Closing stores?

Closing stores?

What is all of this BS I see in the news about Tesla closing their stores and selling only online? They have ALWAYS sold only online! The store is just where you go to get a test drive, pick up the car you ordered, and take it in for service. What the hell are they talking about?

lilbean | March 5, 2019

You can also order from the stores near my house.

EVRider | March 5, 2019

@psusi: It’s not BS. Read and learn:

In some cases the stores placed orders on behalf of customers, even though the order was placed online.

reed_lewis | March 5, 2019

When I purchased my Model 3, I did it myself in the store using their MACs in my account. So their number of 'online orders' may be skewed because of people buying online even if they were in a store.

I seriously wonder how many people will buy a car without a test drive. We know that the test drive is merely a formality now in that most cars drive pretty much the same. But even with the liberal return policy, I wonder how many will not purchase because they cannot drive before buying. | March 5, 2019

Tesla is likely to still offer test drives, but may do it similar to what they did back in 2011/2012. They had "events" at various locations where you can look at different cars and test drive them. Often they just rented a parking lot for a week - far cheaper than stores. They could do this once a quarter in prime locations and still come out ahead.

sschaem | March 5, 2019

You test drive often for the configuration. Seating material, also check colors in real life, check the stereo sound quality (upgrade or not) etc...

And yes, I never seen a Tesla order not done online. What Tesla is closing is its showroom and test drive center.

I would have never ordered online a $162k car (before tax) without a weekend test drive.

Its insane for Tesla to believe people that buy 100K+ cars just do it online. Like a Porsche, Audi, etc... owner will by a S or X based only on online reviews.

S & X demand have already dropped, this is NOT going to help.

Tesla might has well stop making the S & X and focus solely on the 3, its like they dont care about they luxury business.

DonS | March 5, 2019

There is driving and there is seeing. People often buy boats and motorcycles without test drives, but they at least get to see the item up close. I am skeptical that Tesla can sell cars without at least a way for customers to touch and see before ordering.

psusi | March 5, 2019

So where the hell am I supposed to take the car for service now?!

psusi | March 5, 2019

And where will new buyers go to pick up their car? After having ordered it online ( like always )?

reed_lewis | March 5, 2019

They are NOT closing service centers.

NRGrin | March 5, 2019

@psusi: dude relax. They are closing “galleries” in the high end malls and retail centers.

You take it in for service to a “service center”. Those aren’t closing!

EVRider | March 5, 2019

At least some of the service centers are stores too, and you can take test drives there, but I don't know how common this is.

jordanrichard | March 5, 2019

psusi, step out of your bubble a touch. Tesla did not say they were closing service centers. Most Tesla stores are in malls and the service center is elsewhere. It is those mall stores that will close. In Dedham MA, the service center is also a retail store. So I can only suspect that location will remain a retail point because it is all in one.

jordanrichard | March 5, 2019

If I may, you might also first read the whole story vs just a headline, before hitting the panic button.

psusi | March 5, 2019

I guess I don't know what a "gallery" is then. Around here we just have a place where you can go get a test drive, pick up your new car, and get service, all in one.

And I did read the whole story. They just kept talking about how you will only be able to order online now, but that is the way things have always been, so it makes no sense.

jordanrichard | March 5, 2019

In that same article it should have also mentioned that Tesla said they were expanding the number of service centers and mobile service. The closing of "stores" was to cut costs in both rent and employee. Well that would be for any free standing stores, again like I said, the stores in the malls.

I think also there is some confusion of terminology. A "store" is where you go to look at and test drive and in some case get the car serviced. A "gallery" is physically the same as a stand alone mall store EXCEPT you can't test drive a car nor talk money/prices. Here in CT we have one such "gallery" and there are some in TX and I am sure in other places, where Tesla does not have a license to sell. | March 5, 2019

@psusi - Also Tesla is not closing delivery centers. In fact they may create more delivery centers as demand dictates.

I suspect some combo store/service centers may convert to just service, using the extra room for a larger service center, but that is less clear.

Yodrak. | March 5, 2019

I did not order my Tesla 'online'. I ordered it in a sales/service center by talking with a Tesla employee and telling him what I (my wife, actually) wanted. The employee, in turn, placed the order. Using a computer. Whether it was 'online' or 'direct connect' I don't know. What I do know is that I did not sit down at my personal computer at home and place the order.

kevindk101 | March 5, 2019

Bad idea. My first experience was at a mall and decided to check it out as I passed the store/showroom. Brought the wife in on another trip to the mall, took us 5 more visits of touching and looking over the car as well as a couple of test drives to decide on our ideal configuration before we purchased. Hats off to the staff and sales team. I have high interest in the up coming roadster and pickup but would never consider a purchase without experiencing the vehicle first hand and asking questions of the staff. I think this would be the same for most first time buyers.

bp | March 6, 2019

Tesla has never had stores in Texas - and it hasn't prevented us or many others from purchasing Tesla vehicles (we've bought 3 S/X).

