Although they still haven’t delivered a single car (over 350 orders for the roadster), Tesla seems to be moving ahead at full-speed, inking deals to build a manufacturing plant in New Mexico for its upcoming EV sedan, and now, starting to open dealerships across the US. It certainly looks as though Tesla is seriously trying to give the big guys a run for their money:
The service centers will be located in Chicago, Northern California, Southern California, New York and Florida, according to a Daryl Siry, vice president of marketing. Each of the centers will have a couple of the cars in different colors, displays on the technology used in the vehicles, technicians and, of course, cheery, helpful salespeople ready to take that cashier’s check.
More will follow, Siry added, largely because the company will start producing a line of sedans in 2009. “To do 10,000 units for Whitestar (the codename for the sedan) we need to be in a lot more places,” he said.
Unlike most other car manufacturers, Tesla will not sell its cars through independent dealers. Instead, it will sell them through its Web site and company-owned dealership/service centers. The thinking is that selling, understanding and servicing an electric car is a different skill and not one that most traditional dealerships possess.
Siry also added that the company wants to control the customer’s buying experience. Most of the time, buying a car is unpleasant: dealers are paid to move the cars they have on the lot. Changing that arrangement could help Tesla-owned dealerships gain an edge in sales, he said
The two-seater roadster sells for $92,000 and will likely mostly be sold to a small segment of the population. In 2009, however, the company plans to come out with two four-door sedans that will sell in the $50,000 range that it will build in a plant in New Mexico.