Tesla’s $32,000,000 Mistake 😣

Tesla recently killed its most profitable program that turned hundreds of thousands of customers into salespeople. Who killed the program really? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9QapXri9iY

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// Tesla Referral Program
The Tesla Referral Program ended on February 2, 2019. All eligible winners must select their awards by April 1, 2019 in order to be fulfilled. After this, customers will no longer be able to redeem awards. Vehicle referral awards can be selected via the Tesla app, and solar referral awards can be selected via email survey.

Thank you for supporting the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Award Redemption

Award selections must be made by April 1, 2019. Awards will be fulfilled based on the timelines below once all eligible referral orders have been delivered.

Launch Your Photo into Deep Space Orbit: Tesla will request your image in February 2019.
Signature Black Wall Connector: Current shipping times are 6-8 weeks.
Model S for Kids: Model S for Kids will be shipped directly from Radio Flyer in 2-4 weeks. Those who choose to donate to a children’s charity will receive an email from the organization when the donation has been completed.
21” Arachnid Wheels for Model S or 22” Turbine Wheels for Model X: Wheels are shipped to your selected Service Center 6-8 weeks after award selection. Your Service Center will contact you once your wheels are available for pick-up.
Forged Performance Wheels for Model 3: Model 3 wheels will be available for installation beginning Summer 2019.
One Week with Model S or Model X: You will be contacted by your selected location based on availability. If you do not use this award, it may be given to a friend.
Priority Access to Vehicle Software Updates: Priority software access will automatically be granted until December 31, 2020.
Unveiling Event Invitations: Invitations will be emailed ahead of each unveiling event. Once each event is at capacity, remaining winners will be invited to the following unveiling event, prioritized by time of award qualification.
Tesla Credit: Credits are applied to your account within 1-2 weeks of selection from the app or solar referral email survey. All credits expire after 12 months.
Cash: Once survey responses are selected, checks will be issued within 4-6 weeks.
Founder Series Powerwall 2: Founder Series Powerwalls will be shipped in 2019. In Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific, customers can select credit toward other products in lieu of this award.

Secret Levels

Founders Series Roadster: Discount off the base price will be displayed in the Loot Box. No deposit is required. Discounts will expire one year after the Roadster becomes available for order.
Amazing Adventures: Winners who unlocked amazing adventures will receive further details at a future date.
Drive an Electric Boring Machine: Drive an electric tunnel boring machine with The Boring Company in Hawthorne, CA.
Watch a SpaceX Rocket Launch: Attend the launch of Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful rocket, in Cape Canaveral, FL.
Race the Tesla Semi: Race a giant electric semi truck around our test track. There will be additional prizes and trophies for the best track times.
Launch a Time Capsule into Space: Launch a personal time capsule into deep space orbit for millions of years.


Arnaud Ladrière says:

would the calculation and conclusion be identical if you add the cost of the free supercharging ?

niki123489 says:

Referral program works only on premium and more expensive cars. For low price cars tv advertising is better. Of cource Model 3 is not a low price car at all right now, but maybe in the future.

AwesomeSauce says:

Why not just adjust the discount percentage based on the vehicle sold. Ex: Model S/X: 2%, Model 3 Performance: 1%, Model 3 other: 0.5%

David Beaulieu says:

Nope it makes no business sense to bring it back. I disagree though I can see the appeal for you getting free crap.

Max Hatvany says:

That was very interesting…. When they were ending the referral program for free super charging for the life of the car that was when I ordered my Model S using my fathers referral code…. I love doing road trips through Europe without paying for fuel it’s magical haha 🙂 Why have they not put solar panels on all the super chargers?? Thanks for your show 🙂

2011krazyk says:

Great video, Ben! Loving the data analysis to help separate fiction from reality. I really hope they bring the program back, abeit with some tweaks to it (not *yet* an owner). Maybe all MS, M3P, and MX until later this year/early next year when *hopefully* DBE/ultacapacitors are in play, allowing Tesla to price the cars lower and still make the margin and revenue numbers expected. Tesla does need to continue to make their entire line-up more inexpensive.

gruivis says:

Tesla probably believes the negative impact from killing the referral program will be minimal due to rabbid fan loyalty. If that is true it would undermine your analysis. Seems to me that people are going out of their way to own a Tesla and that won’t change because the referral program was ended.

