Tesla Hunting for Buyers at Nordstrom

EV maker opens mini-store in retailers Los Angeles location.

by on Jun.15, 2016

Tesla is opening a 400-square-foot "store" inside Nordstrom's location in The Grove in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Nordstrom.

Tesla continues to look for ways to gain new customers, and with its newest effort, new places to get them: Nordstrom.

The California-based EV maker is opening a 400-square foot “store” inside Nordstrom’s location at The Grove in Los Angeles. “Store” is a loose description because at this point, the automaker isn’t licensed to sell vehicles from the spot.

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However, starting June 18, shoppers at the high-end retailer can get a look at a Model X as well as arrange for a test drive on the streets surrounding the mall. Potential buyers can even spec out a vehicle, although the actual transaction must take place at one of Tesla’s dealerships.

The deal was put together by Ganesh Srivats, Tesla’s North American sales vice president and a former executive at Burberry, which already has business relationships with Nordstrom, according to Fast Company. Ultimately the logic seems sound: upscale clothing buyers are likely to also be upscale vehicle buyers.

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“[We’re] bringing Nordstrom customers a Tesla experience, and I think for Nordstrom as well, it’s like, How can we target Tesla’s audience?” Srivats told the publication.

After a slow production start, the Model X has suddenly become Tesla's best-seller, and now it can be seen and test driven at Nordstrom.

Right now any possible sales must be handled offsite. The company has a dealer in Century City, about five miles from the mall; however, that is likely to change.

“Tesla is currently in the process of obtaining a sales license, which will allow us to not only demonstrate the vehicles, but to actually sell them as well,” a Tesla spokeswoman wrote in an email to Automotive News.

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The company plans to keep the location open through the end of the year, but declined to discuss the possibility of other similar set ups in other retail locations, saying only that the maker is “excited to see how customers respond to it.

The move is not a stunner. Tesla has been looking for alternate ways to sell its vehicles since the first Roadster was produced nearly a decade ago. The company has set up shops in plenty of high-end malls, but those spots have been stand-alone locations.

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“This kind of innovation is just not going to be possible if we don’t have a direct sales model,” Srivats added. “Because ultimately we’re going to be restricted by the dealerships from engaging in the new playful ways that we’re able to do because we own our business.”

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