Basically, even though sometimes manufacturers don’t like tuners, in this case Tesla is saying it likes what UP is doing.
Stories such as how Mercedes-Benz took AMG under its wing, then it eventually became a special sporty division of the company, or how Volvo took over Polestar and it also became special division within the company (and later its own manufacturer) are not that common. Well, we may soon be able to tell one more such story, the story of Unplugged Performance, that has just been made an official vehicle service and body repair shop by Tesla.
Based in Los Angeles, Unplugged Performance is a Tesla-specialist tuning shop that even has its own line of performance parts specifically designed for Teslas. Up until recently, the company didn’t have a direct link to Tesla, even though Elon Musk expressed his approval for companies to modify Teslas, especially when it came to weight reduction and improving traction.
Musk was shown some photos of a Model S modded by Unplugged Performance when he was on the Joe Rogan podcast and he said it 'looked pretty nice'. Coupling his openness to the idea with Unplugged’s ambitions of becoming a kind of AMG for Tesla and we start to understand how this happened.
Gallery: Unplugged Performance S-Apex
However, Unplugged is still far from becoming Tesla’s AMG. The automaker has officially endorsed other shops, so this is not necessarily something new, but what is new here is Tesla is helping Unplugged knowing that it is more than just a simple place where vehicles go to be serviced.
So while Unplugged hasn’t become Tesla’s sporty sub-brand overnight, this is definitely the first step on the journey of that actually happening (and we’re quite happy things are going this way). Now the tuner has access to official Tesla training, diagnostic tools and ‘service mode,’ which is a mode authorized garages put the car in while it’s being worked on. Hopefully ties will deepen in the future.