Shutting down the stores was suicide

Shutting down the stores was suicide

Tesla has just committed suicide by shutting down their stores. I was getting close to pulling the trigger on the Model 3 AWD. I test drove the RWD last fall in MA and the AWD last Saturday in CA. I just called the Natick MA store to schedule one last test drive with my girlfriend to see if she likes it before I placed my order, she has the last say. They've already implemented the online only strategy so no more test drives. I can't imagine buying a car without test drives. The idea that someone will write them a check for $50K, write another to the Registry of Motor Vehicles for the sales tax, and another to the insurance company to insure the thing before you've made a final decision is insane. Even if Tesla give you back the $50K, the Registry isn't going to give you the $3K in sales tax back. I expect that Tesla sales will collapse in the next few weeks, even if I were comfortable with their new policy I wouldn't buy the car now because I think they've just put themselves in bankruptcy.

If they had put a credible replacement for stores in place before they shut them down that would be a different matter but they didn't. Buy before you Try doesn't work for cars. They could have switched to a program where they bring the test drive to you, they do that with repairs why not with test drives. They also could have set up roving test drive events, i.e. bring a bunch of cars to different venues, shopping malls, companies, events, so that people could test them. They even could do something like a Tupperware party, i.e. if you get a bunch of people together for a test drive then you would get some sort of discount on your car. But they haven't announced anything like that, just the Buy before you Try program.

Neomaxizoomdweebie | 7 maart 2019

You’re whipped, dude.

jjgunn | 7 maart 2019

LOL....Russians are busy today

BumblebeEV | 7 maart 2019

OK I get it. A car is like a hooker, you gotta try it before paying for it. It’s not at all like the new iPhone where you pre-order it online and get it shipped at your address and start using it from the reviews you read online

lbowroom | 7 maart 2019

Thank you for your well researched opinion based on an n=1

Pepperidge | 7 maart 2019

You should short Amazon if you have so much confidence in your theory.

jithesh | 7 maart 2019

yes. I know. Elon is a fraud. Tesla will go bankrupt. yada yada yada

Magic 8 Ball | 7 maart 2019

I thought hookers were pay first?

gmkellogg | 7 maart 2019

Want to drive my AWD? I'll give you a spin for free.

marym23 | 7 maart 2019

I read these boards all the time and have really gotten tired of the bullying that goes on. Yes, I know that I am now going to be bullied for saying that but what the OP is saying makes sense if you think about it. A car is NOT the same as your iPhone. Most people don't have to get a loan in order to get the iPhone. So you don't like the car, what do you do now? And if you traded in another car, oh well. I did buy my car BEFORE I ever was in a Tesla but I had a Leaf 5 years ago and knew I wanted to go back to electric. There was NO doubt in my mind that I would love my Tesla and I do. That said, for someone who has never looked at electric, it can be a little scary. I don't think this will bankrupt Tesla but I do see where they may lose some sales because of it. Just a hassle to arrange financing, etc. unless you are really sure. So, I've said my piece, let me have it. Beat me up since that's the world we now live in.

arizona2019 | 7 maart 2019

You had a test drive... multiple ones in fact. What's your point? That you should have been able to get a third test drive? If you didn't figure it out by now... you weren't buying, so don't lie.
Carvana and Vroom don't let you test drive before you buy either. They are making big bucks and it's all online. I'd like to welcome you to the year 2019.

bradbomb | 7 maart 2019

Have you tried to actually schedule a test drive still?

I thought they had said that test drives would still be available through Service Centers that are NOT closing.

Effopec | 7 maart 2019

I don't see much value in keeping all the locations that were in malls and such. But they need to have delivery and service centers anyway. They should keep at least one of each car at those locations for test drives. Maybe a little less convenient, but at least an option. The mobile and test drive events would also be nice. Right now word of mouth and news coverage is their whole marketing strategy. WOM should increase as more and more people have them in their hands, but there's still a gap in availability to put your hands on one compared to other brands.

rxlawdude | 7 maart 2019

" I know that I am now going to be bullied for saying that but what the OP is saying makes sense if you think about it."

