At the end of October, Tesla Motors opened shop at La Jolla’s Westfield UTC Shopping Mall. San Diego mall goers are now able to peruse the one-of-a-kind car gallery to learn about the company and the future of electrically fueled transportation.
What makes Tesla so unique is not only its revolutionary technology, but also its marketing platform. Since 2003, the Silicon Valley based company has been engineering a completely new electric car from the ground up. In 2008 Tesla’s Roadsters hit the streets, and it now has over 2,300 emissions-free vehicles in more than thirty-seven countries.
Tesla’s San Diego showroom may take shoppers by surprise. Designed by the man behind Apple’s marketing success, George Blankenship, the gallery has several Model S hatchback sedans, interactive touchscreen monitors mounted on the walls, and is conveniently located only a few stores from Apple.
CEO Elon Musk described Tesla’s unique approach to a traditional car dealership:
“Our stores are designed to be informative and interactive in a delightful way and are simply unlike the traditional dealership with several hundred cars in inventory that a commissioned salesperson is tasked with selling. Our technology is different, our car is different, and, as a result, our stores are intentionally different.”
Despite the success Tesla Motors has experienced so far, the company has also seen serious opposition. Candidate Mitt Romney labeled it a “loser” during the presidential debates and two lawsuits have been filed against the company.
In response to the litigation, Musk stated:
“Regrettably, two lawsuits have nonetheless been filed against Tesla that we believe are starkly contrary to the spirit and the letter of the law. This is supported by the nature of the plaintiffs, where one is a Fisker dealer and the other is an auto group that has repeatedly demanded that it be granted a Tesla franchise. They will have considerable difficulty explaining to the court why Tesla opening a store in Boston is somehow contrary to the best interests of fair commerce or the public.”
Luckily, San Diegans need not worry about seeing Tesla run out of UTC. Showroom employees explained that California does not have the same old franchise laws that are being used against the company in other states, and the success of galleries throughout the state will continue.
For those interested in one of Tesla’s cars, it takes about eight months for the order to be filled.