While Tesla Motors’ direct sales model has caused a great divide in the country, most especially with regard to protectionist laws regarding automobile dealerships, is direct sales the future of automobile sales and service?
Tesla Motors is changing the way we think about buying a new automobile, which has been described by many as one of the worst consumer experiences you can have. This might explain why some people would rather run their junker into the ground than go anywhere near a new car showroom. Tesla Motors, on the other hand, sells direct to the consumer. Regarding customer satisfaction, from sales to service and ownership, Tesla Motors was ranked 99:100 by Consumer Reports (CR). It may be interesting to note that CR has never awarded a 99:100 to any automaker or automobile dealership.
While Tesla Motors and the ADAs (automobile dealer associations) have been duking it out in many states to retain their supremacy over franchised automobile sales, straight- and forward-thinking people have come to the realization that these laws are simply protectionist in nature, and no nothing for the consumer. Even those on the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) have spoken out, unofficially, noting that, if the ADAs were treating the consumer right, then Tesla Motors wouldn’t be such a threat. On the other hand, the AAM (Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers) has spoken up, saying they can no longer be neutral in this dispute. Spokeswoman Gloria Bergquist said, “It’s understandable why Tesla or future competitors would want a simpler sales process. When we look at the big picture, we may be at a tipping point. If dealer groups continue their push for more onerous franchise laws, we will be forced to keep an open mind about how best to serve new-car buyers in the future.”
Think about it for a moment. “Yesterday,” if you wanted anything at all, whether it be a laptop, hiking boots, or a new car, you had to go to a so-called “brick-and-mortar” establishment. You bought laptops at the computer store, hiking boots at an outfitter, and a new car at an automobile dealership. “Today,” you can go online, even from halfway around the world, and order a new laptop and a pair of hiking boots, and have it shipped to your doorstep, though I wouldn’t recommend the boots purchase, only because I’m hyper-particular about fit and finish. You can’t buy a car online, however, but maybe, if Tesla Motors has set the right precedent, be able to buy one online “tomorrow.”
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