The glass-fronted store showcases two Model S sedans and its ‘skateboard’ chassis downstairs, while “a quiet and more private lounge environment” upstairs is reserved for potential buyers, according to a Tesla statement.
Australian Tesla owners were invited to the store’s official launch party last week ahead of its public opening. Future customers will be able to mix and match exterior colour, interior trim and wheel/tyre selections on the store’s walls before using one of several touchscreens to purchase a Model S or reserve the forthcoming Model X or Model 3.
Speaking with GoAuto at Tesla’s Sydney store launch event, senior manager of marketing and communications Heath Walker said the store’s location fits with the image of the electric vehicle brand, but he confirmed there were no plans to open a flagship store anywhere else in Australia.
“The main aim is to have a flagship store for Tesla but under the model that we have adopted, which is direct to consumer under a retail environment,” said Mr Walker.
“We go to where the people are rather than people coming to us, and what I think is great about this is the actual store looks in the right environment, it fits here, it sits well with our brand and it’s the right audience here in Sydney.
“From a retail perspective I don’t think we’ll have a store of this size again. This is a flagship. I think we’ll look (in the future) at more of a shopping centre/retail style setup not dissimilar to what we’ve got in Chadstone (Melbourne) but with a proper storefront scenario.”
Tesla will be the only car manufacturer with a store in Sydney’s CBD. Martin Place has one of the world’s highest store leasing costs, with Emporio Armani and Rolex among the high-end fashion outlets with surrounding flagship stores.
Currently Tesla has “pop-up” stores in shopping centres in Melbourne’s Chadstone and Doncaster, Golf Coast’s Pacific Fair and Sydney’s Miranda, however Mr Walker anticipates these external mall-style stores will migrate into proper shopping outlets in the future.
“We’re not stopping (store roll-out), and those (pop-up stores) work two-fold, they not only engage and educate a new audience but they also trial those new locations as potential future stores,” he continued.
“From a roll-out point of view Brisbane is certainly a market we want to accelerate into, we’re already running test drives there and doing pop-ups … it’s just about finding the right location there.”
Mr Walker added that the opening of Sydney’s flagship store, and the addition of a greater number of shopping centre outlets, would help prepare the brand for the introduction of the Model X premium SUV late this year and the Model 3 medium sedan next year.
He added that the opening of the flagship store was particularly timely because, “Whoever walks into a Tesla store now has three options.”
“They can leave with a Model S knowing that it’s got as much storage as an SUV and drives like a Model X will. If they need six or seven seats they will obviously buy a Model X and they can put in a reservation for one, and soon will be able to purchase one. If neither of those cars are the right cars they have the cheaper Model 3 coming down the line, which they can put in a reservation for.
“There’s really now a true solution for everyone in the market.”
Mr Walker said buyers of the Model S were currently experiencing a wait time of three to four months, and the most popular model grade in this market continues to be the flagship Model S 90D. Tesla does not, however, report sales figures to industry body VFACTS.
By Daniel DeGasperi