Remember? Musk said in February that he has a secret weapon (skip to 55:52) to boost demand AND screw around with the dealer lobby, and he said he might deploy it later in 2015, though it wasn’t totally necessary. TeslaMondo figured the company’s new pop-up mobile stores comprised the secret weapon. Well, the new referral program — through which Model S owners get $1,000 in “store credit” for referring a customer through an authorized link, and the new customer also gets $1,000 off the selling price — seems to fit the description just as well.
This experimental program probably serves three functions:
1. A preemptive move to ensure continued Model S demand under the shadow of mighty Model X. Seriously, what if that thing is too good? Note that the grand prize in this referral program is a Model X, not a Model S. Insert dragnet theme here.
2. And, as Musk is telling the press, amplifying word of mouth in lieu of expensive storefronts and the associated legal agita.
3. Bonus: It gives Tesla shorts something to squawk about. Could this be the first crack in the dam? Oh goody!
Well, one thing is for sure: Surveys suggest Tesla owners like to proselytize*. When a survey arrives, they don’t ignore it. Surely they radiate enthusiasm with friends/family/coworkers too. Now they can get paid for their enthusiasm.