Tesla hopes to get better about putting a car in the hands of anyone who wants (and can afford) by redefining what a car dealership can be.
The company reportedly plans to open a series of “Tesla Centers” — retail locations that will focus on the sale of energy, but provide the bonus of easy car purchasing. It’s a strategic move that would skirt around laws protecting dealerships, and allow customers increased access to Tesla products.
First reported by Electrek, the news comes from “sources familiar with the matter” who confirmed the car manufacturer intends to open Tesla Centers in most major metro areas. Mashable has reached out to the company for official confirmation, as well as a timeframe for location openings.
If true, these plans could change the game for frustrated consumers who haven’t been able to score a Tesla. Numerous states currently enforce laws protecting dealerships from alleged abuses by car manufacturers. Some of these laws date back well into the 20th century, while others are as recent as 2014.
This type of legislation, although varying state to state, has garnered criticism in recent years, with many industry analysts noting the cost dealer-friendly regulation puts on consumers. By limiting where cars can be sold, these laws allow for dealerships in less populated areas to excessively mark up prices and, in some cases, impose costs on carmakers when vehicles undersell.
Tesla has long argued that the specialized nature of its products makes these laws particularly damaging to its bottom line. CEO Elon Musk emphasized this in a call to employees, made earlier in 2019, regarding Tesla logistical issues, also reported by Electrek.
“Amazon would go bankrupt if they would have to wait for customers to be ready to take delivery before shipping,” Musk noted, referencing the scheduling issues that often prevent consumers from receiving their Teslas with ease.
Electrek’s reporting on Tesla Centers echoed this sentiment, adding, “Those laws don’t make much sense today and they are often misused.”
By framing Tesla Centers as a source for energy, Tesla may be able to evade these restrictions and, per Electrek, allow for “sales, service, and delivery seven days a week.”
After years of Tesla pushing back against these laws — the company’s disputes on the matter even have their own Wikipedia page — Tesla Centers could finally put the matter to rest, and allow consumers to buy Tesla cars whenever and however they like.