Tesla's New Pyramid Scheme Program Is Really Going To Wind Up Dealerships


Refer a friend, win a car!

There are a lot of ways in which Tesla is unlike ordinary car companies. For the sake of brevity we’re only going to highlight one: car sales. Every automaker but Tesla sells cars through a franchised dealership which often offers a ton of gimmicky deals in order to get customers in. Tesla operates its own salesrooms—though not all states love that—and has just introduced a new promotion that makes “$1,500 cash back!” look like crap. It’s basically a pyramid scheme but less nefarious.

If you buy a Tesla online using a referral link from a current owner you will receive $1,000 off. The person who referred you gets $1,000 that can be spent on a new Tesla, parts, service or accessories. If you refer five new buyers you get a tour of the company’s new Gigafactory (it makes batteries) in Nevada. If you refer 10 people you get $20,000 off the Founder’s Series Model X. If you’re the first in your region to get 10 people to buy a Tesla/subscribe to “Good Housekeeping” you get a loaded Model X for free. Of course the top-tier incentives are unattainable for most people but the ground logic is sound, at least according to Elon Musk.

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Musk says it costs about $2,000 more for people to purchase a Model S in stores, so he’s hoping the $2,000 incentive will drive cheaper online shopping. Dealerships across the country would love that as it would mean less new Tesla stores. The trial program is running until the end of October but may be extended if the early results are good.

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