All good things must come to an end.
Tesla has made many modifications to its referral program over the years. Not all of these changes have been received with open arms. But one of its ultimate highlights was when it gave away free Roadsters to existing owners who managed to accumulate enough referrals that turned into sales. For an automaker that lacks a PR department, official advertising, or anything in between, having existing customers refer new ones was vital to building the brand.
Today, Tesla is the world's most valuable automaker and it has its customers to thank. But instead of improving the referral program, the California-based EV carmaker is shutting it down entirely.
Per Electrek, Tesla has now officially ended its entire referral program with the exception of one component: its solar roof. The report does mention a revamped referral program is expected to debut at some point in the near future but no details are available yet. The program's death just happened this past Saturday when Tesla stated in a blog post the following: "As of September 18, 2021, vehicle products, and solar panels are no longer eligible for Referral awards."
But the solar roof business is something entirely. In fact, Tesla is expanding the program to $500 per customer system activation. This whole thing probably comes as a huge disappointment for many owners.
Not only did sales of the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y go through the roof partially as a result of it, but existing drivers managed to earn things like free Supercharging miles and credits towards purchases at the Tesla online store for things like vehicle accessories and even apparel. The program worked so well during the Roadster promotion that Tesla will be giving away an estimated 80 examples. That will, of course, require Tesla to actually launch the second-generation Roadster first. This will now supposedly happen for the 2023 model year.
For now, the lack of a referral program isn't likely to dent Tesla's bottom line but it probably does leave a sour taste in many loyal customers' mouths.