Whether it's to get around various state laws against selling vehicles directly to customers or just to gin up sales, Tesla Motors is starting up a brand-new referral benefit for its owners. Between now and the end of September, any Tesla driver who convinces someone else to buy a Model S will get a $1,000 Tesla credit. The buyer will also get $1,000 off the price of his or her fancy new electric vehicle.
Announcing this program today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that it is a way for the company to possibly save money. The average cost for Tesla to sell each car in a store is around $2,000, so handing that money directly to its drivers and new buyers could lower the overall cost down the road. Musk said that the reason the program only runs through the end of September is because it's a "short-term experiment," and that the company wants to see how it works before making a "long-term strategic decision" on where to go next.
Anyone who currently drives a Model S and has ten friends who've been thinking of buying one should really put the pressure on. Apparently, the first Model S owner in each of three regions (Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America) to make 10 referrals will get a Model X for free. Anyone else who refers 10 people will be able to upgrade their Model X to the otherwise unable-to-be-purchased "Founder Series" for free. That upgrade will be worth about $20,000, apparently.
Musk called the new deal a "guerrilla tactic against car dealers in certain states," by which he means places like Texas and Connecticut. "I don't want to characterize that as the main reason, but it could be something that helps us," he said.
From what we can tell, the program is not available for anyone buying a new Model X or used Model S, but we've asked Tesla for a clarification. We will update this post when we hear back.