If you refer five new buyers, you get to tour the Gigafactory in Nevada, where Tesla’s building batteries. Refer 10, you get to buy a “Founder Series Model X,” with all the options at no cost, and personally inspected by Musk. Be the first to refer 10 and you get the Model X SUV for free.
This is a way for us to have a guerrilla battle with some of the car dealer associations.ELON MUSK
“This is a way for us to have a guerrilla battle with some of the car dealer associations,” Musk says. It’s a bid to make existing customers—a particularly enthusiastic fanbase by industry standards—into de facto sales people. “It certainly could be something that helps us where we are still held back by local legislation.”
“If we can amplify word of mouth, then we don’t need to open as many new stores in the future.”
It costs Tesla about $2,000 to sell a car through a store, Musk says, when you count the cost of building and operating the place. So that’s how it decided to give that amount back to its buyers who’ll be ordering cars online through the referral program. “Anything we can do to improve those fundamental costs is something we want to pass on to customers. We don’t make our car expensive arbitrarily.”
Tesla’s not giving up on its basic approach to sales, though. “We’ll still keep opening stores, it’s really just about how many stores do we open,” Musk says. And he emphasizes the referral program is and experiment, and if it’s not satisfied with the results, it’ll happily move on to trying other new ideas.