As electric car advocates have known for years, existing plug-in owners can make the best salespeople, answering questions and encouraging friends and family to dump the pump in favour of an electric car without the usual pressure that comes from a car dealership.
Earlier this year, Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] put that to the test, launching an experimental owner referral program designed to help increase its sales figures, incentivising existing owners to encourage friends and family to buy a Model S luxury sedan with the lure of a brand-new Tesla Model X crossover SUV, money off servicing, and a $1,000 discount off list price for their friends too.
With the original referral program over — and well-known Norwegian YouTuber winning the top prize of a Tesla Model X — Tesla has now announced a brand-new referral program which it says will run from November 1 through until the end of 2015.
As an email sent to existing Tesla owners details, the program will follow a similar structure to the trail referral program, with Tesla offering different levels of rewards for Tesla owners who make referrals.
As previously, for each referral made, Tesla will automatically knock $1,000 off the list price for the person making the new purchase, but this time it seems the $1,000 kickback offered previously in service credits is now not being offered to owners for each referrals they make. Tesla has’t given an explicit reason for this, but we’d hazard the financial kickback has been removed to ensure compliance with auto dealer laws in certain U.S. states.
Instead, those who make between five and nine referrals will be sent an invitation for two to attend the Tesla Gigafactory opening event in Reno, Nevada, transportation (but not accommodation) included. Those who make more than ten referrals meanwhile will be sent an invitation for two to attend the Tesla Model 3 unveiling event. Transportation and accommodation won’t be included for this reward tier, meaning owners wanting to attend will have to pay out of pocket to do so unless they happen to be local to the reveal ceremony.
To incentivize further, Tesla says the first people to make ten qualifying referrals in each of its three key market areas of North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific will receive a brand-new Tesla Powerwall Home Battery, complete with free installation. Meanwhile, the owner which makes the most qualifying referrals in each of the three regions will receive a brand-new Tesla Model S P90DL, complete with ludicrous mode, as well as a VIP invitation for two to the Tesla Model 3 unveiling event, including travel and accommodation.
To be eligible for the referral program, Tesla says participants must be a current Tesla owner or have a confirmed order in progress in order to make referrals. Moreover, referrals can’t be made to yourself (to purchase a second Tesla, for example).
To dissuade the social media frenzy of its experimental program, where some Tesla owners were shamelessly spamming forums, social media streams and YouTube with their own referral link, Tesla has changed the wording on its Good Faith clause to the rules surrounding the referral program.
“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,” it notes. “To be clear, commercializing or otherwise selling referral codes it 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.”
If you’re a Tesla owner, we’re curious if the new referral program incentives will change the way you talk to others about your car — or if you even think the referral program is a good idea. And we’d like to know if you think the referral program will help Tesla circumvent auto dealer regulations in the states where it is currently prohibited from owning and operating its own Tesla Stores.
And if you’re not a Tesla owner, we’d like to hear what you make of Tesla’s decision to continue its disruptive and innovative sales strategy.
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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