No one needs an electric car.
This is a fact that Tesla Motors would do well to remember.
We have no doubt that millions of people may want an all electric car, but of course far fewer potential new car customers can actually afford to purchase a $58,570–$106,570 all electric Model S.
We also suspect the new Model S is a huge leap forward and a technological tour de force but we can’t confirm it. You see no one at Tesla will return our emails or even bothers to send us a Model S press release.
In fact, there’s never been a Tesla of any sort in our local Denver Automotive Press Fleet.
Tesla has never invited us to review or even drive the new Model S….which is odd given the fact that our reviews now reach 2.5 million potential Tesla buyers each month.
But this isn’t about us.
Is this the Silicon Valley approach to sales and marketing? You know: build it and they will come (or in this case buy).
Does Tesla Motors believe that just like Apple Computers people will see the intrinsic value of their new car and lineup at Tesla Mall dealership to pluck down $58,570–$106,570 for a new Model S?
If that sales and marketing strategy didn’t work with the Tesla Roadster, why would it work for the Model S…is certainly a question that any smart car company might be asking right about now?
Let’s just put this into perspective. Toyota sells more cars in a week than Tesla has ever sold. Period.
Nissan recently shifted their marketing approach for the slow selling all electric Leaf according to Automotive News,
“We were a little bit arrogant as a manufacturer when we went to the 50-state rollout, We had assumed that there were people just waiting for the vehicle who would raise their hand and say, ‘Give me a Leaf, give me a Leaf, give me a Leaf. We didn’t prepare our dealers properly. “We’ve pulled back a little bit and are telling our dealers, ‘You don’t market this car traditionally. You don’t put it in the newspaper. You need to go and find the electric car buyer in your market.”
Automotive News goes on to report that, “To kick-start sales, Nissan plans to offer a lower-priced U.S.-built Leaf, reducing content slightly to cut the base model sticker price of $36,050, including shipping.”
Unlike Apple, which has few rivals and track record of sales success, innovation and a deep and loyal customer following Tesla is directly competing with car companies like BMW, Mercedes and Cadillac which all have a long track record of sales success, innovation and a deep and loyal customer following.
It seems to us that in such a hyper competitive market place Tesla Motors would do well to be a bit more humble in their approach to sales, marketing and PR.
But that’s not the Silicon Valley way. In fact many Silicon IT companies have been hugely successful by largely ignoring any direct customer (read user) contact.
But Tesla Motors isn’t giving away their car and monetizing their customer base. They may have their headquarters in Northern California but they are selling a car to middle America.
We just can’t help but wonder what will happen when the new Tesla Cali manufacturing plant ramps-up to full production and hundreds of new Tesla Model S cars are rolling out of the factory door each day.
Will they start to stack up in the garage structure of your local mall dealerships, or will they all find a new and happy home?
How deep is the demand for the $58,570–$106,570 for the all electric Model S?
And how many cars can Tesla sell by not having them featured or reviewed in local newspapers and simply ignoring much of the automotive press?
“Time will tell” is certainly an old and well-worn cliche.
But we can’t help but feel that unlike insurance, health care and even food many cars buyers want, but few if any actually need an all electric car….at least not today.