With all the news that came out of Tesla’s earnings this week, the automaker renewed effort to improve service might have gone under the radar.
Tesla is now seriously investing in service through several different efforts including, stocking parts, detecting issues and automatically calling a tow truck and service loaner, and more.
During the fourth quarter conference call, CEO Elon Musk said that “service is his number one priority” this quarter:
“I want to note that one of our major priorities this quarter is improving service operations. Really, from my standpoint, when I think about what my priorities are this quarter, it’s improving service in North America.”
North America is especially important since Tesla grew its fleet extremely fast in the region last year due to the introduction of the Model 3.
The automaker had issues with service in the past in markets where it grew fast and its service capacity couldn’t keep up.
Norway, which is Tesla’s biggest market per capita, has arguably experienced the worst of it and we have speculated that it could be a look at the future in other growing markets for Tesla.
It’s not the first time that Musk announced plans to improve service.
Tesla added 27 new store and service locations during the last quarter – bringing the total locations worldwide to 378.
Musk also noted that Tesla increased its Mobile Service fleet to 411 vehicles.
As part of their renewed effort to improve service, Musk listed a series of new service initiatives.
Here’s a summary of those new efforts:
- Increased focus on mobile service fleet: “we don’t need bricks and mortar, we can get more vehicles, hire people and deploy rapidly,” says Musk.
- They are also increasing the service functionalities through the Tesla App: schedule service appointment through the app, including pickup and delivery requests to avoid losing time to arrange service.
- Live issue detection to automatically call a tow truck and loaner vehicle before the vehicle even come to a stop. Musk says that owners would be able to cancel it right away if they think it’s not necessary, but Tesla wants to automate emergency service.
- Improved part distribution: they are going to stock a lot more parts at service centers in order to significantly reduce repair time.
- Tesla will also continue to bring more bodywork in-house.
Tesla had already talked about most of those things, but I still think that there were some important comments made by Elon.
I think that’s especially true when it comes to parts.
We have often highlighted how it appears to be a major bottleneck in reducing service time and Elon now seems to admit that they made some mistakes on that front:
“I think we made a strategic error in the past about not having service parts located at our service centers. We had them in part distribution warehouses, which basically meant it was impossible to have a fast turnaround on servicing a car because the car would come in, then the parts will be requested, they come to the service center, this would basically make simple repairs take days.”
With Tesla being the only automaker that also operate their own service centers, you would think that they could facilitate synergy when it comes to access to parts for service centers, but it doesn’t look like it was the case.
Now they are going to use the data from their service centers to know which parts are most requested and stock them at the service centers.
Hopefully, we start seeing some new record repair times as this new initiative start being implemented.