When Tesla came out with the roadster, it seemed like a company trying something. An experiment mostly, somewhat of a kit car. When they came out with the model S, they did something quite special. They actually made electric cars generally, and genuinely, desirable. They managed to take an entire class of cars and elevate it from golf cart to premium car.
However, they’re in the leap from boutique to full manufacturer.
This is where things are either going to fall apart or come together. The Model S’s flaws were able to be hidden behind the veil of warranty and customer service, but if you have a salvage title Model S, it rears it’s head in quite drastic ways. They are home appliances. Tesla will not sell you the parts nor service them. The Model 3's build quality issues are now showing up, people are comparing them to the cars that we are used to seeing, not giving them the “new and niche” passes that we used to give the nod to.
It’s akin to how you’re much more understanding if the little mom and pop burger joint screws up an order vs. McDonalds. But here, they’re trying to compete with the big boys now. They need to get the supply chains, both to them, and to people servicing their cars. They are going to have to deal with legacy. If I drove my 2006 Ram into a Dodge dealer and they flat told me I was SOL because I have an old truck that is out of warranty, I’d be flat pissed. We’re used to being able to get parts easily for cars upto three decades old. It’s not until you get to 30 years before parts start becoming specialty items. But this is the point Tesla is reaching. People are going to expect this support. They’re going to want to take their cars to the local mechanics.
So I applaud Tesla for what they have done, but it’s time to grow up. The glamorous portion of the growth cycle is over. Welcome to “production hell”, it never ends in this industry. Put on the nomex underwear, strap yourself in, and get to work. Either you live in the fire or you die by it like hundreds of other companies have.