In the home of the Detroit 3, getting a Tesla in the driveway isn’t the most convenient proposition, but at least Tesla Inc. is making it easier for Detroit area customers to get vehicles maintained and repaired.
The electric carmaker has set up a service center in Toledo, Ohio, almost literally on the border between the two states often known for their bitter college football rivalry.
The California automaker said the new service site is able to conduct all repair procedures for Tesla vehicles, including software diagnostics and resolutions, hardware adjustments and parts replacements, among other services.
Tesla is prohibited from selling vehicles in the Great Lakes State because of a 2014 amendment to Michigan’s dealer franchise law, signed by then-Gov. Rick Snyder.
Tesla filed a federal lawsuit against Michigan in 2016 over the state's ban on direct sales. That case was set to go to trial in June, though the court has postponed proceedings because of a unrelated criminal trial at the same time. No date has been set for the trial but Tesla and the state have until May 15 to provide new dates for a trial, court records show.
Meantime, Ohio has become a refuge of sorts for Tesla customers in Michigan. The automaker says it has about 1,500 customers in Michigan. According to data from IHS Markit, Michigan residents registered 1,108 Teslas in 2018, up from 376 in 2017.
Tesla operates a gallery in the posh Somerset Collection mall in suburban Detroit, but Michigan residents who actually want to buy one of Tesla’s high-end EVs either have to go online, or head to neighboring Ohio or Illinois.
According to the Detroit News, which reported the story on Tuesday, the company's Cleveland operation has been the main source of Tesla deliveries and service for the Detroit area.
Tesla’s website also lists service centers in Columbus and Cincinnati.
The Tesla service center in Toledo is operating by appointment only. Customers can make appointments through Tesla’s mobile app. Customers in Michigan and elsewhere also can use the app to summon a mobile technician who can come to their homes or workplaces to conduct service.
Tesla had 550 vehicles mobile fleet at the end of the first quarter.
The address for the new center is at 6142 Telegraph Road, less than an hour's drive from downtown Detroit.