Consumers are accusing Tesla of sleazy car dealership upsell tactics

Tesla sells vehicles directly to consumers online and through company-owned showrooms. The company has set itself apart from other autodealers with its electric model and superstar CEO (Elon Musk now has a Soundcloud single!), as well as by ensuring that buying a Tesla is a luxury experience. In its 2018 annual report, Tesla described its showrooms as “highly visible, premium outlets in major metropolitan markets.” Earlier in March, Tesla decided to raise vehicle prices in order to keep some of these stores open.
In other words, one of the most important things about Tesla’s brand is that there’s nothing sleazy about it. That’s why the upselling reports from online consumers are so concerning: They suggest Tesla is willing to stoop to the same sales tactics that any other auto dealer would use.
Such tactics may bolster Tesla’s first-quarter sales numbers and bring it closer to its financial goal of being profitable in the second quarter. Tesla is also in the middle of an end-of-quarter delivery push—Musk on March 30 tweeted a photo of a Tesla semi electric truck delivering Tesla cars—so some of the customers who reported delays could still get their Model 3 in the end. The company is expected to announcesoon how many cars it built and sold in the latest quarter.
But upselling and “bait and switch” sales tactics also risk angering customers, many of whom have already had their faith tested by multi-year waits for the $35,000 Model 3. And one of the last things Tesla needs right now is more disillusioned buyers cancelling orders and having trouble getting their money back

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