Tesla Hints at Upcoming Rental Service: 'Big Things Happening'

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla appears to be starting a pilot for a rental program
Tesla appears to be starting a pilot for a rental program
Tesla

"Big things happening..." — this tantalizing phrase, shared by Melissa Porche Blakely, staff program manager at Tesla, has stirred excitement and curiosity in the Tesla community. The comment was made about a new job listing for the Tesla Rental Program in Texas, as spotted by @SawyerMerritt.

A Revolutionary Rental Program

Tesla is on the brink of launching a Tesla Rental Program in Texas, with a pilot program slated for collision centers. The automaker seeks a Program Manager in Business Development to lead this ambitious initiative. Speculation around Tesla's move into the rental space centers on various potential benefits:

  • Customer Convenience: Offering rental cars at collision centers can be incredibly convenient for customers whose cars are being repaired. This service can fill a temporary need, especially if repairs are extended.
  • Brand Exposure: By extending the program to airports for employees and potentially the broader public, Tesla can increase exposure to its vehicles. Those unfamiliar with Tesla may enjoy the unique experience, leading to potential future sales.
  • Competitive Edge: With competitors already renting Tesla vehicles (e.g., Hertz), the automaker might want to control the rental experience, ensuring brand quality and potentially retaining rental revenue.

Details of the Pilot Program

The pilot program will encompass all Tesla collision centers in Texas, with Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas locations. It's unclear if Tesla only plans to launch the rental program for customers at collision centers or if a broader car rental program might come later. The extension to airports, particularly for a Tesla employee pilot, further hints at the wider ambitions of this program.

Beyond Rentals: Glass Repair Optimization

Apart from the Rental Program, the new hire will also focus on Glass Repair Optimization. This signals Tesla's continual drive to enhance customer service, aiming to reduce repair times and further streamline the collision repair experience. Remember, we also speculated that Tesla might be going into the car wrap business in North America, similar to what the company has in China.

The Tesla Rental Program represents more than just a new service. While the full scope and implications of this initiative remain to be seen, it is clear that Tesla is keen on expanding its footprint and enhancing its brand experience.

As the industry watches this development closely, the question remains: will this move set a new standard in the rental space? What other surprises might Tesla have up its sleeve? "Big things happening" indeed.

Tesla Cybertruck's High-Profile Auction Sale Underlines Strict Contractual Resale Conditions

By Kevin Armstrong
Cybertruck Sold at Auction
Cybertruck Sold at Auction

A Foundation Series Tesla Cybertruck fetched a remarkable $244,000 at auction via Cox Automotive's Manheim platform, surpassing its MSRP by more than $120,000 and capturing widespread attention. It's crucial to take into account Tesla's distinctive contract stipulations related to the resale of this highly sought-after, iconic vehicle.

Tesla's Resale Terms

Tesla has outlined specific terms for the resale of the Cybertruck, given its initial limited release. Although the information is not on the website, it does appear with the purchase agreement. According to the contract, owners are prohibited from selling or attempting to sell the vehicle within the first year of delivery. Should an owner need to sell the vehicle within this period due to unforeseen circumstances, they must notify Tesla in writing, allowing the company to repurchase the vehicle at the original purchase price, adjusted for mileage, wear and tear, and repair costs to meet Tesla's standards.

This policy highlights Tesla's intent to control the resale market and maintain the vehicle's exclusivity. Owners found breaching these terms face the possibility of significant penalties, including a $50,000 fine or the full value received from the sale, emphasizing the seriousness with which Tesla views compliance.

However, are we supposed to believe celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, and Jay-Z were sitting at their computers waiting for the reservation list to open? A-list celebs driving Teslas is good for the brand, but it's questionable how they scooped up the Cybertruck so quickly if it wasn’t a private sale.

Buyer's Intent and Tesla's Stance

The purchase by a Porsche dealership in Orlando adds another layer of intrigue, as it remains unclear whether the vehicle will be showcased, resold, or used for comparative analysis. Automotive manufacturers often acquire competitors' models for research and development purposes, suggesting that this acquisition could offer Porsche valuable insights into Tesla's cutting-edge electric vehicle technology.

This high-profile auction sale could inspire other Cybertruck owners to explore the resale market, hoping for similar financial gains. However, Tesla's stringent resale conditions may deter some, casting a shadow of speculation over how the company will enforce its policy. The effectiveness of Tesla's strategy compared to other automakers' efforts to prevent flipping remains to be seen, with this incident possibly setting a precedent for future transactions.

This isn't the first instance of a Cybertruck making waves at auction. Previously, a Cybertruck was auctioned at the Petersen Museum Gala event, fetching an impressive $400,000. Whether this sale will encourage more owners to navigate Tesla's resale policy for profit or if it will underscore the company's control over its secondary market remains to be seen. What is clear, however, is the Cybertruck's undiminished impact on both the electric vehicle landscape and the broader automotive industry.

Tesla Model 3's 2024 IIHS Safety Award Snub, While Model Y Shines

By Kevin Armstrong
Model Y Top Safety Pick
Model Y Top Safety Pick

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has once again raised the bar for vehicle safety in 2024, introducing more rigorous criteria to evaluate the protection vehicles offer to occupants and pedestrians alike. Amidst these enhanced standards, the Tesla Model Y stands out as a recipient of the prestigious Top Safety Pick+ award, affirming its position as a leader in automotive safety, a position it has held for years, also claiming last year’s title.

Innovative Safety Features

The 2024 Tesla Model Y has demonstrated outstanding performance across various safety tests, excelling in crashworthiness and crash avoidance capabilities. The vehicle earned the highest possible rating, 'Good'’ in all tested categories, including small and moderate overlap front tests, side impact tests, roof strength, and head restraint tests. Notably, Model Y's performance in the small overlap front test was particularly commendable, showcasing effective airbag deployment, well-maintained survival space for the dummy, and a low risk of significant injuries.

The Model Y has advanced safety features significantly contributing to its top-tier rating. Among these, automatic emergency braking stands out, displaying superior pedestrian detection and avoidance capabilities under daylight and nighttime conditions. Additionally, the vehicle's LED projector headlights received high praise for their illumination quality, ensuring optimal visibility without causing glare to oncoming traffic. Lars Moravy, VP of Vehicle Engineering at Tesla, explains why the company’s vehicles are so safe.

Recognizing the importance of safety for passengers of all ages, the Tesla Model Y's LATCH system for child seat anchors was rated 'Acceptable.'’ This reflects the vehicle’s commitment to accommodating families and enhancing safety for younger passengers, highlighting the ease of use and accessibility of the anchors.

Absence of Model 3

While the Tesla Model Y has proudly secured its place among the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+ awardees for 2024, the Model 3 was noticeably absent from this prestigious list. The reason behind this, as reported by Teslarati, sheds light on the stringent criteria set by IIHS and the potential for future inclusion of Model 3.

Historically, the Model 3 was honored with the Top Safety Pick+ award in 2020, 2021, and 2022 but was notably missing in 2023 and 2024. Joe Young of the IIHS explained to Teslarati the reason behind this absence: the Model 3 has yet to be evaluated in the institute's updated side crash test and lacks a rating in the updated moderate overlap crash test—both critical components of the award criteria for this year.

This lack of current evaluations means the IIHS cannot consider the Model 3 for either safety award at this time. However, it's not a definitive exclusion. The IIHS is open to recognizing the 2024 Model 3 later in the year as additional tests are completed and ratings are updated.

Tesla’s engineering focus on creating the safest vehicles in the world is evident, with an extremely low chance of roll-over and occupant injury, positioning the Model Y as the best-selling car globally and among the safest on the road.

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