Withering Malls To Be Saved By Tesla?



Criswell predicts TeslaMondoThe good ol’ shopping mall is dying, sapped dry by Amazon et al, as countless headlines attest. But if you’ve been to a Tesla store lately, you’ve seen the foot traffic. Auto sales in general, and especially Tesla, may prove to be the cockroach that survives retail armageddon. Cars don’t fit into UPS trucks very well, and they’re hard to return for a refund, even if they make your butt look big.*

As Tesla’s model line expands and its overall company scope widens to include a host of clean energy solutions beyond cars, this may require at least some expansion of retail footprint.

Put these two trends together — withering malls but flourishing Tesla — and you’ve got a scenario where malls are no longer anchored by the likes of Saks or Nordstrom — but by Tesla. In fact, if Tesla moves to inventory selling instead of strictly build-to-order, the company might occupy much of the mall parking lot. Remember how Tesla scooped up the Toyota/GM plant at clearance-shelf pricing after GM’s bankruptcy? The same thing could play out at your local mall.

This will put a lot of pressure on states that ban Tesla sales. Do you want abandoned malls? Lost tax revenue? Lost jobs? Empty mall lots?

Criswell is given to rash thinking, so this might be 100% poppycock. But after a whole five minutes of analysis, it doesn’t appear so. Next up: movie theaters. They’re under pressure from Netflix et al, and they tend to have voluminous parking lots. This could be another opportunity for the auto industry in general. It might be the last brick and mortar (and asphalt) retail player.


Tesla, if you do inherit the mall, please buy out these mall kiosks and re-assign these cretins to toilet-scrubbing duty. And after six months of stellar performance in that function, only then should you consider issuing brushes.

* Sure, someday cars will ship themselves. And if you don’t like your new car, you’ll just crack a whip and send it galloping back to its origin. But let’s stick closer to the here and now.

*Editor’s Note: This and other Tesla-related posts appear on TeslaMondo. Check it out here.

Categories: Tesla


Leave a Reply

22 Comments on "Withering Malls To Be Saved By Tesla?"

newest oldest most voted

I know of a “Ghost Mall” in Elk grove they can come move into.

The whole point of Tesla stores in the first place was to feed off of the traffic in the malls. I would honestly imagine that if Tesla stores themselves became the prominent destination, they’d be much better off on their own property somewhre.

Here’s my suggestion to Tesla. Since Sears is likely to go bankrupt soon, buy up their real estate/stores. Put in sales and service centers in the stores – perfect since many Sears mall stores also have auto shops. Clear out the interior of the stores and use them for driving courses, auto cross, training, club meets, etc.

I like the cut of your jib.

Oh, why not. Might as well add charging stations and a Tesla-themed restaurant!

And with Teslas (no exhaust), you could have a drive-in department store, drive in restaurant, etc..

Not a bad idea. Only one drawback. Those Sears stores are in old malls in older parts of towns away from the upper middle class havens of the skirts of cities. The surrounding portions of the city where Sears stores sit are often not the best locations anymore.

You have a point there David.

But on the other hand, having Tesla at a mall would provide lots of foot traffic for other stores if they’re still around in there.

As a bonus, you could install lots of Supercharger stations, along with L2 chargers in the parking lot, making it a destination charging place so that folks traveling around in their Teslas can pick up a bite to eat, or watch a movie, or maybe buy some stuff in one of the stores in the mall.

They could also service Teslas as well, giving the malls even more reason to continue existing.

Of course, a lot of this depends on how well the dealership associations can paint this as a bad thing for the local economy.

The main reason why indoor malls have mostly died out in favor of outdoor malls, aside from the competition with online shopping, is because of the high rental fees for indoor mall space, plus the fact that shops are not allowed to set their own hours; they must conform to the mall’s hours. Those are two rather heavy demands working against the ability of a business to generate as much income as possible. It’s why most stores do better in an outdoor mall, where rents are cheaper and every store can set its hours to best serve its individual needs.

