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Click above for high-res gallery from Tesla's Flagship Store grand opening

Tesla Motors has found enough time in between suing and getting sued by its suppliers to open its first dealership in Los Angeles, CA today. Located on the corner of Santa Monica and Sepulveda boulevards, the $2 million dealership sprawls 10,000 square feet and features poured concrete floors, an exposed ceiling of ductwork and beams, mirrors and potted plants. This is no Chipotle, however, as the first Tesla dealership will be staffed by salaried Tesla employees, not traditional salespeople who work on commission. Another dealership is in the works near Silicon Valley closer to the company's HQ, but we're not sure when that one will open.

Clearly modeled on the highly successful Apple Store experiment, the Tesla factory store is as much about educating the public and building brand awareness as it is about selling Tesla Roadsters. And that's a good thing, as there are no Tesla Roadsters to sell right now. The fledgling automaker has already sold 600 cars and has a waiting list 400 strong, but to date only four have been built. The first car went to Tesla Motors chairman and chief financier Elon Musk, while car #2 is earmarked for forced-out co-founder Martin Eberhard who has delayed delivery of his Tesla Roadster until its custom pain job is ready. Car #4 has been spotted at the Top Marques Monaco show with U2 frontman Bono behind the wheel, while car #3 should be on its way to an actual customer's garage.

[Source: AutoblogGreen, Photos by Vince Bucci/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      "custom pain job"? A commentary about the co-founder?
        • 7 Years Ago
        LOL.. never thought the ex co-founder would be interested in BDSM.. *wink wink* It looks as if he's following in the footsteps of the great Max Mosley.
      • 7 Years Ago
      LOL, look at the criticism here. What happens in a year or two they have another model? I believe they mentioned working on a family sedan by 2010.

      You gotta start somewhere,and most business no matter what the industry they are in, don't break even until 5-7 years later. What would you have them do? advertise their car via paid TV ads in 3am in morning with Ron Popeil...."But wait, there's more!" and "Now how much would you pay?" proceeds to add an extra battery charger followed by the dramatically lower actual price of the car. How serious would you take Telsa if they did such a thing?

      You also can't expect an upstart to roll out 3 or 4 different models with all vary degrees of prices on opening day. They just don't have the capital for that, especially if the consumers reject the first offerings of all the initial models.

      I think they are doing the right thing, starting with one car and building their brand, through marketing and good hospitality.
      • 7 Years Ago
      if they have nothing to sell in the foreseeable future, i don't understand why they would even bother opening it yet-- that's got to be a big waste of money. do they service the cars there if things break? or do they plan on ramping up production really fast such that they need more pre-orders? is brand awareness really a big deal if you are the only electric sports car maker and there is news about every move you make toward full production?
      • 7 Years Ago
      They just had to compare it to Apple. This thing is now officially doomed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think they've fundamentally misunderstood the purpose of a dealership...
      • 7 Years Ago
      I saw a yellow tesla about two months ago just outside of San Franciso, doesn't seem to be any of the cars mentioned here.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Perhaps you just saw an Elise. This thing isn't sufficiently different looking from the car it's based on to look like anything special on the road.
      • 7 Years Ago
      A very expensive coal burner that wont go very far. Color me unimpressed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I said it before and I'll say it again, this is a horrible idea. The above poster who said they completely missed the point of a dealership hit it on the head.

      I like Tesla a lot. I've been a huge fan for a long time. But I don't see how this style of Hollywood dealership will ever make any type of financial sense.

      Eventually you'll have to either scale back the free lattes and the salaried staff or start pushing sales to pay for the lattes and staff. Either way will make you look like a sell-out.

      • 7 Years Ago
      #9 on the list tells me that #8 is George Clooney and that Sergei Brin and Eric Schmidt (founders of Google) are above Clooney, making them either 4 & 5, 5 & 6 or 6 & 7.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think the dealership will help promote the car to people that don't really know about the car. Not everyone reads automotive sites all day like a lot of us here.

      I'm sure much of the public is blind to this. The dealership will help with word of mouth advertising as well as drive by future customers.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm not so sure. Imagine you've wandered into the dealership while walking down the main drag. Imagine your typical questions:

        "how much?"
        'north of $100,000'

        "how many have u sold?"
        'ugh... pre-sold a little more then VW manages to move R32s in a month... but we've only delivered 3 or so'

        "oh... well... when could I expect to receive one if i placed a deposit?"
        'ugh... I don't know'

        "can i drive one?"
        'well, we only have a few you see, and if you crash one then we'll just have shiny cement floors in here because we have a few production cars and some old mules/prototypes so no'

        "you're crazy."
      • 7 Years Ago
      Tesla doesn't know how to build cars, but they sure do know how to write press releases and get free publicity.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ummmm, is that a gas cap I see driver's side?
        • 7 Years Ago
        No, thats the plug
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