Tesla added a new Parts page to its online shop today in a move that hints at more direct sales of parts to customers around the world. The new shop is somewhat stripped down as it stands today, with a few options for floor mats and new key cards for the Tesla Model 3, but it bodes well for the future.
Good For Customers
Parts have been hard to come by for DIY installers, with most turning to eBay for parts stripped from scrap yards, totaled vehicles, or leftovers from rim replacements and the like. It’s likely that sales on eBay will continue as owners look for more cost-effective ways to repair or upgrade their vehicles, but the addition of direct sales from Tesla would provide much needed relief for customers looking for harder-to-find parts.
Many parts just aren’t reused as easily as others, driving prices artificially higher on the resale market. Opening up the option to buy parts directly from Tesla will help DIY customers or shops get their vehicles repaired with fewer headaches. That’s better for Tesla’s customers, wherever they may live and drive.
Good For Tesla
Making parts available directly to customers over the internet replicates the parts supply model that the automotive industry has used for years, but eliminates the middle man. That gives customers and body shops the best prices from Tesla, without the need for any markups. To Tesla, that also means it gets all of the profits, at retail pricing, along with full control over those prices.
In other words, selling parts directly gives customers the best prices for the highest quality parts, while putting profits back into Tesla’s pockets. That’s good for Tesla and keeps the company healthy while giving value back to consumers at the same time. It won’t eliminate the need or the opportunity for aftermarket parts suppliers to move into the space, but it will make the market smaller.
A Maturing Market
The addition of parts sales to customers to its repertoire is a step forward for Tesla and is just one more indicator that EVs are moving out of a niche market into the mainstream. My wife attempted to get the charging door on her Mercedes B-Class Electric repaired several times in the last 2 years, but only recently was able to have the service actually performed after the local dealership stepped up its game. It was still über expensive, but at least they were able to do it.
Tesla is similarly maturing as a company, and making more parts available to more customers around the world is a step towards that more mature position. Customers need to be able to get parts to repair their vehicles or have a body shop procure them directly. To date, Tesla has struggled to accommodate this need, but this new store is a good sign.
Reeling this vision back down to reality, Tesla still regularly struggles to actually provide parts to the approved body shops that order them. A simple repair of my driver’s side door handle took several weeks just for the parts to arrive after the initial request was put in. That seems unnecessary and hints at deeper issues with the company’s parts supply chain.
I’m not alone in this experience, with many customers waiting months for necessary parts to arrive before their vehicles could be repaired. Tesla needs to do better when it comes to supplying parts to customers and body shops, but this recent addition to the store gives us hope that the company is actually taking the need seriously.
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