There was a rumour going around the internet recently that Tesla was hiring actors to sell their state-of-the-art, zero-emission luxury cars.
It’s not true. In fact that would be a bit tame for a company that has literally ripped up the rulebook when it comes to selling cars.
“We do not hire actors to tell people about our cars. In fact, unlike other brands, we don’t have any brand ambassador programmes. We do not give away cars or discounts to celebrities for their endorsement. We pride ourselves on our pricing policy, which means that everyone pays the same, regardless of who they are, “ says Laura Hardy from the Tesla European Press Office.
Other things Tesla doesn’t have are dealerships, or an advertising agency and they also sell mostly online and only to order. No haggling. No discounting.
In other words they control the whole ecosystem from production to delivery. A bit like Apple, except that unlike a phone or laptop, their product start at £70,000 and are a little bulkier to ship.
Also unlike Apple, staff at Tesla showrooms does not typically expect people to actually buy anything. Their jobs are ensure they have great experience and understand the value of an electric car.
Take my recent random visit to the Tesla showroom at Westfield in London. After a 20 minute visit, my 13-year-old son came out clutching a prototype design drawing of the Model S and convinced that Tesla’s were the only cars worth having.
We were not sold a car, but we were totally sold on the idea of Tesla, and that is the whole point of the showroom.
People buy Tesla’s not because it was sold to them, but because they want to be part of the Tesla community. A community that is committed to the company’s goal of accelerating the transition to sustainable energy through increasingly affordable electric vehicles without sacrificing safety or style.
A quick look at any of the multitude of Tesla forums is enough to prove just how engaged Tesla owners are with not only their product, but the company ethos itself.
On the Tesla.com forum there are over 67, 000 posts just on the Model S, while the thread about solar energy (Tesla also sells home energy products) has over 106000 posts.
And that is just one forum. There are literally hundreds discussing everything from the practical to the prosaic. The press office might not tell you that the likes of Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kushner drive Tesla’s, but there are dozens of forums that will.
With this kind of promotion who needs an advertising budget? But it only works because the cars are so extraordinary.
Take the Model S, for example, which now features medical grade HEPA air filtration that removes 99.97% of particulate exhaust pollution and all allergens, bacteria and contaminants from inside the car.
It also has the bioweapon defense mode that creates positive pressure inside the cabin to protect occupants. In recent safety tests Tesla cars outperformed the existing parameters- making it the safest car on the market.
But is it practical? What about the hassle of charging?
Take a look at the interactive Tesla map and it is bewildering how many charging stations there are. Located in places where you can go and have a cup of coffee safe in the knowledge that your app will tell you when your car is charged. And we are talking minutes rather than hours here.
Some will argue that all this is pretty easy for a luxury brand whose cars sell at about £70,000. Obviously this is true. But the Tesla model aims to use the profits of these high-end sales to be able to produce a more affordable version soon.
In many ways though that is not the point. The point is no other luxury brand ever thought to do what Tesla is doing. And that has made all the difference.