Tesla's next 'production hell'? Owner waits 3 months for new bumper
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"Production hell", "production bottlenecks" ... Tesla's hard times in 2018 in particular took on a range of different names across the motoring media world.
But the year ended on a high note for the EV carmaker, with the lauded Model 3 topping America's luxury vehicle sales charts. Production picked up, plans to build a new Gigafactory in China began to form — but the next big hurdle for Tesla to cross also came into view.
Somewhat inevitably, Tesla's maintenance and repair structure has come under scrutiny for its long delays. One recent case was touched on in a piece from the Wall Street Journal, where a Florida-based Model 3 owner had to wait three months for a replacement bumper after a minor fender bender.
It's not the only case of long repair waiting periods and other buyer-experience weirdness with Tesla, either.
Well-known online Tesla re-builder Rich Rebuilds recently detailed the long and convoluted process of buying a second-hand Model X through the manufacturer's direct 'Certified Pre-Owned' programme in the US — from taking weeks to get images, to being requested to pay a non-refundable US$2500 deposit before seeing images of the purchased car (let alone seeing the car in person), to finding a raft of undeclared issues on the car, to a mysterious disappearing loaner car.
Part one of his saga is viewable below, with another three parts published on the Rich Rebuilds channel. Each video makes for fascinating viewing.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is aware of the problems with delayed repairs. “One of our major priorities for this quarter [first quarter 2019] is improving service operations,” he said, during the company's 2018 fourth-quarter conference call.
“We’ve just been really silly about where we store our parts. [...] It’s just about being smarter about sending parts directly to service centers.”
Part of these issues can simply be put down to Tesla's rapid rise. Remember, before the Model 3 the company didn't have any bonafide mainstream products — just the premium-orientated Model S, X, and Roadster.
The key to change will be how they implement their work-in-progress factory in China, and whether they can navigate the nation's unique bureaucratic industrial landscape effectively.