General Motors dealerships have repaired more than 11,000 Teslas over the past year. GM
President Mark Reuss dropped that surprising news in a presentation to investors late last week. The service is “a growing business for us,” Reuss revealed. He offered no details on what services the dealerships have performed.
The idea points to a critical difference between Tesla
and older automakers.GM’s reach is everywhere. Tesla’s is limited. Tesla doesn’t operate stores or service centers in every state. The company has a fleet of mobile repair units that can perform many services in owners’ driveways. But, for more complicated repairs, owners must bring their cars (or have them towed) to service centers that can be hundreds of miles away. Owners have complained that it’s hard to get an appointment at many, and repair prices can be high. Tesla can’t solve that problem quickly. The company directly owns its own sales centers, which is forbidden by law in some states. Traditional automakers work through networks of dealerships, which are business partners they don’t own. That leaves them splitting the profit from each sale with middlemen. But it means they can operate everywhere. General Motors has a network of thousands of dealerships – so many that, the company estimates, 90% of Americans live within a 10-mile drive of one. For some Tesla owners, getting to a nearby Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, or GMC de …