Sources: Tesla’s future in N.J. not impacted by company’s push to move future sales online

The future of Tesla sales and service locations in New Jersey is not likely to be affected by CEO Elon Musk’s announcement last week that the company will shift all future sales online, sources told ROI-NJ on Wednesday.

That’s because the company’s new focus on service centers would convert space in existing sales stores to galleries and customer education space, as well as maintain space needed for service and delivery of cars, one source said.

Tesla’s future in New Jersey was questioned Feb. 28, when a blog by Musk announced a change in company policy. Musk said Tesla will reduce sales locations and sales staff, but increase “galleries” — which focus on educating customers about the technology — and service technicians.

“Over the next few months, we will be winding down many of our stores, with a small number of stores in high-traffic locations remaining as galleries, showcases and Tesla information centers,” the blog post said.

“The important thing for customers in the United States to understand is that, with online sales, anyone in any state can quickly and easily buy a Tesla. At the same time, we will be increasing our investment in the Tesla service system, with the goal of same-day, if not same-hour service, and with most service done by us coming to you, rather than you coming to us. Moreover, we guarantee service availability anywhere in any country in which we operate.”

What it means for the company’s prospective new location in New Jersey has not been determined, two sources told ROI-NJ. Whether it becomes strictly a service center or is abandoned has not been decided, according to the sources.

Tesla’s position in the New Jersey economy has been under a microscope for some time.

In 2015, legislation capped the number of sales locations Tesla is allowed to open at four. That legislation, however, did not restrict the number of service locations that could be opened.

Legislation that allows Tesla to open more sales locations remains alive, the sources said.

One of the sources said Tesla may still need locations to handle elements of a sale, including paperwork and the actual delivery of the cars.

Musk promoted the new sales model in his post last week.

“You can now buy a Tesla in North America via your phone in about 1 minute, and that capability will soon be extended worldwide,” according to the post. “We are also making it much easier to try out and return a Tesla, so that a test drive prior to purchase isn’t needed.

“You can now return a car within 7 days or 1,000 miles for a full refund. Quite literally, you could buy a Tesla, drive several hundred miles for a weekend road trip with friends and then return it for free. With the highest consumer satisfaction score of any car on the road, we are confident you will want to keep your Tesla.”

Musk said such a move would be good for pricing.

“Shifting all sales online, combined with other ongoing cost efficiencies, will enable us to lower all vehicle prices by about 6 percent on average, allowing us to achieve the $35,000 Model 3 price point earlier than we expected,” he wrote.

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