changing textures without accessing (sub)nodes

I have a car with 8 textures, when I look in the egg file using notepad I see that the car is grouped internally like it should:
carbody -> carbody parts

when I load the model, and list the nodepath however, it only finds:
where -GeomNode is empty…

The first question, why arent these groups in the notepath ?

And the second question, can I use some internal function to replace the proper texture anyway? (using the internal texture-id of the egg, or using the group-id)

As mentioned on the bottom of this manual page, Panda may optimize your model somewhat when loading it, according to certain conventions.

In general, Panda will automatically combine a parent node with a single child node, so your carbody node got automatically combined with the carbody_parts node. Panda generally won’t combine together two sibling nodes, though, so if you were to make these two nodes both children of the same parent node, they would probably remain separate once loaded.

The real way to tell Panda not to remove a particular node, though, is to put the egg syntax:

<Model> { 1 }

within any entry that you intend to keep as a standalone node.

You might be able to get to the individual Geom within the GeomNode, but this is difficult. And chances are good that the two nodes have actually been combined into the same Geom anyway, making this impossible. After all, the whole point of Panda’s optimization efforts is to reduce the number of individual pieces within the scene so that as many vertices as possible may be sent to the graphics card at once; but sending all the vertices at once means that they must all have the same texture.