Tesla, Tesla, Tesla… It’s so much fun to track this company. Not only are the products innovative and exciting to follow, it is also a marketing case study in nearly constant motion.
Case in point: At the end of February the company announced it would be closing its retail stores in order to cut costs and lower the pricing of the Model 3 to make it more affordable (at a starting price of $35,000). Tesla believes that car buyers will increasingly rely on on-line ordering instead of physical stores. Tesla stated that in North America, a customer can buy a Tesla on their phone in approximately a minute. Which begs the question, just because customers can do this, will they do it?
However, two weeks later, Tesla reversed its strategy and stated it would instead keep most of its 378 retail stores and would instead raise prices of cars by 3%, excluding the Model 3 cars. Tesla hoped to cut costs by closing stores, but landlords, customers, car dealers, and lawmakers protested the closings. The stores will still function as a showroom and location for test-drives, but sales will still be done online.
Where do you want to stop for your next car?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss the distribution model used by Tesla and compare it to the distribution model used by other automotive manufacturers.
- Here is an interesting video on why Tesla cars cost so much: https://www.wsj.com/video/the-secret-to-why-a-tesla-costs-so-much-hint-batteries/65F3A21D-0837-4DA6-B739-612124815603.html (Hint – it’s the batteries.)
- Poll students: How many would buy a car online instead of at a dealer/store?
- What are advantages and disadvantages of buying cars online only?
- Why has Tesla disrupted the traditional automotive sales model?
- Will other automotive companies follow the Tesla model?
Source: Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Assoc. Press, other news sources