Tesla sells out steering wheel retrofit for Model S and Model X in days

Max McDee, 24 March 2023

It seems Tesla has come out with another perfect business idea. First, force people to buy a car with an unworkable option - such as the yoke steering. Then push back against the feedback and keep selling more cars, and once the number is sufficient, offer to rectify the issue. And of course, charge a handsome fee while fixing the problem you caused in the first place. Brilliant.

Tesla’s steering yoke was a marmite moment for the company, as big as the Cybertruck. While the intentions were good and steering yokes do have a place in cars, they have to come with a variable steering ratio, something we discussed before and something that Lexus proved to be working perfectly well.

Retrofit service is already sold out Retrofit service is already sold out

After eventually admitting defeat, Tesla introduced an option of retrofit. All Tesla Model S and Model X fitted with the yoke were given the option to have a standard round steering wheel fitted to their cars. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a free option, Tesla asked for $700 to fix the problem that made both Model S and Model X an absolute nuisance in certain situations.

How big of an issue was it, anyway? Well, once the retrofit option was available for purchase, it took just 8 days for it to be sold out. Tesla sold out round steering wheels in 8 days - that tells you something.

Yoke had other problems as well - quality was a big issue Yoke had other problems as well - quality was a big issue

While the buyers of the new Model S and Model X have the free option to choose between the yoke and steering wheel, those who bought one of the cars in the last couple of years didn’t have that choice. The early adopters were basically shafted and now need to pay for being naive and trusting Elon who touted the yoke as the best thing ever.

Tesla quietly does pay attention to feedback though, as much as it tries to pretend it doesn’t really care about public opinion. The Cybertruck was meant to come with the yoke as well but after the backlash faced by Model S and Model X, the company quickly redesigned the yoke to resemble something of a steering wheel. The production Cybertruck will come with a rectangular steering wheel - neither a wheel nor a yoke.

Lexus showed Tesla how to make a yoke that works Lexus showed Tesla how to make a yoke that works



Reader comments

Lexus/Toyota already proven not to be the case.

yoke is for race tracks, not for public roads.

Musk of course knows nothing of the history of cars. The previous car with a near-square steering "wheel" was the Austin Allegro, one of the biggest flops in automotive history. I suspect the Cybertruck will go the same way.



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