13 Mar 2019

Tesla Shutters Its Showrooms…Or How I Bought a Car In My Pajamas

If, between ten and twenty years ago, you had been hanging in the better zip codes of Houston or Dallas, you know that the number of big Benzes and BMWs could look like an infestation; you were literally swarmed – and again, this was in the better zip codes – by drivers behind the wheel of S Class Mercedes and 7 Series BMWs. Twenty years later BMWs and M-Bs remain highly visible, but not the big German sedans. Instead, we have in their place the Tesla Model S, whose sales have essentially usurped that of Germany’s luxury models.

With Tesla’s growing popularity came an increasing number of Tesla galleries. That, of course, was then; with the recent announcement (make that ‘surprise announcement’) that most of those Tesla showrooms will be closing, those interested in a Benz or BMW alternative will have to shop online, now the only predictable way of securing your Tesla.

Any number of online mainstays will tell you buying a car online is as easy as buying a sweater online; on that, we’d beg to differ. While a sweater may move with you, in a car you’re moving with it – and that dynamic difference is important to both your enjoyment of the car and, ultimately, your degree of security in that car. In short, test drives matter – and you can’t test drive a $75,000 transaction with your mouse. The showroom closures and staff reductions are reportedly made with an eye toward profitability, but as at least one analyst suggests, Tesla isn’t Apple. And if the closings are any indicator of the carmaker’s current financial health, soon it may not even be Tesla.