GM spent its Investor Day 2022 in New York City touting how its EV investments over the past few years are beginning to show the fruit to come. Presentation slides for automaker president Mark Reuss advertised the Chevrolet Bolt being the number one mass-market EV, production plans for one million EVs in 2025, “transparent VIN-level pricing” on a new digital retail platform, and the arrival of a battery-electric Silverado pickup with a 20,000-pound towing capacity. Another few slides veered left into wholly surprising territory: Reuss said GM dealer service centers have made “11,180 repairs on Teslas” since 2021. Barron’s first reported the news.
Beyond the number and the make, almost everything else about the claim is unknown. Most importantly, we don’t know the nature of the repairs, and we suspect they aren’t too involved. Just like newer vehicles from legacy OEMs increasingly require proprietary diagnostic tools and modern ECUs are being locked down, it’s said complex fixes for Tesla powertrains need access to the carmaker’s Garage Tools server to pull codes and run self tests. And when even Tesla is having trouble getting parts for its range, there’s no reason to think GM could or would. Tesla did begin selling two subscriptions to service, repair, and diagnostic software last year. It’s possible GM dealers have got in on that, but we are only guessing. GM techs might be limited to fixes like suspension work, brake jobs, tire rotations, and fluid flushes. GM hasn’t responded to inquiries from various outlets.
Although Reuss called the new foray “a growing business for us,” the ancillary benefits are far more important than the revenue right now. GM gets to wag an “I told you so” finger at startup EV automakers unable to compete with a nationwide network of thousands of service centers. The majority of comments we’ve read from Tesla owners scoff at the idea of taking their cars to a GM dealer for any reason. But one commenter at Teslarati wrote, “True story — a rock broke the coolant hose leading into my Model 3’s battery pack. Tesla’s solution? Replace the entire battery pack at a cost of $16,000. They even refused to provide an upgraded Model 3 battery pack. I received a legacy battery with a 300m range. I would welcome 3rd party repair shops like GM.” Bragging is always double-edged, though, another commenter writing, “Which GM dealerships are repairing Teslas? I have a GMC Sierra Hybrid which needs some work, and I’ve talked with all four of my local dealers and been told with varying degrees of directness that they’d rather not work on it. Maybe one of these GM dealers who likes to work on Teslas would be willing to work on my GM product too?”
Even better for GM, Tesla owners waiting for their cars to be finished will likely take a gander around the showroom to peruse GM’s electric offerings, which Reuss admitted “[is] a big deal for us.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is probably too busy with his new social media network to worry about what a tiny number of Tesla owners are doing, but he knows the service issue is pressing. He tweeted in June of this year, “Working on Tesla North American service. Goal is 2/3 of cars receive same-day service, no wait.”