I don’t see how Tesla is in any unique position to change that equation. In fact, as has already been noted here, Tesla finds an advantage from being located in a mall because foot traffic will bring a lot more people into the store than would choose to visit otherwise. So that makes Tesla the very antithesis of an “anchor” for a mall. The anchors are what should draw shoppers on a regular basis, who the other mall tenants hope will then visit their shop too.

Also, being required to walk past the kiosk riff raff is enough to keep me out of our new indoor mall.

Yes. Many or most blog posts by TeslaMondo don’t seem to be intended to be taken seriously, but the “Criswell Predicts” bit here strongly indicates it’s intended as a nothing but a joke. For those who don’t get the joke, wannabe celebrity Criswell was known (to the rather limited extent he ever was) for making outrageous and absurd predictions. Malls need people to visit them with some frequency. That means they will be served well by stores which have people shopping at them several times a year, at least. Contrariwise, very few people shop for cars more than a few days every few (or several) years. When I visited the Tesla store here in Kansas City, I was surprised that no other potential customers were in the store. The sales rep told me that there were about 200 Teslae in the K.C. area* at the time (2015?), but at the particular time I chose to visit, I was the only one there. That doesn’t suggest to me that Tesla stores draw a lot of traffic; certainly not enough to support a mall. *I can already hear the peals of laughter at such a tiny number from those living in the… Read more »

Yes, that is the whole point of using mall to draw traffic to Tesla store, not the other way around…

Lease a mall store for a year for pennies on the dollar and that’s your new “delivery” center for the M3…Boom

Well, now a Tesla store need not be “just” a car veiwing / purchasing / servicing / charging location, but also a place to check out a new solar tile roofing solution, a more traditional PV solar array with or without battery storage, a place to buy some very nice/expensive Tesla accessories and at some point in time a place to do business with SpaceX, just in case you want to put your own satellite in orbit. Who knows, Hyperloop tickets and round trip tickets to outer space for those who want to experience low earth orbit {near future} or Mars for the younger crowd, when it comes available.

How can it not be popular!

In West Los Angeles two malls have closed in the last 20 years. The rest are thriving. The largest mall West of the Mississippi River, Del Amo Shopping Center in Torrance CA is undergoing an extensive remodel.

Tesla had their Airstream Roadshow there for two weeks in May. You could not get in the Airstream within half an hour the Tesla popup store was so jammed. No Tesla store in this South Bay section of Los Angeles. Tesla taking over the Sears location would be perfect.

I think most people at malls today go to grab a bite to eat,walk around, and people watch. At Del Amo you can grab a $2 pretzel or a $50 steak. Then maybe do a little shopping for stuff while you walk around.

Del Amo is an outdoor “shopping center”, more or less a collection of mostly non-connected plazas…Within the shopping center is an indoor/enclosed mall, it’s got very low end stores and the parking lot is always empty…

Outdoor shopping centers, sometimes called “lifestyle centers” are doing fairly well, most malls are not yet there are exceptions many of which seem to be CA…

Tesla stores aren’t on every corner. They tend to be in malls with the kind of premium traffic they want.

What electric vehicles _could_ do, is lead to larger amenity centers around on-the-road charging.

I’m sorry but I’m not buying that a mall, which serves 1,000s, if not 10,000s of people a day would be “saved” simply by a Tesla store what may at most draw in 100s of people a day.

Sure they could possibly help attendance somewhat but really who wants to go to a dumpy ass mall to go to the Tesla store? Is “hey, we sell our cars at dumpy malls” really the vibe Tesla wants to go with as well???

Not all malls are suffering equally. High-end malls where Tesla stores are located are doing well. For lack of a better term, blue-collar malls are dying out.
Retail will lose close to a million jobs as the disruption from online shopping sites comes to completion.

Brilliant idea. Please install superchargers in those malls. Lets say 6 chargers in which 4 are for Tesla vehicles and another 2 for non Tesla electric cars. This will help even those who have other company’s electric vehicles charge their vehicles for a cost and also take a peek at Tesla vehicles.

Since privately owned cars have at best one more decade of existence, this seems like a poor idea.

LOL no. I mean, it might be a poor idea, but the end of private car ownership in a decade? That’s delusional.