- Mark Brake / Getty Images
- Tesla will end its owner referral program on Friday, February 1.
- The referral program has allowed Tesla owners to receive rewards based on the number of customers who use their referral code when buying a Tesla vehicle.
- Some Twitter users and members of Tesla’s online owner forums expressed disappointment that the automaker is ending the program.
- Others defended the move.
Some Tesla customers are expressing disappointment as the automaker’s referral program nears its end.
The referral program has allowed Tesla owners to receive rewards based on the number of customers who use their referral code when buying a Tesla vehicle. The rewards have changed over time, but the most recent ones included a home charging unit and the ability to receive software updates before other owners.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on January 16 that the referral program would end on February 1 due to its impact on Tesla’s finances. He added that the automaker would not replace its current referral program with a new one.
“It’s adding too much cost to the cars, especially Model 3,” he said.
The move comes as Tesla seeks to prove it can become consistently profitable. The automaker posted just the third quarterly profit in its 16-year history during the third quarter fo 2018, and Musk has said the automaker’s initial accounting indicates that it had also made a GAAP profit during the fourth quarter, though a smaller one than in the third quarter. But in a January email to employees announcing layoffs that would affect 7% of Tesla’s workforce, he said the automaker faces significant challenges as it seeks to introduce lower-priced vehicles like the long-awaited $35,000 version of the Model 3 sedan.
“The road ahead is very difficult,” Musk said.
Some Twitter users and members of Tesla’s online owner forums expressed disappointment that the automaker is ending its referral program
“Bad move. Do you plan to spend millions on classic advertising now? The referral bonus was a nice gesture to the enthusiastic Tesla drivers which spend countless hours educating potential new Tesla customers,” one Twitter user said.
Others defended the move, saying they understood the financial benefits of ending the program.
“I think from the business standpoint the referral program made sense when the company was a small startup not known to everyone,” said one user on the Tesla owner forum Tesla Motors Club. “But today when almost everyone has already heard of Tesla, when the company has surpassed many traditional automakers in valuation, when the Model 3 is outselling every other car in its class, what’s the point of referral?”
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Here’s what people are saying about the end of Tesla’s referral program.
I freaking knew the @Tesla referral program would need a TWEAK for the company to remain afloat in the future, never did I ever think that they end it. #TeslaReferral Congratulations to all of those who reaped the rewards and effectively screwed the ones who would follow you.
— Kenny (@KennyRS) January 29, 2019
Thanks for the opportunity @elonmusk & @Tesla. I was fortunate enough to become the world’s top Tesla referrer by publishing Model 3 videos on YouTube & have helped hundreds of people become new Tesla owners. It was a pleasure. I’m looking forward to some fun with my Roadster! ????
— Andy Slye (@slye) January 17, 2019
@elonmusk I have reached 30% off the Roadster which is an incredible discount but one that still keeps that car out of reach by a wide margin. As the program ends, is there any though to allow that discount to be parlayed to other cars — say Performance 3?
— Teslatunity (@Teslatunity) January 17, 2019
Elon, I'd like to say thank you for the referral program, because it truly changed my life. No other car company would do something like this (and in fact, they haven't), so just…THANK YOU. In ~2020 I will get to live a day I literally never could've imagined because of it.
— Ryan McCaffrey (@DMC_Ryan) January 17, 2019
oh no.. i'm saving up for my model 3 since many years. i won't be ready in time (given the cheaper options aren't available in europe yet)…
i'm missing out on all the fun parts 🙁 bad 'happy birthday' tweet to me, apparently.. 🙁 not cool, elon..
— davepermen (@davepermen) January 17, 2019
Ok, I’ll keep referring regardless
— Marge ???? (@Manic_Marge) January 17, 2019
Why shut it down completely? Why not add low cost tires instead.. like invitations to exclusive events and tours in factories. Like if you sold 500 cars you get to try spacesuit from SpaceX and sit in the crew dragon. Much cheaper than offering a 200k roadster after 50 referrals
— Jim Johansen (@Ijim_johansen) January 17, 2019
???? cue the sound of hearts breaking ???? but I get it, it's time ????
— Bev Scott (@bevvscott) January 17, 2019
Bad move. Do you plan to spend millions on classic advertising now? The referral bonus was a nice gesture to the enthusiastic Tesla drivers which spend countless hours educating potential new Tesla customers.
— Chris / Prefect (@Chrischael) January 17, 2019
I'm only surprised it lasted this long. Whether or not I earn chits, I've been promoting EVs for years —and will continue to do so. Eliminating tailpipes is everyone's reward. @LikeTeslaKim @Model3Owners @lexiheft @teslaownersSV
— Mark Larsen (@yanquetino) January 17, 2019
????????♂️????????♂️raising prices by taking away options for Battery packs and now no referral program it will be interesting to see how this effects sales. Maybe this an intentional slow down so they can catch up on staffing for Customer Service and the repair side?
— Teslaology (@teslaology) January 17, 2019
Tbh it's probably just not necessary anymore with the Model 3 being in the hands of hundreds of thousands of people. They sell themselves to friends and family, no referral needed.
— Michael Hart (@hartmichael) January 17, 2019
Waw, now that I’ve convinced my mother to buy a #Tesla to replace our car next year you end the referral program… Let’s hope this is a joke because I love the black Wall connecter. You’ve disappointed me Elon????
— Alexander (@Alexand14067305) January 17, 2019
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