In November 2019, Tesla unveiled its first entry into the American pickup segment. CEO Elon Musk proudly introduced the electric, angular Cybertruck at a special event in California, but the debut took an abrupt turn when presenters tried to demonstrate the Cybertruck’s durability.
Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen started the show by slamming the side of the vehicle with a sledgehammer. The doors held strong, but the evening turned rocky when he tried to showcase the windows’ strength. In front of a packed auditorium and a host of cameras, Holzhausen tossed a metal ball at the driver’s side window, creating a huge crack right in the middle. To make matters worse, he tried again, and the second window cracked just as easily. The industry has been buzzing with commentary ever since the incident, and dealers can take some valuable lessons from Tesla’s mishap.
Based on Elon Musk’s choice of words, it was clear that no one expected the windows to crack. This mistake certainly didn’t make the visually radical Cybertruck any more appealing, and it will take serious effort to recover from the incident.
Likewise, a potential sale is no time for surprises, so your team must know each model inside and out. Every driver is looking for a vehicle that meets their own specific criteria, and you’ll need to have answers for whatever questions they might bring with them. A dealer that can’t explain their stock in detail is like a famous singer who forgets their own lyrics on stage. It’s awkward at best, and you can easily lose the confidence of your audience. Make sure your team has studied up on your inventory so that no one gets caught in the headlights.
Have a Plan
After the unveiling, Tesla determined that they made a crucial mistake in the presentation’s planning.
Musk and company could have avoided the bad publicity if they had simply tested the windows before rattling the door with a sledgehammer. The impact compromised the glass’s stability, leaving it far more vulnerable to Holzhausen’s fastpitch. Similarly, the sales process involves crucial steps that build on each other. If you rush through a sales call, run a promotion where no one will see it, or fail to follow up, you may miss out on potential business.
Understand What Your Customers Want
Even before the windows cracked, the audience was stunned by the Cybertruck’s unique appearance. Critics and commentators have had a field day ribbing on the retro-futuristic design, and some point out that it might not appeal to the average truck driver. Even though the truck has plenty to offer – impressive efficiency and power – its design shows that Tesla wasn’t focused on fitting in with the established trends.
Before you run an ad campaign, partnered promotion, or special offer, do your research in the market to determine what drivers in your area are looking for. There’s no sense in putting effort into something that there is no demand for in the first place.
Master Your Market
Strong Automotive Merchandising combines expert insight and cutting-edge tools to help you reach your audience with a clear, effective message. If you would like to see how our services can help your business, feel free to contact us.
John Paul Strong
John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 140 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive Merchandising.
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