Tesla “Dealerships” Rank Dead Last In Sales Effectiveness Study


Tesla Store

Tesla Store

This year’s Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index, a study by automakers that “measures how well dealerships follow sales processes, such as asking qualifying questions and ultimately asking for the sale” has ranked Tesla dead last.

Fran O’Hagan, president and CEO of consultancy Pied Piper Management, says that Tesla ranking baffles him. He told Wards Auto the following:

“Tesla leaves me scratching my head. They own all of their stores, so you would think each one would be doing the same thing. But they’re not. Tesla is consistent in its inconsistencies.”

Basically, O’Hagan is saying that some Tesla stores perform well, while others falter big time.

Wards Auto adds:

For example, a few Tesla dealerships do all the right things. 

But such good habits are outweighed by lackings mystery shoppers found at most other Tesla stores where the staffers tended to act like “museum curators.”

They spoke knowledgeably about the products and answered customer questions, but shied away from asking for the sale in an ill-advised demonstration of underselling.

Most Tesla stores failed miserably in the trade-in department. The study shows that only 36% of Tesla sales people asked if the buyer had a trade-in. This is compared to 86% industry-wide. O’Hagan explains that trade-ins are a hassle for Tesla because the vehicles can’t be sold at Tesla stores.

Overall though, O’Hagan notes that automotive dealers have vastly improved in the past 10 years:

“There is no question the typical dealership sells more effectively today. However, plenty of variability remains. We have watched some brands completely change the way they sell, while others sell today no differently than they did 10 years ago.”

Meanwhile, Tesla has ranked dead last in this study for the past 3 years and has declined in ranking year-over-year.

Source: Ward’s Auto

Categories: Tesla

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26 Comments on "Tesla “Dealerships” Rank Dead Last In Sales Effectiveness Study"

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I think that is the way Tesla wants it….

Go tesla go…all the stealer ships can kiss tesla arse.

Well at least for me, I would appreciate the sales approach of Tesla salesman described here.

Two things to note here: this is a dealership-funded study, and furthermore nothing hampers sales more than being shut out of making any onsite.

This is actually positive news.

I used to work in the auto industry. I sold Volvos many years back.

This is obviously an evaluation of a typical format dealer BY a person who evaluates typical format dealers. So how would Tesla score ANYTHING BUT last on his scale? He is going by the standard dealer model that has been a plague on all consumers for the last 75 years….Work over the customer using their trade-in against the final purchasing price. Gee – you approach the car in a Tesla showroom and don’t get attacked by the hungry commissioned salesperson desperate for the sale…Oh my, you don’t get the camel trade scheme where the salesperson goes back and has a cigarette when he says he has to run your offer by his manager….And you don’t get run through the ringer for special protection packages and the big ringer: The Extended Warranty trap!

So this guy has given Tesla the best of compliments on how their staff behaves – respectfully letting the car sell itself.

No kidding.

And yet Tesla sells more cars every year and has a long waiting list, while ICE cars age on the various dealership parking lots…

There are no Tesla ‘Dealerships’ … only company owned stores with NO commissioned sales people … only highly trained staff whose job is to answer technical questions about the new products … just the way I like it!

Because the car sells itself. As the Best products do.
Chrysler needs a dealership network. Tesla doesn’t.

i think that the people who conducted this study don’t understand the concept of the product life cycle. you sell products differently depending on where in product is in its life cycle. teslas are still early adopter products. at the early adopter stage, dissemination of information is the most important part of the sales cycle. furthermore, asking a prospective tesla customer if they had a trade-in makes little sense. it’s not like each tesla store has a lot where they can take in and resell used cars. where this study does have some value, however, is in the context of the model 3. tesla’s distribution network is sufficient for low volume sales, but there are huge deficiencies that don’t support anything near high volume sales activity. in a high volume scenario, tesla has problems that are much bigger than those identified in this report. i’ve got to believe that tesla is well aware of this. in my view, the tesla-owned retail store concept is not scaleable. it would just be too expensive for tesla to maintain the “all in house” model that they currently use. but maybe tesla is counting on a massive shift in the sales cycle model for… Read more »

We’ll see.

I hate car dealership. It’s a shame and frustrating that one has to deal with a car dealer in order to buy a car. I wish future Apple cars or Google cars are all following Tesla sales model and racing to the bottom of that list.

Tesla in Montreal one of the best experience!!No hassle at all,knowledgeable,objective, brilliant bilingual guys,very courtois,excellent demonstrations,sufficient test drives. Highly recommended place,sensation of a new word….exciting new technology.

Well, It should also be taken into account.. Because of Tesla locations in malls, they get a lot of traffic of people who are curious, but not necessarily as interested as a customer who might go out of their way to go to a dealership. As such, they need to handle things differently.


Most astute comment in the thread.

Graphs not starting at 0 are used to let very small differences apear bigger than they are…

Thanks, that is such an annoying practice. I also hate when graphs with different scales are used to compare different products. Useful to impress fools, but not much else.

Thanks for pointing that out. It’s a pet peeve of mine when graphs are manipulated to grossly exaggerate relatively small differences, and I hadn’t noticed that’s what’s going on with the graph in this article.

This “study” is biased against Tesla in every way it’s possible to be. But that’s hardly any surprise, as traditional “stealerships” hate Tesla and keep trying to use protectionist State laws to prevent Tesla from making direct sales in their States.

This is proof that Tesla understands how people want to buy cars. I’ve never been in a Tesla dealership but I’ve been in plenty of traditional ones and hate them with a passion. They’re filled with predatory salesmen who are ignorant of the products they sell and will say anything to milk a customer for money. The average person can read a few articles about a car, and when he walks into a dealership odds are he’ll be more knowledgable about that car than any of the bloodsuckers who descend upon him.

Tesla’s reliability is a concern to me but their dealerships by all accounts are the Apple Stores of the automotive world. I could see myself buying a Model 3 after giving up on trying to buy a Bolt after a few dealers chased me away with their ignorance and lies. They’ve already done so a few times when I looked at 2017 Volts.

“…most other Tesla stores where the staffers… shied away from asking for the sale in an ill-advised demonstration of underselling.”

Well, I’m sure from the viewpoint of managers of traditional “stealerships”, Tesla’s approach of making car buying a pleasant experience, with no high-pressure salesmanship, no attempt to “steer” the buyer into whatever car the stealership is trying to move this month, no attempt to make a fat profit margin off upselling options the buyer doesn’t need, and no attached service center where customers are price gouged for replacement parts and service, much of it unneeded… Tesla avoiding all those things which make dealing with traditional stealerships so unpleasant or even traumatic, must indeed look “ill-advised”.

But this is a great example of how to “spin” something to make a positive look like a negative.

I also note a lack of any mention of the fact that in some States, Tesla employees are prohibited by State law from promoting sales, or assisting a would-be buyer in any way with a purchase. So what this biased study is denigrating as a “museum curator” approach, is in many States mandated by State law!

Spot on Pushmi!?



Could it have been Tesla stores where they are not allowed to sell Cars due to State anti tesla laws and the people conducting the survey were not smart enough to know this?

Of course the traditional dealers will attempt to spin this as a negative for Tesla and a positive for themselves, oh, and as good for buyers.?

“Worst” in this survey = best for consumers.