ABOUT THE CASE
Consumers of vehicles with internal combustion engines have had multiple options for maintaining and repairing their motor vehicles after purchase. They could perform the work themselves, bring their vehicle to a dealership, or bring them to an independent repair shop for maintenance or repair. In addition, the consumer could choose aftermarket replacement parts, rather than only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts manufactured and sold only by the original manufacturer, or those approved by the manufacturer.
Tesla owners, by comparison, can only obtain repair services at Tesla-owned service centers or within the limited network of Tesla-approved service centers, which only offer Tesla’s OEM parts. They cannot repair their vehicles themselves because of Tesla’s restrictions. Most independent repair shops are also precluded by Tesla from repairing Tesla vehicles.
Tesla leverages its market power in the U.S. electric vehicle market to allegedly monopolize and restrain the markets for Tesla repair services and Tesla-compatible parts. It uses several mechanisms in tandem to maintain its monopoly power and to enforce adherence to the anticompetitive scheme. Tesla does this by, among other things:
- Designing its vehicle warranties and related policies to discourage Tesla owners from obtaining parts or services anywhere other than Tesla
- Designing its vehicles so that maintenance and repairs require access to diagnostic and telematic information accessible only through remote management tools exclusively accessed by Tesla
- Voiding the warranties of salvaged vehicles and permanently disabling their access to Tesla’s Supercharger network
- Limiting access to its manuals, diagnostic tools, vehicle telematic data, and OEM replacement parts
As a result of this alleged anticompetitive conduct, Tesla has prevented independent providers from entering the Tesla repair services market, prevented its OEM parts manufacturers from producing Tesla-compatible parts for anyone other than Tesla, and prevented market entry by non-OEM Tesla-compatible parts manufacturers. This, in turn, has caused Tesla owners to suffer lengthy delays in repairing or maintaining their vehicles, and to pay supracompetitive prices for those parts and repairs once they are finally provided.
This case is about Tesla’s alleged sustained efforts to wring profits by monopolizing and maintaining to monopolize access to the parts and services necessary to maintain and repair Tesla vehicles.