Tesla Sidesteps Dealer Laws With Mobile Stores

Never one to pause in the shadows for long, Tesla Motors is again showing its unconventional side with its new “mobile experience.”

Made from shipping containers, Tesla said that it’s planning to tour this new mobile store around the country.

“Designed in-house, the shipping container arrives and unfolds to double its size in just a few hours,” Tesla said in a media release.

“The mobility and convenience of the design allows Tesla to bring our unique retail approach to customers in new locations where we do not yet have a brick-and-mortar location.”

Via Twitter.

Obvious benefits with this setup include a reduction in costs normally tied to a permanent location, as well as the opportunity to reach out to new consumers in a unique way.

But this pop-up store also allows Tesla the ability to bypass the headaches of applying for a business license or gaining the approval of local officials. The electric carmaker doesn’t use dealers to sell its vehicles, opting instead to sell directly to customers. In some areas, though, legislation has blocked this factory-direct sales method.

With these mobile stores, Tesla can circumvent laws that prevent it from opening a brick-and-mortar store. Though it may not be able to quote prices in states like Michigan or Texas, company representatives can still educate buyers, who can then purchase the car online or through another state.

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When CEO Elon Musk first hinted about these pop-up stores a few months ago, he said the strategy could be a “good weapon against the dealers.”

Tesla has “a secret weapon on the demand side that we’ll probably start to deploy later this year for demand generation,” said Musk during a Tesla earnings call.

Those in the Santa Barbara, California, area can visit Tesla’s only U.S.-based mobile store through the end of June. From there, the container will travel across the country to the Hamptons.

The carmaker has three pop-up stores traveling through Europe as well, which are set up at the moment in France, Switzerland and Denmark.


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