Keith Morris says:

How about relaunch it as the “Tell a Mate Program”
To keep costs in check but in proportion to the car purchase values the referrer and the mate should each get an account credit equal to 0.1% of the value of the car purchased.
After all Bjørn Nyland and all the other active creators that keep us informed & entertained should be given some reward from Tesla for their efforts.

Dennis Wagner says:

Evrerybody who would buy a Tesla already knows about them. There is no reason to advertise until EVs become more mainstream. When Porsche and Audi and others are producing EVs then Tesla will have to budget in advertising.

Damalia Marsi says:

I don’t understand why Tesla doesn’t use a MITRE (Micro Turbine Range Extender). I mean 210 miles of range for a base model 3 is great but if you could go 700 miles and fill up on diesel or gas with a turbine that weighs less than 50KG when you are taking long range trips that would be very useful for those of us who have long ranges to go. Could get rid of 100KG of batteries and still have 180miles of electric range and 700 miles total but not have to fill the tank if you are just driving around town.

Adolfo Montano says:

I see this video as just a “Why I deserve another free Tesla” rant.

YewTewbe says:

I’m going to assume this is a clickbait video and thumbnail again. I’m getting a bit bored of them Ben. $32,000,000 is a marketing budget, not a mistake. I assume you come to this conclusion but I’m not giving you 12 minutes of my life to be baited.

Victor Hugo says:

they killed it because pricks who had a free one from referrals, cancelled the real one, because they are pricks

Ivaylo Ivanov says:

You never mentioned that the referral program is useless, because Tesla is production constrained not demand constrained.

Connor 19 says:

“Alfra romairo”

B5429671 XJ says:

I don’t think they really make money on it. Tesla fans love showing their cars. It is more of a bonus and something people just search for to get a discount.

Allen Helton says:

Most of a Tesla fanboys will continue to make videos with or without the referral program and I doubt very many sales were generated because of the referral program those purchases would have happened with or without the program

Jevon Frost says:

Super Bowl add is not comparable as most of the Tesla youtubers are preaching to the converted.

Peter Pann says:

And then you need to consider how many YouTuber contents creators will continue doing what they do without the refferal program. You kind-of forgot that. It’s only the net positive of the incentive that makes the business case.

Eduard Pertíñez says:

It was a good move to create the referral program. And it was a good move to shut it down. Once Youtubers were getting so much free cars, it was clear that mouth to mouth was not working so much. If you give your referral code to a youtuber that means you don’t give it to the guy next door that showed you the car. And you do it because there is no guy next door “selling” you Teslas. Now, I don’t know exactly how the referral program worked but I imagine you don’t only opted for a 2% discount on a Roaster, that is only for very well known youtubers. You might have other incentives, didn’t you? If that is true then you have to add up all those other costs and not only the free roasters. All those people that got 5 or more referrals are going to have 10-20-30% discounts and they may use them to resell the car. If the discount is usable for other cars, they’ll use it in the future. Finally, the message and the effectiveness of it changes once you know that your trusted youtuber is getting paid. We (and Tesla) don’t want youtubers that keep telling us how good is the car, we need youtubers that tell us how good is the car and how bad is the service. Youtubers that own a Tesla and youtubers that don’t. Youtubers that go to Belgium to see the cars in the port because of the sake of it and not because they need 3 referrals more. Authenticity is the key here.

Forrest Olney says:

Bring it back it works, it’s cheep, it’s putting good people on youtube to represent Tesla and answer questions.

Morten Tønsager says:

Easy to fix. Should be % off sale. What correct % is I dont know but for an example 2-3% off sale make sence. Today with 2% off roadster can be 7-8% of buying cost off Tesla car and its to much. Lower % is still motivating and will make sense for Tesla.