Except for the committing suicide part. That's total baloney.

Both of my Teslas were ordered online and purchased, sight unseen. No problem.

People need to get out of the old ways of thinking. World is changing,.

sheldon.mike1010 | 7 maart 2019

Test drives will be done by appointment at Service Centers. And they're not closing ALL showrooms. The ones that have huge numbers of daily visitors will not close yet. If you go to the link given by Brad above, not only does it make an appointment available, but there's a floating "Chat" box on that page to interact with Tesla. Test drives ARE in fact accessible if you are near any Service Center, and yes, most folks will want to do a test drive. Haven't you had TWO?

lilbean | 7 maart 2019

Hahahahaha! Silly!

dmastro | 7 maart 2019

The vast majority of the forum readers are extremely pro-Tesla, believers of "the vision", and unafraid to take the leap as early adopters, and may be a bit blind to what John and Jane Q Public think.

Transacting a car over the internet without the ability to "kick the tires" is a huge change from the traditional model that most people are used to and comfortable with. I don't find it hard to believe that there is a very significant number of buyers that won't consider buying under this model. Does that mean it can't / won't work, especially over time? Nope, maybe it'll be a huge success, but just like widespread adoption of EV in the marketplace, I believe it's one more hurdle to overcome.

stevehendler | 7 maart 2019

I'm sure they'll offer ways to test drive from the Service Centers or something, and it will be nothing like a Tupperware party.

Where else are you going to take the 50 grand? No one else has a decent car out yet. If you are still debating electric for gas, then you probably won't like the Tesla.

AWD vs RWD? Well you either need AWD or you don't. Most don't. I've never driven a car and said yeah this RWD is well balanced, but I could sure use another 200 lbs to drag around for no reason.

Tesla has no need to keep a bunch of vultures (sales people) on their payroll who know nothing about the product, so they can sit around waiting for you to come limping through the door.

Magic 8 Ball | 7 maart 2019

It will never work. Selling books on the internet was a total bust, will they never learn?

burdogg | 7 maart 2019

TO me - just another possible example of sales people giving out misinformation...Don't know for sure - hence why I said possible. I would be calling back to talk to someone else, or better, just click the link given above and even chat with Tesla.

bjrosen | 7 maart 2019

I tried to schedule a test drive today, the website no longer schedules drives and when I called the store they said that they don't do test drives anymore. They made no mention of service centers, it looks like that's not an option. Having just Service Center/Stores would be fine, I have no objection to that, in fact I think it makes more sense. Putting stores in expensive malls never made sense, the real estate is to expensive. But most people want to test drive a car before you buy it. A car is not a phone. A phone costs at most $1000 and you only keep it a couple of years, a Tesla cost $50K and you keep cars for 10 years. You don't have to register a phone, you don't insure a phone, there is nothing to undo if you return a phone. A car is different from every other purchase.

defmonk | 7 maart 2019

I hear you, but Tesla was able to rack up a huge number of reservations for the Model 3 before anyone outside of the media had driven it. And, I suspect the somewhat younger target for the Model 3 are more comfortable buying even high-ticket items solely online, as opposed to the older luxury buyers of the S and X.

Magic 8 Ball | 7 maart 2019

We spent huge bucks, relative to the TESLA, to buy a shack in great neighborhood. There was no rent before buy on this shack so we did not get the full picture until our first evening here. It would have been nice if we could have tried the shack out first but it is what it is. If only we could have rented the shack for a day or so like they rent cars on Turo.

syclone | 7 maart 2019

What traditional Automobile dealer offers a 7 day fully returnable policy on a car purchase?

gmkellogg | 7 maart 2019

I don't know too many people who buy a home without having an inspection, so kind of a silly comparison.

jerrykham | 7 maart 2019

I do get part of what the original poster is saying. I have found 100% of rental cars over the last 5 years (I've had 10 or so of them on trips) hurt my neck pretty badly due to the headrests all being made with that awful slant forward. I've had to throw some of the headrests into the back seat. I was pretty convinced that I could not get a new car again until I actually SAT in a model S and took it for a drive - and wow, it didn't hurt my neck or back. So we bought it. We didn't get to test drive my wife's model 3 - but we did get to sit in it and go through one pretty thoroughly. I also wouldn't want to try to return the thing after a few days. I'd rather at least get to sit in one somewhere first.

