New Customer Referral Program From Tesla

Tesla Model S referral program

Tesla Motors has announced a new customer referral program that went into effect on November 1 and will continue until December 31, 2015. If you want to buy a new Model S between now and then, get an existing Model S owner to refer you and get $1,000 off the price of your car. The referring owner is eligible for some cool prizes as well.

  • Top Referrers by Region — The owner that makes the most qualifying referrals in each of North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific will receive a Ludicrous P90D Model S and an exclusive VIP invitation for two to the Model 3 unveiling event, including travel and accommodations.
  • First to 10 by Region — The first to make 10 qualifying referrals in each of North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific will receive a Tesla Powerwall Home Battery, installation included.
  • 10+ Qualifying Referrals — Each owner that makes 10 or more qualifying referrals will receive an invitation for two to attend the Model 3 unveiling event.
  • 5+ Qualifying Referrals — Each owner that makes 5 or more qualifying referrals will receive an invitation for two to attend the Gigafactory opening event, including transportation to and from Reno, Nevada.

The company has not said when the GigaFactory opening or Model 3 unveiling events will take place, but both are expected to happen sometime in the Spring of 2016.

Tesla declines to pay for advertising the way traditional car companies do. Instead, it relies on positive word of mouth from its customers. The referral program gives the company a chance to say thank you to its customers who are responsible for the most new sales during the contest period. Tesla ran a similar contest earlier this year, but ran into trouble with regulators in several states because it offered cash incentives to the people who made referrals. Such incentives are illegal in some states, including California.

There have been other issues. Some people always try to “game” the system and Tesla has seen its share of charlatans and cheats. Here is the language its legal department added to the referral program rules.

  • Limits — You must be a current Tesla owner or have a confirmed order to make referrals, and cannot refer yourself. Only one referral credit can be applied to each Model S order; multiple credits on a single order are not permitted. Owners accepting giveaways will be responsible for any related taxes or government/third party fees.
  • Good Faith — We introduce programs such as these in good faith and expect the same good faith in return. Please note that we may withhold credits, discounts or other awards where we believe customers are acting in bad faith or otherwise acting contrary to the intent of this program. To be clear, commercializing or otherwise selling referral codes is not appropriate, and we will not honor such codes. We cannot cover every nefarious scenario, nor will we attempt to, but we do promise to be fair and reasonable.

Think Tesla is not different from other companies? Think again. When was the last time any of those other companies used the word “nefarious” in their official communications?


Steve Hanley

Closely following the transition from internal combustion to electricity. Whether it's cars, trucks, ships, or airplanes, sustainability is the key. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.