Friday, February 27, 2015

You won't have to deal with any fast-talking car salesmen in a Tesla showroom

A Tesla Model S at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack, N.J., where owners of the all-electric luxury hatchback spend the thousands of dollars a year they save on gasoline.


By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

The contrast between buying a Tesla Model S and a Toyota or any other car couldn't be starker.

Even more remarkable, you rarely read about the many high-pressure car salesmen that give a black eye to all of the major automakers.

We bought four Toyota Prius gas-electric hybrids between 2004 and 2009, and paid list for each one. 

I guess I should be thankful I wasn't hit with "added dealer markup" for models that are in high demand and short supply.

I'll be paying list for my Tesla Model S 60, but was able to pick options and place a $2,500 deposit online, using a credit card.

My car will be delivered in late April.

California-based Tesla Motors sells its cars directly to the public, and doesn't employ any fast-talking car salesmen or women.

What you will find are product specialists whose patience appears to be infinite when addressing all of the questions and concerns you might have.

If they have to meet the end-of-the month quotas so common at car dealers, I never heard about them.

I had many discussions with Tesla employees at a boutique in Garden State Plaza and the new showroom on Route 17, both in Paramus. 

I recall the nail-biting negotiations in October 2009 at Hackensack Toyota, where I traded in my 2007 Prius and purchased a 2010 model.

Despite its efficiency and environmental benefits, the Prius is a hard sell on the private market, and dealers always pay you less on a trade-in to leave room for their big profit.


Behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S 60 demonstrator at a showroom at 530 Route 17 north in Paramus, N.J., below.


Cheap gas, hybrid discounts

The April 2015 issue of Consumer Reports says, "Today's low gas prices could actually benefit hybrid buyers."

"Hybrids aren't selling as quickly as dealers would like, so they're offering big discounts on them."

The magazine reports, "At press time, you could easily find a $2,500 discount off a $25,o25 Toyota Prius or a $3,500 incentive on a loaded $32,950 Kia Optima Hybrid."

In April 2004, when I bought my first Prius, a gallon of Mobil regular was selling for $163.9 a gallon. I still paid MSRP.

By February 2007, when I replaced that car with a new Prius, Citgo regular was going for $209.9. Again, I paid list.

Tesla's one-price policy

At Tesla, there are no discounts and no incentives. Consumer Reports' invoice service and Costco Wholesale's buying club can't help you.

You don't get a better deal if you are a college student, and you don't have to worry that the salesman is hiding factory-to-dealer incentives.

Everyone pays the same price. What a concept.