Reports say Tesla will move to an app-based program that promotes test drives and in-person referrals.
If you follow Tesla, you probably know all about its referral program, though it's been a bit hard over the years to keep up with it, since it changes from time to time. Basically, instead of using traditional marketing and advertising, Tesla counts on owners of its cars to help sell them. Tesla owners who rack up enough referrals get prizes.
We used to hear about updates to the Tesla Referral Program on a regular basis. However, this was during a time when the brand wasn't making a profit or enjoying the sales success of the Model 3, and now the Model Y.
Tesla has often given away free Supercharging as an incentive to get people to buy its cars, but also as a referral award. The company has gone so far as to give away cars, too. In fact, several Tesla owners that are also popular social media influencers won a Tesla Roadster (or two) years ago.
Yes, there were referral program winners who exceeded the eligibility requirements with such success that they actually won more than one Roadster. However, they've been waiting for those prizes for years, and it appears they'll be waiting a long time into the future.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned at one point that the brand would be getting rid of the referral program. Roadsters are expensive, and perhaps Tesla didn't anticipate so many winners, or more specifically, some people winning multiple times.
The program never went away, but it has kind of been under the radar for a time. It seems it has mostly just moved to giving away free Supercharging miles. However, according to a report by Electrek, Tesla spent $23 million on Supercharger mile giveaways last quarter alone, which certainly puts a dent in its financials.
Electrek says a source familiar with the matter revealed that Tesla is planning to get rid of referral links. The source said the automaker will move to a new app-based system that promotes in-person referrals rather than the links that people tend to spam all over their social media channels.
The report says there will be an update to the Tesla Mobile App for the new referral system. Details are slim at this point, but it looks like the app system will encourage owners to offer test drives, at which time the car owner and the potential buyer can link their Tesla Mobile Apps to achieve referral points.
This is a developing story. Once Tesla releases more details about the potential changes, we'll update this article or provide a new one. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts on this by leaving a comment below.