The store above in Denver is one of 14 Tesla has opened in the United States and 25 worldwide, with another eight to 10 set to open in North America before the end of the year. While the company has focused on meeting production targets of its electric Model S sedan, it’s also been adding stores like these — owned by the factory, usually located in malls or central shopping districts closer to Urban Outfitters than other car dealerships.
It’s a key part of Tesla’s overall business: Instead of building cars and selling them to dealers who hawk them to shoppers, Tesla wants to build only cars customers order — eliminating part of the auto industry’s massive overhead costs in inventory. By selling its cars directly, Tesla’s executives believe they can make their customers happy, and eventually sell more cars for less money.
Their model is quite reminiscent of Apple’s for retail: get their product in front of people, allow them to take a good look at it without pressure of a sale, and sell it to them online when they’re ready. Apple, of course, also sells their products in their retail stores, but Tesla will sell the Model S entirely online both because all vehicles will be made-to-order and to avoid ridiculous state laws that manufactures cannot sell directly to customers or own their own dealerships.
It’s quite telling, too, that this is an exciting model. Shows just how incredibly broken the automotive industry is.
(Via Marcelo Somers.)