Riddle me this, Batman. When is an illegal store no longer a store, and therefore no longer illegal? When it has wheels. Surely Tesla’s surprise 20’x35′ mobile showrooms are the secret weapon teased by Musk in February. You might recall the weapon had a dual purpose:
1. “Demand generation.” Also known as selling.
2. Castrating the dealer lobby.
Direct quote: “I do have sort of a secret weapon on the demand side that I’ll probably start to deploy later this year, for demand generation, and we’ll see how that goes. It isn’t totally necessary, but it could get pretty interesting, and I could work it against the dealers.”
Will these container stores invade anti-Tesla zones, setting up shop like micro-carnivals, raking in a few dozen deals and then hitting the road before the cops show up? Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves? Will Cher tag along?
It’s all too funny. The company of the future, smacked by century-old retail regulations, counter-attacks with a business model that’s even older: the good ol’ road show! If no landlord will take you in, just make like The Who and go mobile. Surely that song would provide the backdrop for a Tesla road show advertisement, if only such a thing existed.
Here’s a mobile pop-up store in England, where laws already allow factory-direct auto sales. Apparently skirting the law isn’t the only raison d’être for these stores. They’re really about taking the product to the consumer instead of vice-versa. Ever-trippy Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry adds color here.