Chezzeduck says:

They should bring it back but instead of free supercharging, faster delivery to Europe. Jk

andrew pender says:

Ponzi scheme. Would you say its worse than Herbalife? Which is better Herbalife or Tesla shares???

kermo says:

cancer in the title

MyHappyGecko says:

Did you include all the other prizes? Free supercharging. Free home charger. Free Tesla kids car etc.

Benjamin Rosario says:

How many views will they get without the referral program? You have to take the difference in viewership between having the program and otherwise.

Michael Schulze says:

I agree that some version of the referral program will came back, probably with reduced cost per referral, but not before the end of this year, and probably only after China Gigafactory is running.

Tesla needs to be very frugal right now because it’s kind of in a pickle because of how the US tax incentive works. Teslas cars will get increasingly more expensive compared to it’s competition at a point in time when that competition gets good enough to be an alternative (e.g. eNiro and Kona). Tesla gets kind of punished now for being the front runner. So they have to absorb that difference at least partially by lowering the prices, which they did and try to compensate with foreign demand (where they are not in a competitive disadvantage due to legislation), which they did and do by pushing the China Gigafactory.

From the business side it would even make sense for Tesla to push one of those Republican bills that want to abolish the Tax Credit, because it would level the playing field for Tesla. I don’t think Tesla will do that though considering their long term idealistic goals.

bbalila says:

I think Tesla should have a a program, where referral Person deliver & give Customer overview of the car. Tesla trained them about the process & in return they get $500-1k. Customer also get some thing like % merchandise or accessories discounts. .

MrCoreForce says:

Error in your math: Superbowl equivalents to unique views. Combined YouTube views over multiple creators are not, chances are high that a single consumer would view multiple YouTubers Tesla content, like 5 or more creator content streams multiplied by many video watched per one customer?

Zypofaeser says:

Give a few kWh to both parties. Dirt cheap, but quite useful. A MWh to each party is a few hundred dollars per person.

Dalisu Ngobese says:

I think you should make up your mind bro

Augusto Lori says:

I agree with you, Mr.Musk is not a man with one word. Despite this negative fact many people still follows him because he is a smart man. For example , the referral program is a very smart way to advertise a pruduct and it is incredible that Musk does not see that Tesla still needs that program.
I think he should focus on limits of power concentration and mega-management

TRY to HELP you says:

I don’t think they will bring it back, maybe something else though. I think the incentive we have is company that is successful at its mission that is helping us clean our air. Now if “big oil” wants to get back, they will have to make turbines and set them right next to superchargers. Then when cars are charging that gas turbine can turn on. And that may be a hilarious irony. How do you combat it? Make the energy cheaper than gas…. think we are doing ok right now. We gotta keep on it tho.

Warren de Moor says:

Your stats is bad you have no control on how many referrals they would be getting without the referral program. They need to cancel it to at least attempt to see what true affect it really had. Impossible to truly say in the end as its a different time, different reputation company now than then. They probably cancelled it to actually work out this metric.

Jan Messek says:

Remember the Scion marketing concept? No advertising => lower car cost!

Andy Slye says:

Tesla, bring it back. I double-dog dare you.

Si says:

Elon needs to see this YT instalment!!

Maxime Mineault says:

I think the referal program cost is a lot more complicated than just the entry price roadsters they have to give. Maybe they will give fully specs out as they did for model s and x, how many % discount people will use for those haven’t got 100%? How many powerwalls, toy cars, gears, trips, signature wall chargers, expenses to send people to unveiling events, etc etc etc. Even if those smaller things cost less each, I think they gave a really big bunch of thoses, and remember, the referal program was in steps, so if you won the biggest step, you wonnthe prize 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc up to the biggest, not only the biggest

JoFri24 says:

When they start model Y they will begin again to promote it. But that will be when the megafactory in Shanghai is ready and producing, 2 years surely. Give some advertisements or free charge time. But giving away YouTubers two roasters is ridiculous, some in Europe even want them for the high taxes to pay. About Bjorn Nyland after 3 years, he until today never got his second car. He won a model S with all extras.

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