But I wouldn't say that it is Tesla commiting suicide. I would just think they will indeed lose a few sales over it.

joe.lynn.atp | 7 maart 2019

Tens of thousands of us bought Model 3s before Tesla had any available for test drives. I read as many reviews as I could find at the time and couldn’t find a single one where the reviewer did not love the car’s handling. Some had quibbles with little things, but nobody criticized the handling. That was good enough for me. So I think that “suicide” is over the top.

FWIW, I let a friend test drive mine last week.

gcklo | 7 maart 2019

I would suggest Tesla to consider having a test drive program at the service centers.

No need to have sales people. Just people to assist prospective customers with test drives.

I didn't test drive before I bought the Model 3. However, I suppose some people require a test drive first before committing so much money.

TAC | 7 maart 2019

Hahaha.. I can imagine buying a car without a test drive. As a matter of fact, I did. Never seen a model 3 in person in my life nor sat in one ; yet i bought one. And its the best large purchase i ever made in my life period...

AZTesla | 7 maart 2019

I bought my Tesla without a prior test drive. I'm sure I'm not very unique. Tesla will be fine with this change in sales strategy...

Passion2Fly | 7 maart 2019

You get to test drive the car for 7 days at home and 1000 miles! What's better than that??

JustSaying | 7 maart 2019

I had a 24 hour test drive . I rented one on Turo. It worked out much better than a around the block drive.

SO | 7 maart 2019


Even if they find that closing the stores was a bad idea, they can NEVER reopen!!!!!!!!!


ocliving | 7 maart 2019


Magic 8 Ball | 7 maart 2019

Home inspection really does not tell you anything about the neighbors. When we bought most of the value was associated with the 'hood. Turns out not all neighbors are the same. Easy to change the house not the neighbors.

stevehendler | 7 maart 2019

When I've test driven cars in the past, usually the salesman ruins it cause he can't keep his mouth shut for more than 40 seconds. Having an annoying frat boy with shiny pants sitting next to me throws off my judgement as well.

Manni | 7 maart 2019

I disagree about the stores closing being a bad thing. My experience with my inside sales person made me almost not buy my Model 3. If the test ride is a big deal I am sure someone on the forum will let you take one for a spin with your girlfriend.

OCModel3 | 7 maart 2019

I agree that "suicide" and bankrupt are the extreme words in your post that warrant criticism. But no doubt there are others out there like you who will now decide not to buy a Tesla if they do not offer test drives. Like many here, I did not need one and have no regrets with my purchase.

In this case, I tend to believe that Tesla management made a rational decision as to what it costs the company to operate the sales showrooms and decided that the sales they lose to potential customers like you will cost them much less than the costs of keeping these showrooms. Over time, they can evaluate if the decision made sense and adjust it to some of the ideas like you suggested.

Finally, worry not about your argument on the sales tax and insurance. If you return the car, you can expect your sales tax will also be refunded (like it is when you return a hardware purchase at Home Depot). And the day you return your car, call the insurance company and tell them and they will return your insurance payment minus the few days you relied on it while you owned the car. It's not really that hard to get the piece of mind of actually owning the car for up to a week.

spuzzz123 | 7 maart 2019

Op has a lot of hyperbole but I do agree it will harm sales. Yes many of us myself included bought a model 3 with no test drive but I believe we are in the serious minority of auto consumers willing to take that leap of faith. They need a cheap alternative and I think many existing owners would be willing to supply test drives (like they pitched in a assisted with delivery) if Tesla were to coordinate logistically and pony up whatever insurance costs needed to be covered. They could offer supercharging credits as an incentive too.

