What the Bogus Tesla Cybertruck Contract Shows Us About the Future of the Automotive Industry
Not only has the release of the Tesla Cybertruck been a cluster of misinformation, unmet promises, and dramatic delays. But then Tesla said it will sue you for up to $50,000 if you sell your Cybertruck within a year of buying it only to redact the statement claiming you can’t sell your Tesla truck days after the clause was splattered across the internet by various reports.
This bogus Tesla Cybertruck rule reveals what the future of buying a new car might look like. This would have been a pretty serious penalty for selling something that you bought with your own money. And the knowledge that contract clauses can be entered and redacted within days – right under our noses – without announcement is kind of hardcore, if you ask me.
Tesla can sue you for $50,000 if you sell your Cybertruck
Supposedly, after many years, the Tesla Cybertruck is actually set to launch on Nov. 30. Many Cybertruck reservation owners are sitting on the edge of their seats, hoping beyond hope to take delivery of their new truck at the end of this month. However, over the weekend, Tesla questioned how much you own your Cybertruck if you bought one.
A clause was added to the contract when you buy a Tesla Cybertruck that reads:
“For Cybertruck Only: You understand and acknowledge that the Cybertruck will first be released in limited quantity. You agree that you will not sell or otherwise attempt to sell the Vehicle within the first year following your Vehicle’s delivery date.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, if you must sell the Vehicle within the first year following its delivery date for any unforeseen reason, and Tesla agrees that your reason warrants an exception to its no-reseller policy, you agree to notify Tesla in writing and give Tesla reasonable time to purchase the Vehicle from you at its sole discretion and at the purchase price listed on your Final Price Sheet less $0.25/mile driven, reasonable wear and tear, and the cost to repair the Vehicle to Tesla’s Used Vehicle Cosmetic and Mechanical Standards.
If Tesla declines to purchase your Vehicle, you may then resell your Vehicle to a third party only after receiving written consent from Tesla. You agree that in the event you breach this provision, or Tesla has reasonable belief that you are about to breach this provision, Tesla may seek injunctive relief to prevent the transfer of title of the Vehicle or demand liquidated damages from you in the amount of $50,000 or the value received as consideration for the sale or transfer, whichever is greater. Tesla may also refuse to sell you any future vehicles.”
This is where it really gets interesting
The above clause has now been removed from the contract. You can read the full document on Teslas’s website here. That said, I can’t guarantee that it won’t have already been changed, yet again, by the time you click that link.
Tesla swiftly changed the document without further announcement after so many of us reported the gnarly no resell clause. Folks, understandably, weren’t too happy about the new stipulation on buying and owning a new Tesla truck.
At this point, there’s truly no telling where this will end up. The specific right Tesla Cybertruck owners will have regarding their new truck are still a mystery. Seeing as how Tesla has quietly altered the document multiple times, there is zero reason to believe the company won’t change it again before orders begin being fulfilled.
Can car companies sue you for selling a new car?
To be clear, Tesla isn’t the only company to attempt to or succeed in forbidding its customers from flipping a new car. Ferrari and other high-end, limited luxury goods might have rules that will disallow you from selling a product. If you are caught, you might get barred from buying these products again. Ford also went this route with the Ford GT. It resulted in a number of high-profile incidents. Frankly, suing someone for selling their own stuff feels like a bridge too far.
Of course, car companies think flipping cars like this isn’t the coolest thing you can do with your time, but the market has created this beast by doing things like limited releases. Not to mention, dealerships have not only been flipping used cars for offensive sums of money but also are tacking on markups like these are the last cars on Earth.
However, when the individual wants to get in the game, they are threatened with legal action. Buying a new car just to mark it up and sell it for far more money is just American. It’s a little silly for the most valuable car company of all time to ask Americans not to pursue the most capitalist opportunity I can think of: buy something for X dollars and, because of demand, turn around and sell it for XX dollars.
The Cybertruck is setting a number of bad precedences
The Cybertruck is the first of its kind in many respects, the least of which is its design. However, if you were a carmaker, you’d be a fool not to pay attention to what Musk and Co. are up to. The Cybertruck is dropping soon, and most of us still aren’t even really sure what it is or if the body panels will even fit together. We don’t know how much it costs, yet we know how much Tesla planned to sue you for if you sell it. Despite that horrendous package, millions of people are captivated by it and would/will spend crazy money to be seen driving one. It feels cartoonish if you look at it all in a vacuum.
Still, between this clause in the contract that survived only a few days, its wacky (theoretical) spec sheet, the lack of any clarity on pricing, and much much more, the thing promises to be a monster success. We would be foolish to believe that the Cybertruck won’t have a massive impact on the future of the car business.
Like the thousands sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for orders to be fulfilled, we are anxiously awaiting what will happen next in the Tesla Cybertruck saga. You can’t make this stuff up.