Blankenship Departure Underlines Tesla Retail Issues

Going down with the Blankenship?

Going down with the Blankenship?

For all the praise it receives for “innovating beyond internal combustion,” there’s nothing especially unique or disruptive about Tesla’s core technology.  On the other hand its approach to automotive retail, forgoing dealerships for direct sales, is both unique and potentially very disruptive. Especially at a time when some of the biggest OEMs in the US market are opening  online sales channels that could someday allow online-only retailers to bypass the dealer franchise system. With the man behind Apple Store and The Gap retail successes leading Tesla’s direct-sales strategy, car dealers have had good reason to worry that the future might be passing them by.

Now with Tesla under NHTSA investigation for what is clearly an anomalous incidence of fires and effectively banned from retailing in one of its largest potential markets, Tesla’s retail guru has suddenly and quietly retired. As much as the fires themselves, this is another clear sign of Tesla’s growing pains… and possibly the most concerning.

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