The number of Tesla stores or service centers keeps growing day after day. Actually, on average, one new location is added almost every other day.
Yes, once upon a time, Elon Musk said on a Tesla shareholder call that Tesla would close down most of its stores. However, there was much backlash about the idea at the time, and it seems that either that backlash was enough to reverse direction or Elon determined this would be the way to go in the future but not quite yet. At the time, that seemed like a sudden, and even shocking and concerning, move. The idea that Tesla didn’t really need stores to sell cars seemed a bit too idealistic, as some of our writers argued at the time. Sure, most buyers buy online, but I would assume that a large percentage of us took a test drive (or more) at a Tesla store at some point. Even if we got test drives from others before, getting the walkthrough from a Tesla employee is useful and comforting.
My first Tesla test drive was at a store in Vancouver in 2015 when I was in the city to speak at a Renewable Cities conference. That experience stuck with me for years and surely sowed the seeds that eventually led to me buying a Model S with a few other guys for our Tesla Shuttle business, and later on buying a Model 3 in 2019. Sure, I’m in the EV business, but I know that many, many others went through a similar sequence of events (minus the “started a Tesla shuttle business” part).
It would be nice if service centers and stores were split out in these figures. I’m curious about each separately, and I don’t see their roles as overlapping once. Also, Elon highlighted in the past that the biggest thing that seemed to stimulate a surge in demand in a new region was opening a service center there. He viewed that as more importance than opening new stores. I understand the rationale well — while a test drive and the temptation of a Tesla store is great, what is really important when buying a vehicle is knowing that it won’t be too hard to get service when needed. I have met people who bought other electric cars in Poland because of the local service centers, whereas Tesla’s closest one was hours away and in another country (there is now one in Poland, but it is still hours away from many large cities, not to mention little towns). However, that brings us to a third topic. …
Tesla’s Mobile Service Fleet grew by more than 200 vehicles from the 2nd quarter of 2020 to the 2nd quarter of 2021, from 816 vehicles (mostly Tesla cars and light-duty utility vans) in Q2 2020 to 1091 cars in Q2 2021. Naturally, there is almost nothing more convenient than a service technician coming to your house or workplace to perform some service. (One thing is more convenient, though — over-the-air service, which Tesla uses for some issues as well.) Indeed, when I needed my 12V battery replaced on my Model 3 a couple of months ago, the Tesla technician drove to my home in a Model S and did the duty in just a few minutes time. That certainly beat the pants off of having to drive 45 minutes to the closest service center.
The overall story here, though, is a simple one: Tesla is growing fast. Whether we’re talking Tesla stores, Tesla service centers, or Tesla mobile service vehicles, the company is popping, and that means more and more people have a store, service center, or mobile service vehicle near them. That can only increase sales.