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Tesla Expands Dealer Network In Preparation For Model S Launch


Tesla's retail store concept

Tesla's retail store concept

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Last Friday, Tesla opened its first new retail outlet of 2012 in New York’s affluent Westchester County. Tesla Westchester will boast a Model S Design Studio, a hands-on a Model S drivetrain and an interactive display touting the benefits of going electric.

There are also four Model S Betas on display, which is a record number for a Tesla dealer opening. Clearly, the upstart electric automaker is taking the New York City marketplace seriously, and it’s pulling out all the stops to show customers the Model S will indeed be coming soon.

Expect to see a similar approach to retailing in future Tesla dealerships, too. In the words of Tesla’s vice president of worldwide sales, George Blankenship, “We put our stores in high foot-traffic locations so we can tell as many people as possible about Tesla’s incredible cars.”

Blankenship wants Tesla’s “amazing customer experience” to begin the second a customer walks through the door, even if it is just for information gathering. To ensure that the high-end automaker is targeting the right class of customer, don’t expect to see Tesla dealerships cropping up in suburban shopping malls anytime soon.

In fact, the next four dealerships will be opening in high-end retail locations in Santa Monica, California; Scottsdale, Arizona; Portland, Oregon and Miami Beach, Florida. The hope is that these stores will preach the Tesla gospel to new and existing markets and customers alike.

Tesla is set to begin Model S deliveries next month, and it claims a backlog of some 10,000 worldwide reservations for its electric sedan. The Model S can dash from 0-60 mph in as little as 4.4 seconds (in Performance trim), and can be configured with three battery pack options to meet pricing and range requirements.

The least expensive Model S sedan, which comes with a 40 kWh battery pack good for a 160 mile range, will be priced from $57,400. The mid-range Model S will get a 60 kWh battery pack, good for 230 miles of range, and a price tag of $67,400. Finally, the Model S with the 85 kWh battery pack will return a range of 300 miles, at a price tag that starts from $77,400.

The first 1,000 Model S deliveries will be range-topping “Signature Line” cars, which begin at $95,400 for the standard model, or at $105,400 for the Performance model.
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