The man behind the Apple Store will spearhead a plan to sell the Tesla Model S in city-centre shops

Tesla is preparing a radical dealership network to spearhead its push into Europe, and it has hired the man behind the Apple Store concept — George Blankenship — to achieve it. He has also contributed to the retail tactics used by both Gap and Microsoft.

The new vice president of design and store development believes that Tesla will need to move away from the traditional car retail experience as it starts expansion plans that will include its Model S saloon.

See the pics of the Tesla Model S

“I want to move the brand from the city outskirts into the city centre and to start getting people through the doors in big numbers,” he said.

Tesla has nine stores in Europe, and will open in Tokyo this month. It has delivered 1300 Roadsters since 2008, in more than 30 countries, but it hopes to sell 20,000 examples of the US-built Model S every year, starting in 2012.

Read more on Tesla's future model plans

Blankenship understands that selling those cars will be achieved not just by expanding Tesla’s dealership network, but also by increasing footfall at those stores. “At peak times we can expect to see 50 times as many potential customers, simply by being in the right location,” he said.

“Our major problem is that ordinary people still don’t know about Tesla. By capitalising on passing trade, we can let people know that they can already buy an electric car, and make the brand so much more visible.”Matt Saunders

Q&A - George BlankenshipHow many dealers will you need to become a 20,000-unit car brand?I hope to double our stores over the next two years, but it’s more important to put our stores in the right places.

How much interest is there in the Model S right now?We have 3000 reservations. It’s a more practical car than the Roadster, so we expect a lot of customers to be new to the Tesla brand.

Are you worried by the threat of EVs from Nissan, Renault and others?We already have a three-year head start on Nissan, so I’m not worried. It’s up to us to make Tesla known as the market’s number one brand for electric cars. And whatever it is that our customers demand from us — be that a longer battery warranty or a cheaper entry-level model — we need to make sure we provide it.

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Comments
13

5 November 2010

Interesting article.

The only time I went into an Apple store it was clear that the staff were more interested in talking to each other and seeing how their hair lookd than serving customers.

B - how long has the Type S been around now? Are they EVER going to build it?

5 November 2010

[quote Autocar]Tesla is preparing a radical dealership network to spearhead its push into Europe, and it has hired the man behind the Apple Store concept — George Blankenship — to achieve it. He has also contributed to the retail tactics used by both Gap and Microsoft.[/quote]

Saab also want to do this. It could work with Telsa though as the product will likely be bought by serious anoraks whos hair would have an equal amount of hairspray applied


5 November 2010

It would be interesting to see a new player in the car market come up with a new way of selling cars, perhaps they may even put customer service somewhere near the top of priorities.

5 November 2010

[quote ischiaragazzo]The only time I went into an Apple store it was clear that the staff were more interested in talking to each other and seeing how their hair lookd than serving customers.[/quote]

Maybe you should try again. I've never been asked if I need any help more times than in an Apple Store.

[quote andrepaul999]Saab also want to do this. [/quote]

They should. Those small boutique stores like you get on the Camps Elysee are great. I don't suppose they sell that many cars but they promote the brand much more so than the average out-of-town dealership.

[quote thebaldgit]It would be interesting to see a new player in the car market come up with a new way of selling cars, perhaps they may even put customer service somewhere near the top of priorities. [/quote]

I remember when Daewoo tried to change the game...

5 November 2010

[quote Autocar]Tesla plans Apple-style stores [/quote] I.E. Hugely pretentious and full of unnecessarily expensive products?

5 November 2010

Maybe cars will be sold like this in the future, but not for a couple of decades, it would be too unusal to go and buy a car you've never sat in let alone driven, and you certainly wouldn't buy one on heresay, would you?,even if it was reported in this mag as being a good buy?, or would you?...mmm.

Peter Cavellini.

5 November 2010

[quote Peter Cavellini]it would be too unusal to go and buy a car you've never sat in let alone driven,[/quote] I'm sure there would be cars in the shop for you to sit in and touch, what else would be in their? With the right choice of location test cars could be within easy access as well. In our local shopping centre there are quite often cars taking up a central location this has included Mercedes, Saab and Ferrari. It makes even more sense for a lesser known brand like Tesla.

5 November 2010

[quote Peter Cavellini]Maybe cars will be sold like this in the future, but not for a couple of decades[/quote]

very true, its only a matter of time before the dealer networks are scaled down (its already happening) its been obvious in recent years that showrooms and dealerships were too big, for example a Ford dealership near me sold half its forecourt to a supermarket group and then what was left turned into 3 franchises, they also cut their staff levels by a third.

Telsa have hit the nail on the head there...definately

5 November 2010

Nothing new here, just go back in time a bit.

I can still recall when the Porsche dealership in Edinburgh was on George St (the main posh shopping street) with a showroom that held precisely two cars. I can even recall the original tiny BMW showroom on a downtown street in Aberdeen, again it only held a few cars. This is course was back in the day when Porsche, and even BMW, were tiny players selling just a handful of cars.

Today of course they have all moved out to trading estates because they need the space for volume of cars, and for ease of access for customers. No one in today's market could sell cars in any number from a city centre location (except perhaps Bristol, but they still sell in tiny numbers). Most car buyers arrive by car for one thing, and almost every city centre in the UK is now a virtual no go zone for access and parking.

Speaks volumes about how many cars Tesla assume they can sell!

5 November 2010

[quote phenergn][quote Autocar]Tesla plans Apple-style stores [/quote] I.E. Hugely pretentious and full of unnecessarily expensive products[/quote]

Quite. I can see which way they're trying to go but I don't like their attitude just being honest. It's probably just me but they seem to be coming across just a little too arrogant for my liking. Tesla has sold one model which is, again only in my opinion, not worth even half the asking price and yet here we have the new strategy and the boast that they're the leaders in electric cars and believe having city centre stores will bring in the masses and generate huge sales.

1, The prices are likely to be too high for them to be accessible to Joe Public, hence drastically reducing the market potential.

2, Even if models are reasonable affordable, can you see people suddenly throwing their cash at a manufacturer they're very unfamiliar with whilst in such uncertain times? Don't think so.

3, What do they think is going to happen when the motoring powerhouses all catch up such as the likes of VAG, BMW, Ford etc? Are people still going to plump for the unknown or stick to what they know best? Sorry, but familiarity and trust will win out here.

And this will be another Apple-esque company with it's marketing approach. Give me a break. Sorry but this guy's got on my wick! Perhaps if Applevision wasn't planned to infiltrate the motor industry then perhaps I wouldn't mind so much...

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