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Disappointing response from Tesla sales for National Drive Electric Week

jordanthompson

2018 P100D Model X
Apr 27, 2011
589
53
Satellite Beach, FL
I approached Tesla to represent themselves at our local event this year (they had come last year). Last year we had 300 people show up even though it rained the entire time. We had Teslas, Leafs, a Ford, even a Tesla /Toyota RAV4 whose owners all took people for rides. Porsche and BMW showed up with demo and static cars. All we asked Tesla to do was have a couple of sales people there to answer questions. They did and brought a couple of model S's to boot.

This year we are having an even bigger event with more sponsors (we aren't asking for donations, they are optional but most companies are donating.)

Long story short, Tesla sales (ran it all the way up the chain to California) has decided to pass on our event because there weren't enough sales generated from last year.

Maybe I'm missing something, I'm just an engineer, but I would think they should show up, if only to represent themselves. Someone please help me understand their reasoning.
 

bonnie

I play a nice person on twitter.
Feb 6, 2011
16,427
9,920
Columbia River Gorge
Disappointing, I'm sure.

I think right now it's 'all hands on deck' with all the other things going on. Help 'em out this year - display your car and get others to join you. You all can probably answer questions as good as (or better than) the sales folks. You LIVE with the cars. I'm sure they'll loan you Tesla flags and such to put up. And you'll earn their gratitude.
 

TTT

Member
Jul 10, 2014
359
14
San Diego
Disappointing, I'm sure.

I think right now it's 'all hands on deck' with all the other things going on. Help 'em out this year - display your car and get others to join you. You all can probably answer questions as good as (or better than) the sales folks. You LIVE with the cars. I'm sure they'll loan you Tesla flags and such to put up. And you'll earn their gratitude.
plus you can collect on the sales incentive
 

bollar

Disgruntled Member
May 1, 2013
2,667
881
Southlake, TX
Tesla declined to participate in the North Texas NDEW event as well. They've been good about participating in other area events, several with less prominence than NDEW, but I've never had any luck with this one.
 

skdave

Member
Jul 29, 2013
155
0
Lake St.Louis, Mo
Maybe it is time for Tesla to take care of their own sales and marketing. Most of the owners of the tesla cars have been working for Tesla for a long time without much support from the mother ship.
 

bonnie

I play a nice person on twitter.
Feb 6, 2011
16,427
9,920
Columbia River Gorge
Maybe it is time for Tesla to take care of their own sales and marketing. Most of the owners of the tesla cars have been working for Tesla for a long time without much support from the mother ship.

No one is requiring anyone to do anything. :) When I participate in EV events, it's because I want to do so.
 

anticitizen13.7

Not posting at TMC after 9/17/2018
Dec 22, 2012
3,638
5,870
United States
Maybe I'm missing something, I'm just an engineer, but I would think they should show up, if only to represent themselves. Someone please help me understand their reasoning.

I wouldn't take it personally this time.

Model X is supposed to begin delivery to customers in less than a month.

This will be their biggest automotive product launch until Model 3 in 2017/18, and there is probably a tremendous amount to do in terms of operations (supply chain, assembly line worker training, machine/robot calibration, shipping arrangements), staff training (sales & service), and last minute engineering tweaks (software, working with suppliers on stuff like the complicated 2nd row seat). I am sure that it is absolutely crazy at the company right now. This is one of the few times where I think it is plausible that they simply don't have anyone available to represent.
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,359
2,769
Redmond, WA
Sometimes they show up, sometimes they don't - in my area, they've been doing a lot better lately. They are always short-staffed, and there is always plenty of work at the stores (and delivery centers and service centers and tours; local employees often get drafted for work at other places), plus hundreds of local places that would welcome Tesla showing up and giving rides, so it generally comes down to opportunity costs. Can they sell more cars at the NDEW event, or at some other place? It may depend on the event location, and what type of people tend to frequent it.

I'm a big believer in National Drive Electric Week, which clearly does move quite a few cars (seriously, there is a huge spike in CA vehicle registrations afterwards every year - and even where it doesn't generate immediate sales, it plants a lot of seeds). But it is possible - I have not tried to find out - that it has a bigger effect on the lower end than the higher end. Pretty much every individual I have talked to at Tesla loves doing events like that and would be pleased to work an NDEW event; but they don't always get the choice. I believe the decision is usually made by the local sales manager, but I'm sure somebody higher up the chain could always trump them. Who knows, maybe during NDEW they will all be at mandatory Model X training meetings, but they can't tell us that. Likely the local people don't even know it yet.

