A journey into the world of Tesla delays – The Twitter version

Getting your Tesla fixed at a body shop can take some time. Elon initially tweeted that it’s because body shops are slow. As you can see, from the tweet above, that’s not really fair or true. A body shop needs fresh parts to fix a Tesla, and those parts are can slow to arrive. You can’t fix a car without the parts.
In the same Twitter thread, Elon does state that service and parts are a top Tesla priority moving forward.
Still, this can all make for interesting reading if you dive into the thread above. It was started in response to Elon’s tweet. What’s most fascinating for me, is that the person responding is part of a family that owns the oldest body shop in the country.
In 1877, the Arth family settled in Oakland, California. It was in the East Bay where George V. Arth & Son was formed and began fixing horse-drawn buggies. The shop is still running over 140 years later. From vehicles pulled by horses to ones powered by batteries and electric motors, this shop has seen it all.
While Elon has the inside perspective of what’s going on with Tesla. It’s companies like Arth & Son that truly have insight the process of paint and body repair as it relates to the entire range of automotive manufacturers. 

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15 responses to “A journey into the world of Tesla delays – The Twitter version”

  1. P161911 Avatar

    This is all part of their plan to increase production. If they bring cars that have been sold back to the factory, they can strip them for parts to create new cars, no more waiting on outside suppliers for parts. The wrecked cars will get fixed….eventually. In the meantime production has increased!
    Coming soon the Tesla Model 3 Harlequin Edition!

  2. crank_case Avatar

    The man has no appreciation of craft and thinks everything can be sorted by Agile scrums or something. Knocking the little guy like this is a new low.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      At a previous employer, I was forced to sit through several Agile training sessions. I was the only mechanical engineer in the building and one of only 3 “hardware engineers” out of a couple hundred software people. I got the basic concept and saw where it worked nicely for software and a few of the concepts could be adapted to hardware. But, it was hard to explain to the trainer that you don’t want to “fail fast” when you are ordering injection molding tooling with 12+ week lead times and production circuit boards. The disdain on my face was visible when it got to the point we were supposed to learn the different terms for all the VERY similar phases of a project, scrum, whatever.

      1. nanoop Avatar

        I hear you, I hear you. Agile/scrum is for rushing SW imo, 90ies IT bubble style – no other “pipeline theory” I know says to embrace feature creep, scope change, fuzzy benchmarks/handovers, and miserable documentation. You can make SW prototypes or demos like this, though.
        When mfg lead times are involved, or when the product is its documentation (people read the data sheet and order, so the products better do what the data sheet is saying) you want classic “waterfall” (or kanban for repetitive/parallel pipelines). SW people usually snap when it takes three days to change a word in the documentation, but that’s what customers perceive as quality. When you know your stuff, waterfalls can predict, handle, and absorb delays quite well, too, especially in parallel pipeline settings.

  3. Batshitbox Avatar

    Without making me read the thread… can anyone tell me how many replies it took before Musk called the guy a pedophile, blew a bong hit in his face and moonwalked out the door?

  4. mdharrell Avatar

    The sooner Tesla fails, the sooner I can begin my decades-spanning countdown towards eventual ownership of a 2008 Roadster.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      You could always buy a Lotus Elise, add 300KG and set it on fire for much the same experience.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        Close, but the Elise would still suffer from the ready availability of spare parts.

        1. nanoop Avatar

          Use IT hardware from the 90ies to pack up the 300kg. I recommend Conner HDs, or anything Olivetti.

          1. mdharrell Avatar

            Well, I have always wanted a good reason to corner the market in Gandalf boxes.

  5. 0A5599 Avatar

    The reason Musk and bodyshops are in conflict: Musk likes to light up a doob, while bodyshop dudes are fried on paint fumes. I think if Musk starts huffing, their minds will be in alignment. Or at least comparably fried.

  6. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Musk is being a real dick, again. But he’s got some real problems. And if he’s shipping parts for repairs, then those parts aren’t going into new cars, and he’s got a bigger problem with his production shortfall. It probably makes sense not to prioritize the parts side of the business. But, trying to shift the blame is a sleazy move.

  7. outback_ute Avatar

    I didn’t realize that Tesla has body shops…

  8. Lokki Avatar

    Tesla has built an amazing number of vehicles -over 300,000 including almost 100,000 Model 3’s. I have been wondering when sales would overwhelm support and service facilities, and I have to say that as far as I can tell that really hasn’t happened yet. Even looking at the Tesla owner forums I don’t see any real problem trends. Most of the complaints seem to be fit and finish and trim items rather than serious concerns. Yes, there are some stories of waiting months for body work but no one seems too concerned about it. Of course very few people who can afford a Tesla aren’t dependent upon it for daily transportation. They’ll just take one of their other cars. Still, I have to admit I’m impressed. Tesla’s record overall looks pretty good. The parts supply problem is simply a matter of shifting priorities from supplying production to supplying body shop. The boss has spoken so that is what will happen.
    I’m a cynic who has been predicting the whole Tesla fantasy will collapse as some point, but those points keep passing. My latest has been that Tesla has been hand-building Model 3’s in tents with extra staff who are working overtime. That’s really hard on cash-flow because of the labor costs. You can’t defer payment to employees like you can to vendors. Then there’s the high number of senior management who are jumping ship – from concern about the way things are being done or just from exhaustion?
    Either way, Tesla seems to be doing pretty well.

    1. neight428 Avatar

      They have a built in margin on their sales price that’s carried by someone other than the buyer of a luxury product and they are still burning cash. They have a car that competes with the most profitable offerings of other manufacturers with subsidies and they just keep losing money. Building something like this from scratch will take a long string of luck, subsidies, crazy smart management and the best products. Tesla might get all of these things together in time to save it, but it looks dodgy right now.