Tesla promises to improve service for first-gen Roadster owners
The company will provide 'dedicated' service advisers, technicians and repair centers.
Tesla has promised to provide better service for the first-generation Roadster after the company's first group of buyers has become frustrated by difficulties keeping the cars on the road.
The original Roadster was sold from 2008 through 2012 when Tesla pivoted its attention to the Model S. Sources have told CNBC that the company no longer makes spare parts for the Lotus-based coupe and owners cannot use Tesla's mobile apps to schedule service appointments.
In a letter to Roadster owners, Tesla's president of automotive, Jerome Guillen, promised to address the issues and thanked the customers for their "pioneering support" as the automaker was in its infancy.
"We realize that we need to improve service for Roadster," he admitted, adding that the car will soon have a new "dedicated channel" with a specialized team of service advisers, technicians and repair centers.
Service has been a sore point for Tesla as the company has attempted to prove that its direct-sales model is superior to traditional automakers' dealer franchise networks, which rely heavily on service to pad their bottom lines. The issues came to light as the Model 3 began rolling off the assembly line, initially with a few quality glitches that consequently overloaded existing service centers and caused delays in spare parts deliveries.
Consumer Reports recently added the Model 3 and Model S back onto its recommended list, noting that some of the early quality lapses appeared to have been resolved for more recent production vehicles. Surveyed owners reported fewer problems with door latches, trunk hardware, loose panels and exterior paint, along with less problematic electronic systems. The Model X is still not recommended by the magazine, however, due to persistent trouble involving its falcon-wing doors, noises and leaks.
As Tesla struggled to make its service operations more efficient for the Model S, X and 3, the company apparently paid little attention to the much smaller fleet of Roadsters that have been on the road for more years. CEO Elon Musk has acknowledged that it has proven "quite difficult" to manage service for a fleet that doubles in size every year, though he has promised to address the shortcomings as the number of Tesla vehicles continues to grow. The Model Y shares its platform with the Model 3, which could help avoid another round of early-production quality issues.