Tesla chief’s crazy scheme to meet production targets
YOU know your business has hit the rocks when people are taking pity on you and walking in off the street to offer their help.
That is exactly what is happening in the United States right now, following Tesla chief Elon Musk's admission that the company was struggling to meet his ambitious production targets for its Model 3 sedan cars.
Following customer complaints over delivery delays, Musk tweeted an apology and said the company was making "rapid progress".
"Sorry, we've gone from production hell to delivery logistics hell, but this problem is far more tractable," Musk wrote.
Failing to get these new models out on the market could significantly impact Tesla's stock price which is why the tech mogul is so keen to get his production woes sorted.
But Tesla fan girls and boys seemed to have joined forces and answered their leader's call to help deliver his cars on time.
It all started after one Tesla owner pledged to visit the Fremont Delivery Center, in San Francisco Bay, to lend a hand in any way he can, which attracted a response from Musk himself.
The Tesla enthusiast, Ryan McCaffrey, tweeted at Musk, saying he would be "delighted" to volunteer his time, free of charge, to helping customers get their deliveries.
And how did the billionaire businessman respond?
With a resounding yes, of course!
"Wow, thanks for offering to help!" Musk replied to his number one fan.
"The coming week is incredibly intense. If any current Tesla owners who'd like to help educate new owners could head to Tesla delivery centres during midday on Sat/Sun & morning/evening on weekdays, that would be super appreciated!"
Another fan responded by calling on all Tesla owners to "unite" and volunteer at the delivery centre at once.
But not everyone is as jazzed about Musk's plan to exploit his customer's spare time, free of charge.
Many suggested that the Tesla "volunteers" would do better volunteering at a local charity, instead of on a billionaire playboy's passion project.
Another Tesla owner, known as "Mark", who volunteered at the "chaotic" delivery centre this week wrote about his experience on Reddit and it was … illuminating.
Mark decided to head down to the delivery centre after reading Musk's impassioned plea for his own customers to help with deliveries.
"Driving by the Tesla store and seeing just how busy it was convinced me that I should at least stop in to ask if they did," he wrote.
Mark was enthusiastically greeted by Tesla staff, who immediately dragged him out the back and explained just how screwed they were.
"The delivery people are slammed at the moment, they are tracking down cars on a overloaded lot," he wrote.
"They are trying to get them into the detailing department to be prepped,
"If there are any issues with any particular car I can see how it might be overlooked as there are more cars at this store then I've ever seen, it's literally bumper to bumper out there."
The team essentially asked this guy to "talk Tesla" with furious customers who were waiting for their cars, while the paid staff ran around the centre trying to find their cars.
"The delivery people are constantly running back and forth from the delivery area to the back office to grab stuff from the printer or get answers from Tesla HQ," Mark wrote.
"It's quite chaotic, but they do have a system more or less that seems to be holding up."
As Mark tells it, customers can be forced to wait around for their new car for close to an hour at the centre, so it's important to distract them with witty conversation.
"Once customers show up for their delivery (hopefully on time) there may be long periods of time (20-40 minutes) where the delivery people are waiting on answers from Fremont, while at the same time trying to co-ordinate getting the customers car out of the area where prepped cars are staged," Mark wrote.
Mark also said that it was difficult to figure out a way to talk people out of their frustration.
"Some people were super frustrated with the wait, I get that, but having someone to talk to made it a lot better," he wrote.
"This was a big one. Figuring out a way to politely say, 'I know it's frustrating but have faith Tesla will make it right, I wouldn't be here if they hadn't'."
But at the end of the day, Musk's fan base won the war, flooding social media with support for the idea.
One brand new Tesla owner sang the company's praises and said he totally understood why other owners would waste precious hours of their life down at a motor vehicle delivery centre, talking absolute strangers off the edge of a mental breakdown.
This guy obviously had a short wait for his Tesla.
And this woman believes that unpaid labour is just all part of Musk's true genius.
All in a day's work, right Elon?