DaMasta79 | 7 maart 2019

+1 gclko
I’m on my second Tesla (model S in 2016, now model 3). I test drove both vehicles before ordering, but I did upgrade to a P85D even though I test drove a non-performance version. I was able to test drive a model 3 performance before purchasing it. And no, buying a Tesla is not like buying an iPhone. For one, most people don’t need to put any money down when buying an iPhone to get the loan. There are plenty of people who unfortunately don’t have extra cash lying around to come up with the down payment necessary to finance a vehicle that is over $35000. That is still a significantly high price point given what you can get for $30000 and less. There’s a reason why car sales spike after tax season as many people use their tax return money to help with the down payment for a car. And then you have to consider the significant depreciation which is in the thousands of dollars that a car takes within one year, and also the hassle that many people face for obtaining a loan for a vehicle. For example, what if you traded in your current vehicle in order to purchase a Tesla to help cover some of the down payment...and then after seven days you realized a Tesla is not for you. I would think that maybe Tesla would just hold your vehicle and return it to you…does someone know?

It’s also different from buying a home, as I don’t think too many people would buy a home site unseen, or if they are building a new home, without seeing a model home first. And then there’s appraisal, inspection, etc. It’s like comparing apples to oranges.

I do think Tesla adoption will continue to trickle up in spite of this. I guess we will be the ones providing test drives to our friends and family, I certainly have converted a few people over just by giving them a ride (or rather, letting the car give them a ride lol).

I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this but that is the nature of online forums...gotta have some drama otherwise we wouldn’t be coming back. I do love my Tesla’s and do not plan on owning any other vehicle as long as the company still around in the future. Keep grinnin’ yo...

Tuning In | 7 maart 2019

Why do you guys care what Joshua Rosen thinks? Just another guy with another worthless opinion.

ILoveMyModel3 | 7 maart 2019

I disagree. the stories are costly and over 80% of all of their sales were done online not in the stores.

Morgan Stanley thinks all area makers would like to move to online sales only but they can't.

dalesmith1962 | 7 maart 2019

@marym23, if you buy the car and don’t like it you have either 7 days or 1,000 miles, whichever comes first, to return it for a full refund.

If that would put you without a car if you trade in your old car then consider not trading in your old car. If you decide to keep the Tesla then you can sell your old car.

Tuning In | 7 maart 2019

My two cents. The best test drive experience ever was when Nissan had someone bring the New Nissan Leaf to my house. I got to drive it around my neighborhood and see it in my driveway. There are also used car companies seeing how this model works better and cut overhead.

Dealerships and retail fronts are like telephone booths.

ILoveMyModel3 | 7 maart 2019

*** Sorry to the grammar cops, I used sale vs sell. lol

jhbeak | 7 maart 2019

Bought my first Tesla in early 2013 without a test drive, and I'm a curmudgeon!

Now I have a Model 3 and wife drives a Model X. Ordered all online (the way you have to do it in Texas). This change will affect some but it's a target-rich environment. Service Centers have CPO cars and should have a demonstrator or two. Or rent on Turo, ask a friend, etc. Be a little creative and leave those blood-sucking dealers to prey on the ICE fossils.

dalesmith1962 | 7 maart 2019

@spuzzz123 “Op has a lot of hyperbole but I do agree it will harm sales.”

It may reduce sales to that sector of the market (non-online buyers), but will it affect the total number of cars sold? Tesla is selling the cars as fast as it can make them.

dmastro | 7 maart 2019

I love all the comments and personal experiences, they're great. But we all do realize that we're the fringe here, not the norm, right?

Consider the everyperson who isn't drooling over the prospect of buying an EV, or isn't necessarily concerned with saving the environment, and whether this model will appeal to them.

RES IPSA | 7 maart 2019

I do think Tesla should allow for test drives, especially in states where they sell a lot of cars or in major metro areas. They should have a small location in each of the ten biggest metro areas and allow for test drives. Ten locations with a total staff of 150-200 people. Can't cost that much.

I would assume that a vast majority of potential buyers who want a test drive live within an hour of one of those locations

RES IPSA | 7 maart 2019

The locations do not need to be at expensive malls

Bighorn | 7 maart 2019

I disagree