For all the flack that Tesla has been catching in the past few years, there are some surprising admirers of the innovative company. Lexus recently joined the fanboy list, although its executives would likely bristle at such an accusation. Still, Jeff Bracken, who is the luxury brand’s chief in the U.S., divulged in a recent interview with Ward’s Auto that he thinks Tesla’s mall stores are “clever” when it comes to their ability to engage car shoppers in ways traditional dealerships cannot.
The Model S has been a disruptive vehicle in the luxury car segment of the market, especially in California, which happens to be the largest automotive market in the United States. Because of that fact, other luxury brands are studying the new kid on the block, trying to figure out how to beat or join it. The latter option just might be the future, considering that the Model S is the second best-selling Upper Luxury Car in the country.
Bracken explained that the mall store sales model is effective since many car shoppers do the majority of their research online. A soft retail environment in a mall is seen as nonthreatening to younger buyers, or the elusive Generation Y that other automakers are working hard to capture. Some have even declared that younger consumers just aren’t interested in cars, a fact that has been flouted by Tesla’s youth appeal.
Despite his admiration for Tesla’s sales model, Bracken still insists that Lexus has no intention of switching up how it sells cars. At least for now that’s what he is saying, but he still said that Lexus is observing how the model works out for Tesla.
Don’t expect Lexus to open up any manufacturer-owned stores anywhere in the future. Not only would such a move outrage its dealer network, it would put the luxury brand square in the crosshairs of laws that have been enacted in numerous states which ban anything resembling direct channel sales for vehicles. Bracken said that if Lexus were ever to go the route of stores in shopping centers, it would be done through its dealers.