(Bobit) — Sources have told Electrek’s Fred Lampert that electric carmaker Tesla Inc. plans to open retail locations in every major U.S. metro market. The so-called “Tesla Centers” could open before the end of 2019.
The move would reverse a March decision to abandon any pretense of operating a network of physical showrooms. But it would be only the latest attempt by the California company and its CEO, Elon Musk, to skirt state-level laws restricting new-vehicle sales to independently owned and operated franchises.
Read: Musk Taunts Dealers as Tesla Shutters Stores
Last month, reports surfaced that Musk told employees the manufacturer’s current reliance on online ordering was unsustainable.
“Amazon would go bankrupt if they would have to wait for customers to be ready to take delivery before shipping,” Musk reportedly said in a conference call.
The latest news follows Tesla’s third-quarter sales report. The factory sold 97,000 vehicles worldwide, a record high but 3,000 short of its quarterly goal. Executives said those 3,000 units were ordered and ready to ship but logistical issues prevented them from reaching their buyers.
It is speculated Tesla Centers could ostensibly focus on the company’s Energy division and offer the option to learn more about and place orders for Tesla vehicles.
To solve that problem, Musk wants manufactured units to flow through delivery centers, sources say. But he would have to find a loophole to sell directly to consumers.
It is speculated Tesla Centers could ostensibly focus on the company’s Energy division, which produces solar panels, solar roofs, and the Powerwall home battery, and offer the option to learn more about and place orders for Tesla vehicles.
If those vehicles are held in inventory and delivered at Tesla Centers, a legal challenge from dealer associations will inevitably follow.
“We are getting information that shows Tesla is able to sustain some very strong demand right now and they are making moves to keep that going,” Lampert wrote. “… The automaker is going to focus its efforts on streamlining the delivery process and reducing lead times in order to try to achieve another delivery record this quarter.”
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