They'll have an alternative for test drives, without the higher overhead of the stores - and will provide an online/chat/phone alternative for those customers who need assistance in placing their orders. And they'll still have a smaller number of galleries available for people to view vehicles (and possibly do test drives).

Tesla's proven they can sell without dealerships, especially when the configuration process is so simple with almost all features bundled as standard and only a few options (colors, wheels, …). This saves Tesla the extra costs of the stores, eliminates the only roadblock the dealership lobbies could place in front of Tesla, and by applying the savings to lower the MSRP, they are going to make it much more difficult for the other manufacturers to compete with Tesla on price, performance, range and features (they may have to sell their new EVs at a loss, just to compete).

When the dust settles, and Tesla proves this strategy can be successful, it could be the beginning of the end for the dealerships (who add cost to each vehicle sold).

jordanrichard | March 6, 2019

Here in CT, we too don't have any stores. They have 1 gallery in the very, very lower part of the state. What Tesla does and people are not thinking about this, they hold "private driving events". Typically they are at a hotel or country club. All this costs Tesla is a few hotel rooms for the employees and what ever the hotel charges for them to set up in a conference room. I picture Tesla holding "pop up" sales/experience events at supercharger locations which does two things. They can showcase the superchargers and get exposure to those passing by.

Keep in mind that Tesla never said they would stop sales events, they said they would stop with brick n mortar store fronts. Sometimes if you want to know what is being said, you have to listen for what is not being said..........

psusi | March 6, 2019

@jordanrichard do you not have any service centers around? Back around 2009 the closest service center to Orlando was Miami, so they trailered up a roadster and gave a test drive event that I got in on. Since they now have a service center here, that's where you go to get a test drive.

jordanrichard | March 6, 2019

Yes, we presently have one service center. Though we also have Mobile service which currently can handle about 75% of any service a car may need. In Nov. Mobile service cam to my office to fix my front passenger door handle.

EVolution | March 6, 2019

they should have never be opened in the first place to take orders

NRGrin | March 6, 2019

There are galleries in Texas. There is a gallery store at NorthPark mall just north of downtown Dallas. And you can talk prices, financing, and take a test drive. That’s were I test drove a Model S, right before I went home and ordered it online.

sbeggs | March 9, 2019


Hallc7860 | March 9, 2019

They have to offer test drives somewhere. I bought a Model 3 Dual Motor last year and I love it. But I would not have purchased without driving first.

dtodd16 | March 9, 2019

When I bought my S, I had to test drive both a performance version and a non performance back to back. I asked for a test drive of a rear wheel drive and an all wheel drive, back to back. I could have compared regular suspension to air suspension, but I didn't. I also compared audio quality. I then walked the stores parking lot of cars waiting to be prepped/delivered, to see in person the exterior and interior color choices. Only then did I order my car, knowing exactly what I was getting. I realize that some of the options from the past are no longer available, but let's face it, a car purchase is the second biggest purchase most of us ever make in our lives. I would never do this without a thorough comparison and test drives. I realize that many of you would. Just look at the model 3 orders placed a year plus before the car was even available. That doesn't mean however, that many future sales will be lost, including mine. If there is a plan to have occasional sales "events" in a mall parking lot, or some other way to still test drive various models and configurations, why doesn't Tesla come out and state that, and end all this back and forth speculation? The answer is that they probably just don't know yet themselves. It's probably like so many other things there - it changes from week to week.
So I hope that there is more information coming on this subject. They will have to make test driving available, somehow. The seven day return policy doesn't cut it for me. Imagine waiting a couple of months after ordering a car and then getting to check it out? Then doing all the title/registration paperwork, shopping for insurance and then getting to drive it? God forbid it gets dinged or scratched during that first week and then what - return guarantee voided? This is a $100K plus purchase, not a return to Walmart.
For those who state that they are fine with this, I say good for you. It won't work for me. Is this the way of the future? Maybe, but this old dog of 62 years won't learn that new trick. The bottom line is that a lot of future sales will be lost. Tesla had better come up with something. | March 10, 2019

Or not.