Is Tesla a Napster or an iTunes?


Tesla is the latest product to be attacked by traditional business. The new start up company out of California is reinventing automobile purchasing… maybe.  Several states are outlawing sales of the automobile you can only buy online.


Auto dealers married to the idea of using salesmen, sales managers and controlling purchases (and purchasers) want their businesses protected. They fear losing profits in a system they have had control of for almost a century. They have a right to fight… Now, I am not saying they are necessarily right in their argument.

 But this argument calls to mind a similar situation in the late 1990s. Remember Napster? The online company that gave music file downloads (mp3s) away for free? The recording industry went to congress and had the service halted and forced Napster to charge fees to protect the rights of the recording artists and their industry (Rightly so).

But the proverbial genie was out of the bottle. Consumers liked (make that LOVED) the idea of downloading personal music to listen without the hassle of going to a store or purchasing a complete album/CD of music just to get one hit song. Now even major companies like Best Buy are ending CD sales forever due to the popularity of mp3 purchases without having to enter a physical store. Downloading has become the industry norm.

Enter iTunes… a service which struck a deal with the recording industry and delivered songs via its proprietary devices (the iPod, the iPhone and iPad). Now Tesla comes along and provides a less hassling process to purchase an automobile.

The question then: Is Tesla a Napster or iTunes? Will they strike a note with consumers who hate (absolutely HATE) “dealing” with salesmen, or will they be forced to shut down like the innovative Tucker automobile which succumbed to pressure from big auto manufacturers in the last century?

So who will win… the car dealers or Tesla? They say it is up to the individual states. The laws in states and the nation may be amended or enforced, but in the end the buying public will (as always) determine the future of the market. And YOU, the individual will determine the winner!

 What do you think?

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