Tesla’s Vice President of North American sales, Ganesh Srivats, was recently quoted in an interview with Fast Company as saying that there was a drastic redesign of the company’s retail approach in the works — presumably with the intent being to support the launch of the Model 3.
There weren’t many details revealed in the interview, though, about what the redesign would look like in practice. Srivats noted: “We’re throwing preconceived notions of auto sales out the window and starting from the ground up.”
As noted in the coverage from EVannex, Tesla’s recent acquisition of SolarCity will likely have implications with regard to the redesign of the retail experience — Tesla will seemingly be very likely to end up pushing a full electric-vehicle/energy-storage/solar-PV-system package to customers following the completion of the acquisition. Well, that’s my guess anyways.
In addition to the redesign, there’s now slated to be a rapid expansion of retail locations as well, in anticipation of the Model 3 launch — which will be greatly expanding the company’s potential customer base. The plan calls for the opening of a new retail location every 4 days or so, with an emphasis on relatively untapped but population-dense cities such Mexico City and Seoul.
The interview also included a couple of interesting comments concerning the company’s decision to handle all of its own sales, including this comment by Srivats: “We knew we couldn’t rely on dealerships to promote our mission, to operate the business the way we wanted to, to provide this great customer experience. So we’ve really had to chart our own course. We like the idea of owning the entire process. It creates an information loop from our customers straight into manufacturing and vehicle design.”
This of course contrasts with the experience at a typical car dealership, as the Tesla exec noted: “When you go to a (franchise) dealership, there’s all this sort of doubt about the process. The haggling, all the nastiness around it. Did I pay the same amount as the next customer? Did I get tricked?”
Certainly true. And this distinction is certainly one of the many reasons that Tesla has staked out a claim for itself as being an innovator and harbinger of the future in the automotive sector.