Tesla lets go of service employees in 'restructuring', says it's still expanding headcount

 electrek.co  06/14/2019 01:15:46   Fred Lambert

We were surprised to hear from sources that Tesla was letting go some employees in the service teams at several locations today because the automaker claims to be focusing on expanding its service coverage.

In response, Tesla told Electrek that they are still expanding service and the employees were let go in a ‘restructuring’ of the service department.

Today, sources familiar with the matter told Electrek that Tesla fired many service employees across the US.

We contacted Tesla about the situation and a spokesperson said that they were “restructuring some roles”:

The company sent us the following statement:

Tesla is expanding service headcount substantially in literally every country in which we operate. As weve said, service is a top priority for Tesla, and were making many improvements as we expand our mobile service offering and streamline the experience for customers. Part of this effort includes reviewing our business to ensure were operating as efficiently as possible, and restructuring some roles or moving employees to new positions that better support the service organization. We will continue to hire more service technicians and grow this area of the business.

It’s unclear how many employees have been affected by this “restructuring” at this point.

One source told Electrek that Tesla was taking away the ability for customers to call local service centers directly and pushing for customers to book all service directly online or through the Tesla mobile app, which is something Tesla launched last year.

The automaker launched a new live service status update feature through its mobile app earlier this year.

Those initiatives both aim to reduce the workload at service centers and could explain the employees being let go.

Recently, Tesla has made several statements about expanding service after CEO Elon Musk admitted a ‘foolish oversight’ of Tesla’s service�coverage.

Musk specifically said during Tesla’s shareholder’s meeting earlier this week:

The key is when you buy a car, you’re buying freedom. Freedom to travel. You must have the Superchargers. You must have high-speed charging, and then if the car breaks down, it must be fixed quickly. I’m actually really excited about our mobile service. We have mobile service vans that will come fix your car as soon as it breaks down. It actually will immediately send a note to Tesla mobile service and it will be on its way to fix the car. We trialed it in the Bay Area and now have extended it to the LA area and a number of others for tire repair. The van will arrive, give you a new tire in half an hour, and you’re on your way. It makes it a huge difference. Were adding things like bumper repair and collision repair. If I look at the things that most trouble customers, it’s things like collision repair taking an eternity and a third party body shop charging an arm and a leg after taking an eternity. We’re moving a lot of the body repair in-house at Tesla, and then even providing it on mobile service. We just did our first bumper replacement from mobile service van. Typically, a collision repair can take weeks or months, and in this case, it took less than an hour.

Tesla has been rolling out mobile service vehicles for a while now and it says that it is adding more technicians.

The company also launched its own in-house ‘Body Repair Centers’ to address the issue of long repair times after collisions as described by Musk.

Over the last few months, the automaker also opened several service centers in the US.

Electrek’s Take

It might be too premature for Tesla to start letting go of employees in service in my opinion.

Even though I understand that they think they have found other solutions to replace their roles, my understanding is that these employees had several responsibilities in service and they were already overworked.

I find it hard to believe that their absence will have a positive impact on service capacity.

However, Tesla seems to remain committed to hire more technicians, which seems to be what’s most needed to improve Tesla’s service capacity at the moment.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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