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Tesla Owns Its Service Centers — a Unique Business Model That May Be Reaching Its Limit

Stephen Lam | Reuters

Tesla is known for sparking an electric vehicle revolution. It's also brought services to customers, like mobile repairs and over-the-air tune-ups, that were once reserved for only the most elite car companies. 

Unlike the independent dealership model used by companies like Ford, GM, and almost every other car manufacturer in the U.S., where dealerships and service centers are owned and operated separately from the brand itself, Tesla operates all of its own service centers.

But it isn't easy to change that model, and Tesla has struggled to keep up with service as sales have soared.  Customers have complained about long wait times, a lack of loaner cars, and having to travel hours to get to the nearest service center when a mobile ranger can't fix the problem.

Other electric vehicle start-ups like Rivian and Lucid are following in Tesla's footsteps with their service models. But will it be possible for Tesla and others to scale up service fast enough and keep customers happy?

Watch CNBC's deep dive— the pros and cons of Tesla's service

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