Bernstein Analyst Rails Against Tesla for Trying to “Over-automate Its Customer-facing Functions”

Rohail Saleem
Tesla

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It is not every day that one gets to read an angry screed against Tesla – that pivotal stock that underpins a plethora of high-beta portfolios – from a Wall Street veteran. Yet, this is exactly how the latest investment note from a Bernstein analyst reads: a litany of complaints peppered with occasional praises to neutralize the acidic overtone.

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Bernstein’s Toni Sacconachi started off his latest investment note by stating that he recently took delivery of the Tesla Long Rage Model Y – his third Tesla EV since 2016 – after enduring an 11-month delivery waiting time. While the analyst noted a plethora of small problems that made for a hellish overall delivery experience, he identified four key shortcomings:

  • Lack of certainty around Tesla’s delivery times
  • Text-based responses to queries that resulted in a lack of continuity and conflicting statements
  • Tesla delivery team’s unwavering refusal to compensate for procedural shortcomings
  • Erratic service appointments

Sacconachi then went on to discuss some of the reasons behind the lackluster performance of Tesla’s customer-facing functions. First, with the EV giant currently in an hyper-growth face – as evidenced by the fact that Tesla expects to grow its annual deliveries by 50 percent for the foreseeable future – it is understandable that the company’s customer-oriented infrastructure is creaking at the proverbial seams.

Second, the Bernstein analyst thinks that Elon Musk has been captivated by the concept of automation. This obsession had played an important role in delaying the production ramp-up of the Model 3, with the EV manufacturer expending considerable resources to hyper-automate the final assembly only to yield middling results. Of course, Musk, later on, had agreed that “excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated.” However, according to Sacconachi, Tesla is now trying to “over-automate its customer-facing functions,” with equally middling results.

Finally, the analyst thinks that, with an undue focus on automation and streamlining the customer experience, Tesla is losing the human touch that often constitutes the defining criterion for gauging customer satisfaction.

Sacconachi then concludes his unorthodox note by disclosing that Tesla was supposed to grant him a $200 credit to cover the cost of the mobile connector, but he ended up receiving an email for only half that amount. You can peruse the entire investment note here:

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Do you think Tesla is losing its appeal by bungling customer deliveries? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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