Elon Musk wants Tesla to do collision repairs in-house, blames outside shops for long wait times

Key Points
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he wants an in-house repair service, eventually fixing his company's electric vehicles same-day or within an hour.
  • Musk blamed external collision shops for taking too long to fix Tesla vehicles.
  • At the same time, Musk admitted that providing spare parts has not been a priority for Tesla.
Musk wants Tesla to do collision repairs in-house
Musk wants Tesla to do collision repairs in-house

Tesla CEO and Chairman Elon Musk on Sunday said the electric vehicle maker will soon bring most collision repairs in-house — a promise he first made during the company's annual shareholder meeting in June.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Musk blamed outside shops for taking too long to complete repairs.

Specifically, Musk wrote: "Tesla is bringing most collision repairs in-house, as outside firms take weeks to months for repairs, driving Tesla owners (and us) crazy."

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He acknowledged that some collision repair shops are able to turn around a Tesla customer's car after an accident rather quickly.

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When Tesla eventually rolls out its own collision repairs service, he said, the goal will be to make each vehicle "better than before accident."

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Musk also suggested that Tesla has an advantage over outside collision repair shops when it comes to timely service. "Outside repair shops are jack of all trades, which means supporting 1000's of makes & models. Tesla collision repair specializes in three," he wrote. "Having all parts in stock & not waiting for insurance approval also make a world of difference."

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Ron Arth, the owner of Oakland, California, repair shop George V. Arth & Son, told CNBC that he's not sure how Tesla could repair vehicles without waiting for insurance approvals, unless it's willing to do work for free or temporarily carry the cost on its books while it works out approvals. "Collision repair shops have to document everything we do, and justify it in order to get paid for the repairs," he said.

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"I think the whole concept of Tesla is awesome, ideologically, and a lot of manufacturers are chasing their designs," Arth said. "But I think they need to revisit how to deal with collision repair shops of any kind, certified, independent, whatever."

Arth said Tesla's ultimate goal "should be to repair cars safely and correctly for customers wherever they seek service. That way they'll be happy with their cars, long-term. And when they're ready to buy a new one, they'll come back to you."

When a Tesla comes through Arth's shop, the automaker requires his team to drive to pick up parts from one of its showrooms or service centers, he said. Other major automakers, in contrast, typically deliver parts to collision shops and give them wholesale discounts.

Aftermarket parts for Tesla vehicles aren't widely available, either. No major company manufactures them.

Arth's business fixes about 100 vehicles a month and has worked on at least a dozen Teslas, he said.

Musk acknowledged on Twitter that spare parts are not abundant, but he promised a fix: "Service & parts supply in general will be the top Tesla priority after we get through the insane car delivery logistics of the next few weeks."

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