This past weekend I was at the King of Prussia Mall very briefly to pick up a few items for an upcoming trip. That is the one place I zip in and out of, parking near a less trafficked entrance, and practicing my long step to go as quickly as possible from entrance to destination.
Occasionally, one store gets my attention on the way, it's brand new and much bigger than it used to be and has a big white Apple on the glass pane.
I stopped short of it this time.
Right before it, I noticed a big crowd going in front of an open space. Inside, there were two brand new Tesla Model S cars, a white one, which I attempted to capture with my iPhone just before two kids would try to get into it, and a flame red one. That was the prettier one!
The chassis of a Tesla Model S on display in the store, showed onlookers what makes the electric system work, with battery compartments in the middle. The staff at the in Mall showroom used it to explain the benefits of owning such a car to several inquisitive individuals.
As the Inquirer writes, between the rear wheels are side-by-side round devices: the inverter, which converts the batteries’ direct current into alternating current, and the motor, which is closer to the size of lawn mower engine that a regular car’s.
Part due to the novelty, usually the car promotions are run in the middle of the Mall and don't look anything like a high end exhibit booth as the store did (right next to the Apple store).
They are also nowhere near that packed with people wanting to sit inside the car, try the doors, look at the trunk, and asking lots of questions while snapping probably better photos with their smartphones than I did with mine.
Yup, there is room for a small trunk even in the front, no huge engine.
Riding the wave
Tesla Motors is headed by billionaire innovator Elon Musk posted its first profit in the 10-years of its existence due partly by adding in zero-emission environmental credits.
The company intends to bring its Model S directly to consumers. At least one group is not thrilled about the proposition, and that is the U.S. auto dealership. We're very familiar with this fragmented environment as we kicked the tires on the dealership model of a year back.
With laws varying state by state (this is the case for insurance as well as taxes), the Tesla Model S is just plain not welcome in some locales#.
While I'm somewhat sympathetic with the dealers plea -- their system and business model has been in place for a while and is well established, even as its benefits are unevenly distributed (anyone who received poor service from a dealer is nodding). I have a harder time understanding the latest communication by Audi, attacking the Model S.
Then again, it is a sign that Tesla Motor is onto something that has appeal for the luxury market (for now).
Interestingly enough, one of the two models I am researching for my next new car purchase is an Audi due out in Q1 next year.
I do plan to blog about the experience of searching for information, comparing cars and models, signing up for newsletters from different auto makers, reading expert reviews, getting recommendations from friends, test driving at various dealers -- the works.
From the point of view of someone who is passionate about cars, yet not a "gearhead". Hint: I see a lot of content white space in there.
Time and buyers will tell whether the direct strategy will pay off.
I do like the idea of using the car as a social object, allowing people to get close to it, to learn about the technology that makes it work, and the ability to ask question in a store that seemed to exert as little pressure to buy as the one next door.
Certainly the younger children looked excited and interested.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.