They are more likely (though still not guaranteed) to attend an event if a specific individual champions it and agrees to do all the coordinating. If you know a particular employee that really wants to help, see if they are willing and able to do that. Giving them lots of advance notice helps; the stores keep calendars and booking well in advance helps ensure the necessary resources will be available; the first event on the calendar is more likely to win if they otherwise seem comparable.
 

MsElectric

Active Member
Oct 11, 2014
1,604
22
New York
Please don't take it personally as I'm sure they have their hands full with the impending X launch.

You had invited them to take part and they have told you they don't have the resources this time so what good is it to put the company on the spot about it? I feel it is unfair to invite someone to an event and then tell everyone when they decline your invitation. IMHO an Invitee should be free to accept or reject an invitation without it becoming news.

I bet if you get the word out to the Tesla community some owners would be glad to show up and speak to those interested about Tesla and the Model S. Perhaps Tesla can loan you some flags or any other material. Wouldn't that be a reasonable compromise?
 

Jaff

Active Member
Aug 15, 2010
3,135
326
Grimsby, Canada
We encounter the same difficulties here Jordan.

One of the things we have done is "represent" Tesla at some of these events through some of our local EV clubs (GHEVA & SOTOC)...we canvass our memberships to see who is available to attend these events...we almost always are able to come up with some representation...

I think Tesla's attendance in many of these events will be limited until the Gen III is out...jmo.
I approached Tesla to represent themselves at our local event this year (they had come last year). Last year we had 300 people show up even though it rained the entire time. We had Teslas, Leafs, a Ford, even a Tesla /Toyota RAV4 whose owners all took people for rides. Porsche and BMW showed up with demo and static cars. All we asked Tesla to do was have a couple of sales people there to answer questions. They did and brought a couple of model S's to boot.

This year we are having an even bigger event with more sponsors (we aren't asking for donations, they are optional but most companies are donating.)

Long story short, Tesla sales (ran it all the way up the chain to California) has decided to pass on our event because there weren't enough sales generated from last year.

Maybe I'm missing something, I'm just an engineer, but I would think they should show up, if only to represent themselves. Someone please help me understand their reasoning.
 

deliriousbb

Member
Aug 7, 2013
10
0
Los Angeles
Don't be discouraged. We appreciate you getting the word out and sharing your enthusiasm for Tesla. I agree with what others said, it is all hands on deck for Tesla. They are focusing on existing customers, potential ones, and also making sure expansion for other stores are in full swing. So they are probably stretched thin and need to make sure everything is running properly before they can focus on extracurricular events. I don't think they would mind if you got some owners and vehicles and displayed at the event. Like TTT said, you can collect on some sales incentive also. :)

Btw, we do not sale cars for Tesla, we do it because of the love for the cars, and what it stands for. (To be free from big oil and prolong a healthy environment for future generations).

I approached Tesla to represent themselves at our local event this year (they had come last year). Last year we had 300 people show up even though it rained the entire time. We had Teslas, Leafs, a Ford, even a Tesla /Toyota RAV4 whose owners all took people for rides. Porsche and BMW showed up with demo and static cars. All we asked Tesla to do was have a couple of sales people there to answer questions. They did and brought a couple of model S's to boot.

This year we are having an even bigger event with more sponsors (we aren't asking for donations, they are optional but most companies are donating.)

Long story short, Tesla sales (ran it all the way up the chain to California) has decided to pass on our event because there weren't enough sales generated from last year.

Maybe I'm missing something, I'm just an engineer, but I would think they should show up, if only to represent themselves. Someone please help me understand their reasoning.
 

tomas

Out of warranty...
Supporting Member
Oct 22, 2012
4,307
4,198
Santa Barbara/New York
Speaking as someone who spent years at trade shows... any business truly has to be discriminating about which ones to attend or you get eaten alive. There's always the argument "geez, all the competitors are there", or "it's important to be visible". But if you say yes to all of them, there's no time to dedicate to your planned work.

I also think sometimes this comes down to the confidence of the local sales leader. If they feel they've got to ask corporate, the answer will probably be "no". Some of the enthusiastic and confident ones would just do it - often on their own time. I suspect that will soon go the way of Starbucks baristas who know how to draw a proper shot of espresso.
 

