Are independent shops to blame for long wait times, though?
No one can claim Tesla is not ambitious. Not only on the automaking front, but also with regard to various services surrounding its core business. Take its sales and service, for instance. Instead of outsourcing this key component of the business to third-party dealers like the established automakers do, it has built up its own network, despite numerous attempts to stop them. Now, it seems the California company will apply that same vertical integration approach to the business of body repair.
Currently, if you get into an accident with your Model S or other Tesla vehicle, you can take it to a certified body shop and they will replace fenders, or do whatever other work might be needed to get your baby back on the road. Because this mature industry has thousands of businesses located across the country, this sounds like a pretty good solution. But for Tesla CEO Elon Musk, it doesn't seem to be good enough. Apparently unsatisfied with the length of time repairs have been taking, he recently tweeted (embedded below) that the company hopes to take body repair times from more than 30 days down to same-day service by opening up their own shops pre-stocked with parts.
Good news, right? Well, maybe. While there is potential for a lot of good to come out of this approach, there are likely equally as many potential drawbacks. On the plus side, if Tesla can take a lot of cost out of the process, it could trickle down to the insurance rates, lowering premiums for all owners. On the other hand, this is another expense for a company, and it's not clear that the body shops being used now are the primary reason for the long wait times. There are more than a few anecdotes on forums and Twitter that make the case that the weak link is the Silicon Valley outfit and its inability to ship out needed parts in a timely fashion.
Whatever the reason for the delays in the past, after Tesla assumes the responsibility for repairs it will also be on the receiving end of blame if it can not live up to the same-day target made by its billionaire co-founder.