Less than a year ago Tesla (TSLA) hired former Apple (AAPL) exec George Blankenship who was responsible for creating Apple’s hugely successful retailstrategy. Granted, the iPods and iPhones probably would have sold wellin a dilapidated shack in the woods, but Blankenship brings 30 years ofretail experience to Tesla. At the time Elon Musk commented: “Georgehas a record of building customer-focused stores that revolutionizetheir industries, and he does it on time and on budget,” said Tesla CEOElon Musk. “Tesla will have the best retail experience in the autoindustry as we continue to grow and prepare to launch the Model S.”
On Saturday, the first Applesque store opens on upscale Santana Row in San Jose, CA. The store is certainlycustomer focused allowing the customer to design their own Tesla, thensee it in action on the road. It will also be kid friendly with Teslahot wheels, coloring books and other distractions. However, the company wants kids to jump in the car and experience Tesla with their parents.
"We are revolutionizing the auto purchase and ownership experience,"said George Blankenship, Tesla’s vice president of worldwide sales andownership experience. "At a typical car dealership, the goal of thedealer is to sell you a car that’s on the lot. At Tesla, we’re sellingyou a car that you design. The shift is people say: ‘I want this car.’ "
"Every 6-year-old needs to be able to climb in the car," Blankenship said. "We want teenagers in the car."
The fancy Tesla store is probably more about building brand awareness ahead of the Model S launch in 2012 than it is selling the Roadsterwhich is featured in the store. With a price point in the $50K rangefor the Model S, they’ll need to create “a must have brand” similar tothe way Apple has done with its electronics.
Technically, shares of TSLA are very compelling here. The stock surged a couple weeks ago after Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock and set a $70 price target. Since then, the stock has pulled back tofill the gap and find support at the 50 day moving average which it isbouncing off of. This kind of move creates an ideal entry signal.