We got a lot of reactions following our report yesterday on Tesla’s problem with long wait times for repairs and now Tesla President Jon McNeill himself is weighing in on the issue.
The executive says that they are “turning their efforts” to improving customers experience when it comes to “accident repairs in body shops” and plan to add a record number of 300 body shops to Tesla’s network in “the next few weeks”.
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As we reported yesterday, Tesla claimed that the problem with a recent case where it took 8 months for an owner to get his Model S fixed after an accident was mostly due to the body shop and not Tesla.
McNeill added to the claim that the body shop is at fault:
“The body shop in the OP article did not begin repairs on the car for three months and then ordered more than 90 parts and took over seven months to repair the car. Neither of those are indicators of competence. To top it off, they blamed their performance on Tesla. We know from complaints that the body shop experience needs to get a lot better – and fast.”
For our original report yesterday, we reached out to the shop in question and they said that they wanted to reply to Tesla’s claims, but that “it would take a few days”.
McNeill added that they found similar issues at other body shops, which could explain similar reports of long wait times.
He reiterated that lead time for parts have been improved and now they are working on adding new body shops and eliminating “low performing shops”.
Tesla service employees will manage each case at the body shops in order that no other case, like the one we reported yesterday, slip through the cracks:
“We are applying brute force to this immediately. We will have individuals on our team personally manage each car on behalf of our customers that are in 3rd party body shops.”
The biggest announcement that McNeill made is that they plan to add 300 body shops in just a few weeks.
It will be interesting to see if they really can pull that off since it can be quite difficult for a body shop to be certified by Tesla. They need to send technicians to California for weeks of training and they often have to purchase expensive equipment to work with aluminum – something most body shops don’t have though it’s becoming more popular as some automakers have increased the use of the material.
Here’s McNeill’s full response about repairs at body shops:
Hi everyone –
This week, the service team hit a global customer service satisfaction record. The team has done a fantastic job on what we control currently: our own service centers. We’re now turning our efforts on the centers we don’t control: accident repairs in body shops.
The body shop in the OP article did not begin repairs on the car for three months and then ordered more than 90 parts and took over seven months to repair the car. Neither of those are indicators of competence. To top it off, they blamed their performance on Tesla. We know from complaints that the body shop experience needs to get a lot better – and fast.
What the service team has done so far is a roadmap of how we’re going to fix the autobody experience. Wait times for appointments measured in hours and a handful of days currently. We’re providing same-day service from the Bay Area to Oslo and everywhere in between. In fact, almost 20% of jobs in our flagship center in Palo Alto are handled before the customer can finish their cup of coffee (yes, you read that correctly).
Thankfully, only a handful of our owners experience accidents each year. Since customers schedule and interface with the body shops on their own, we’re largely blind to the service pace.
Most of the customer complaints about body shops mentioned parts, so we focused on this issue. To date, we’ve reduced backlog by over 80%.
Even though we reduced part wait times, we continued to dig into the body shop complaints. What we found was astounding – cars sat at body shops for weeks and sometimes months before the body shops took action and, more often than not, the body shops blaming Tesla for parts delays were the very shops that hadn’t even ordered parts or started the repair.
We are applying brute force to this immediately. We will have individuals on our team personally manage each car on behalf of our customers that are in 3rd party body shops.
We’re also going to increase our approved shop count by 300 over the next few weeks as well as eliminating poor performing shops.
If you have an issue with a shop, please PM me directly and our team will advocate and manage your repair.
Tesla owners will get the service they expect from us – period.
Thanks to the entire service team for their commitment to setting the highest standard for service in the industry,