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Brother blog AutoblogGreen just relayed a tidbit about Tesla Motors new dealership strategy that's set to be the most significant change in the way we buy cars since Saturn arrived on the scene. Tesla Chairman Elon Musk posted a new entry on the company blog explaining the new Tesla Stores in detail. He describes them as a place that "combines the feel of an Apple store, a Starbucks, and a good restaurant." He goes on to say that he envisions Tesla ownership as a type of club membership that offers access to VIP lounges around the world, just like airline frequent flier programs. Sounds good to us, but where are the cars? Taking the restaurant analogy a step further, he wants technicians to be accessible, just like chefs at finer dining establishments with nothing to hide, welcoming the attention and the chance to share the process with their clients.
The theory grew out of frustrations with existing dealership practices. As previously reported, Tesla Stores will be company-owned, unlike typical franchise dealerships. They're also planning on bringing the service area right up front. Another dealer oddity is the fact that employees will also be shareholders. It's an interesting plan that typically gives workers more incentive to perform. You can read the rest of Elon's blog post by clicking here.

[Source: Tesla Motors via AutoblogGreen]


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  • 14 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Interesting but kinda sad. I was hoping Telsa would come up from behind and cut the head off GM, but I see they're choosing elitism over mainstream. Hope I'm wrong.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If there is one thing that every traditional dealership out there should take out of the Tesla's plan, it is this:
      "The Tesla Motors representatives at our stores will not be salespeople and will not operate on commission. Anyone visiting need not worry about being accosted. Representatives will be there to answer questions, assist with a purchase only if asked, and to see if there is any way they can be helpful."
      Easily the worst part of purchasing a car is dealing with the sales people. The good cop/bad cop strategies need to be put in a museum.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Okay, so you buy the Tesla for your city car, and run your Turbo Diesel for the long haul... not sure about you but us US citizens generally have two OR MORE cars... one of which is usually a "highway car" and the other is a "City Car".

      $100,000 for a sports car isn't that bad really... compare it to a Porsche, Lamborghini, or Ferrari and you will see it's actually not that bad. Now seriously; how many $100,000 cars do you see driving in the snow on the trip from "Ottawa to Toronto"?

      As for the whitestar...

      My in town car is a Mercedes E320 Diesel. It "could" double as the highway car since it is big enough. I get about 25 MPG in the city with it, but only 32-34 on the highway (A/C versus no A/C). The highway car is a Golf TDI... 45 ish MPG on the highway, but I don't like working the clutch in traffic so it's the highway car (some would see this as backwards.)

      I wouldn't mind replacing my city car with the Tesla Whitestar, and moving the Merc up to highway status. I would only have to drive the Merc about once a quarter... no BioD for me
      • 8 Years Ago
      KC, your post seems ill informed. 200 miles is a lot of driving combine that with some solar power and you really cut down on costs. Also the Whitestar project is a full size sedan, not a compact.

      You'd also be surprised at the number of people that would spend $50k+ on a car. With some decent intrest rates on a bank loan, it makes it a reality for many people.
      • 8 Years Ago
      So, let's see...visiting Tesla will involve superior know-it-all hipper-than-thou salespeople offering overpriced overcomplicated fodder with a ridiculously long wait unless you know the right people or made it on to the reservation list?

      I kid. The dealer/customer interface is long overdue for a makeover of epic proportions. Best of luck to Elon and co.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Tesla's product is priced within the range of similar sports cars which is a welcome suprise for a start up company of this new technology. Targeting a higher end customer with an electric sports car will over time make the company profitable. After which Tesla can look at offering cars to main stream america. Kudos to the company for demonstrating technology and sports drive can be combined at a competitive price.

      As for KC, your long drives are a serious source of pollution and contributor to global warming. Perhaps you should consider working closer to home AND seeking more eco-friendly transportation instead of complaining about the progress companies like Tesla are making.
      • 8 Years Ago
      @ mr friggles

      How can they choose anything else but elitism when they are trying to sell a $100 000+ sports car and maybe soon (if they manage to stay around long enough) a $50 000+ car the size of a civic.

      You think some one is going to be cross shopping a Prius and a Tesla 'whitestar' anytime soon you're kidding your self.

      They are going to be an ultra niche automaker along the lines of Aston Martin in yearly volume.

      Besides, you have to be rich to buy an electric car because if you have to be able to afford the time it takes to recharge the darn thing and live with maybe half the range in winter that you get in summer. Want to drive from Ottawa to Toronto, it's gonna take more then 24 hours in a Tesla.

      How many people have %50 000+ to blow on a city car since a Tesla is completely useless as anything else?

      They are not going to be a mainstream automaker unless some miraculous breakthrough comes in battery technology that allows them to be very small, very light, extremely energy dense, and able to charge very rapidly and discharge very slowly.


      • 8 Years Ago
      I don't understand why you are so hostile, KC. So maybe the Tesla is not for you. . . That's okay, but how do you think you are going to stop people like me from buying them? A year ago, before it was announced, there were really no electric cars suitable for anybody. The Tesla Roadster is a huge step forward, and it will be terrific for some of us. They are making hundreds of them, not hundreds of thousands -- it's a beginning.

      You can make a trip up to 100 miles and return home without recharging. Six years from now, after you've replaced the worn-out batteries with improved ones, and charging stations are more widely available (so you can recharge at your destination), you may be able to easily travel 300 miles, recharge, and return home. That's progress, but it'll never happen unless somebody puts that first model into production and paves the way for it.

      The "White Star" sedan has nothing to do with any Ford Fusion, that was just a rumor that somebody invented and spread. Tesla haven't told anyone exactly how big the White Star is going to be, but they have said it's intended to compete with the BMW 5-series. They aren't B cars, they aren't sub-compacts.

      The batteries are not used in "stages", I don't know where you got that info. The battery temperature, charge level and recharging rates are all controlled by computers to maximize service life. Tesla are predicting a service life of 100,000 miles or 5 years. By then it's likely that durability will be improved, and the first battery swap just might be the last one the car ever needs. Again I say, it's got to start somewhere. Other car makers (cough*gm*cough) that wait for batteries to be fully perfected before building electric cars are going to be left behind.

      The big, established car companies have disadvantages when it comes to this kind of thing. They have huge investments in their existing business which all revolves around the internal combustion engine. The whole argument that "if it was possible, the big car makers would have done it already" is a load of rubbish.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Skip the dealership altogether. Provide location where you can test drive cars, but not sell them. Let them place orders on the internet, dell style. Provide kiosks at the test drive location. Pay your sales people well, but not on comission. Build to order.

      This is how all car sales should happen. Who need the stereotypical pushy salesman dragging a car sales negotiation for over 2.5 hours?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I would only buy if the dealership experience were the same as TGI Fridays.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I see good things coming from Tesla. I wish the best of luck to them because an overhaul like this in LONG overdue. Hopefully the larger automakers can take a page out of Tesla's book with regards to techinician availabilty.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm sure they will draw a small crowd of trendy types, but the reality is that a $90K two seat sports car has very limited appeal and really is impractical. When they can serve up a realistic small electric car for under $20K they will be selling to more than those interested in the novelty of it.
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