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Tesla may be ready to ditch the fancy retail shops for good, report says

A new report says pricey locations at shopping malls are out in favor of low-cost retail centers, remote test drives and additional delivery centers.

Tesla store
These may go away soon.
SOPA Images/Getty Images

It may be the end of the road for the boutique-like Tesla stores found in numerous shopping malls across the US. According to Wednesday report from Electrek, citing sources familiar with the plans, the carmaker will drop these locations in favor of cheaper options. Specifically, Tesla reportedly wants to locate less expensive retail spaces and shift its focus to delivery centers.

With this reported shift, which Tesla hasn't confirmed, retail employees would move to some sort of new, cheaper locations for the company to operate. In addition, more employees would work remotely at a virtual hub for customers to have their questions answered. Tesla may give this new virtual workforce the power to guide potential buyers to remote test drives without needing to actually rent space in a high-foot-traffic shopping center. Meanwhile, larger delivery centers may pop up and potentially combine with service centers.

Tesla does not operate a public relations department to field requests for comment, so it's unclear how close the company is to making this shift. However, it's wouldn't be the first time the company wanted to shake up the way it sells cars. Years ago, Tesla announced plans to close all brick-and-mortar locations in a shift to online car buying. Shortly after the announcement, the company reversed course and kept most of its physical retail stores open. The new plan feels more like a hybrid approach to the initial proposal. Tesla gets to ditch big-dollar retail spaces, save money but still keep a physical footprint in areas for customers to kick the tires on its EVs in person.

We'll have to wait and see if Tesla pulls the trigger on this operation. If it does, buying a Tesla could become even more hands-off.