Griffinlair

Member
Nov 22, 2014
70
2
Cincinnati, OH
I don't know the situation where you are at, but I do know in some States, (Ohio is one), there is a limited number of locations that Tesla is allowed to sell cars within the state. In Ohio they only have 3 licenses, so if sales employees attend something other than the stores in Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, they are in violation of the 3 location license. Owners can talk about their cars all they want, can talk pricing /whatever, but if sales does it, that's not allowed outside of the official licensed store locations.
 

techmaven

Active Member
Feb 27, 2013
3,618
9,768
Honestly, Drive Electric Week seems to cater more to existing EV owners. How many people would be introduced to a Tesla during Drive Electric Week? How many Leaf/Volt/Focus EV/i3 owners don't know about Tesla or driving electric? There are plenty of owners at that event anyways.

I think Tesla should, instead, branch out to Cars and Coffee (as a sponsor) or pay-for car shows. These expose people who aren't already in the EV camp to the possibility of owning EVs.
 

bollar

Disgruntled Member
May 1, 2013
2,667
881
Southlake, TX
Honestly, Drive Electric Week seems to cater more to existing EV owners.

Probably so, but ours has advertising at the host location, billboards and on radio. I think we're going to surprise many with our non-EV owner attendance. GM has committed three Volts and an ELR for ride alongs and Nissan probably something similar.

As you can see from the attached picture, this event's focus is to help non-EV owners learn the benefits of driving electric.

42adafad929a4acc2256ffe53ddaa334.jpg
 

techmaven

Active Member
Feb 27, 2013
3,618
9,768
Probably so, but ours has advertising at the host location, billboards and on radio. I think we're going to surprise many with our non-EV owner attendance. GM has committed three Volts and an ELR for ride alongs and Nissan probably something similar.

Very cool, I hope you get a good turnout. It seems that when I've asked Tesla in the past in my area, they've pretty much only focussed on their own events where they have signed up potential buyers. They did show up for a cookout with a bunch of doctors though.
:smile:
 

ChadS

Last tank of gas: March 2009
Jul 16, 2009
3,359
2,769
Redmond, WA
Honestly, Drive Electric Week seems to cater more to existing EV owners.

Just to dispel any misconceptions:

NDEW has to make the events fun for existing EV owners because it needs them to show up. But the entire point is for them to show up so they can show off their cars to potential owners. Owners sell EVs better than dealers.

Of course, by its nature there are a great many local events, each put on by volunteers and usually with no budget, so some events may achieve the objective better than others. But NDEW is all about showing cars to potential owners to get them to buy. There is national advertising and local advertising is encouraged; the national committee sends out information, compiles local media contacts and puts on webinars to help local coordinators target potential owners. The site selection process is very strongly encouraged to favor sites where members of the public will attend, even if accidentally.
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,299
7,596
Canyon Lake,CA
Local events like this are usually best supported by their local owners clubs. Very expensive for the factory to do everything necessary to send out a car and staff. The logistics of this are far more than just attendance of the event.

Local clubs can just send over a couple proud owners that can answer questions and wave the flag. They can give rides and show off their cars to interested people.

As you said, Tesla did this event once, and evaluated the results and decided not to attend again. Hard to argue with that logic.

GM has difficulty marketing their electric cars, and has a bunch of them stacked up in dealerships and their storage lots. They have super high incentive to get them additional visibility Tesla, on the other hand, is selling everything they can make. They are super busy launching a new SUV, so I imagine they can be forgiven for not going to this event.

Tesla has hundreds of showrooms where people can get their exposure under controlled conditions. They just remodeled most of them in anticipation of the fresh influx of people that will want to check out the new electric SUV.
 

neroden

Model S Owner and Frustrated Tesla Fan
Apr 25, 2011
14,676
63,885
Ithaca, NY, USA
I totally understand them not having enough manpower to show up.

The disappointing thing is that I'm going to be at National Drive Electric Week in Syracuse, NY and Binghamton, NY... telling people NOT to buy Teslas because of this:

Change of Policy on Tesla Ranger Service - Page 8

I would think Tesla would make some effort to set policies which allowed them to avoid LOSING sales at these events, but no, management seems set and determined to sabotage sales in the worst and most customer-upsetting way. I can't imagine why.
 

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