Dealers Attack Tesla Referral Program In California

Ah, the dealers just aren’t going to accept anything from Tesla, are they?

“No stores for you!”

“Referral program instead of stores? No way!!”

Poor punks.

Tesla-Model-S-Brown-AmsterdamGetting to the details,… as you should know by now, Tesla recently launched a referral program in which the referrer gets a $1,000 credit for use on Tesla products and the one being referred gets $1,000 off the cost of their new vehicle (read that article for a full backstory). Virginia and Ohio have already made Tesla change its program whereby the referee gets the full $2,000. Now, California dealers are contending that the whole program should be illegal. (lol)

“California’s main dealership lobbying group sent a letter to the director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles, Jean Shiomoto, to ask his agency to crackdown on the referral program,” electrek reports. “Car dealerships argue that the referral program would create unlicensed rogue car salespeople.”

With a disruptive technology that doesn’t fit the paradigm or expertise of conventional automakers, Tesla has had to chart its own course when it comes to sales, “fueling” (aka charging), and supply chain. Conventional dealers simply wouldn’t do right by the company, so Tesla created its own stores. Unfortunately, auto dealer association and even automakers like GM have fought back and tried to make it illegal for Tesla to open such stories. In some states, they have been successful and Tesla still doesn’t have any stores there as a result. This referral program offered a way for customers to replace (to some extent) stores and sales staff. It has been labeled a “test” by Elon Musk. The biggest thing being tested seems to be if it’s effective, but it looks like legality challenges are also part of the test… which Elon and his Tesla pride might not have anticipated.

We’ll keep you posted on any notable news in this regard.

Zachary Shahan

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.