained and unqualified staff into service bays may be another Tesla first.
The news of the shift comes not long after Tesla began offering its service information subscription at no charge, prompting speculation that this move might have been designed to provide easier offloading of capacity to the independent aftermarket.
In any regard, in early June, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, reportedly unhappy with the state of its service offering, tweeted that he was working on the North American service with the goal to have two-thirds cars receive same-day service.
He was not alone in his dissatisfaction. The move comes amid mounting criticism of the service experience by many Tesla owners. While there are certainly many in the Twitter-verse–where this type of conversation abounds–who have praised their service experience, they are largely outnumbered by Tesla owners bewildered at their service experience.
“They acted like my issue wasn’t important and they didn’t want to fix it. After wasting an hour sitting around finally convinced them to reschedule me somewhere else. now can’t use app because it’s service mode,” wrote Whole Mars Calalog.
Yvette Quisling tweeted: “Tesla service centers need serious help. They have had my car for 2 and a half weeks to replace the 12 volt battery and I can’t talk to a single person there.”
“I wonder how @elonmusk would feel about wasting 7 hours on a work day sitting in a Teslaservice centre…given back his still broken car, with less than 10% charge left, plus a 2 hour drive on either side,” wrote @Frank87056859.
There are also a number of accounts of technicians being laid off, with the posters wondering aloud how this can be happening as the company suffers from significant service capacity issues.
More on this is surely to come.
The moves to bolster service capacity with general staff appears to be a U.S. phenomenon.
According to the Electrek report, non-trained staff are engaged in tasks such as changing tires, but this type of activity would likely still fall afoul of service regulation in Canada where trade certifications are a widespread requirement for professional automotive service facilities.