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Actually, Tesla is not the first auto company that is attempting to dispense of dealers. When Daewoo entered the UK in 1995, "their market research revealed that car buyers disliked dealers on commission, hard-sell, aggressive sales techniques, over exaggerated promotional campaigns and poor after-sales service" so "Daewoo set up its own dealerships with staff paid a salary rather than commission – trained, helpful sales advisors providing information rather than pressing for sales. Showrooms had crèches and children’s play areas and offered coffee. Cars were not serviced at the same location, but rather by the well-known retailer Halfords in their out-of-town service centres. The themes used by Daewoo to further differentiate itself included good value, reliable cars (3 year warranties, AA breakdown cover) with additional safety features (eg ABS brakes and side impact protection) and additional features and benefits that would otherwise be extra cost (eg power steering, no-fuss guarantees, courtesy cars or pick up and collection for services). The result was that in the first six months Daewoo sold a remarkable 14,000 cars in the UK."



Saturn was similar in some ways


You have a good memory!

If I remember...

The original Daewoo cars in the UK were based on old Astra (and other Vauxhall) models, with body panels that were just not quite as well defined as the Astra originals. This appearance was a bit like the tacky Rover versions of Honda cars or how we imagine Chinese 'knock offs' to look. They were competing against Lada and other low price motors at the budget end of the price range. I don't think the service-by-Halfords arrangement worked out too well for them and other dealerships tried their hardest to do them down. Nonetheless they were a disruptive presence in the marketplace - at the time I lived in a rural part of Wales and those Daewoo efforts were quite common.

In a UK context the Tesla dealerships are probably more akin to the McLaren dealerships (I think these are owned by M(a)cLaren, i.e. Ron Dennis et al., but they could be a franchise). McLaren are an up-market premium brand and, having a McLaren dealership in nearby Knightsbridge, probably isn't going to stress out the Ford dealers on the A5 (or rural Wales) in the same way that Daewoo disrupted things. I think our American friends are over-worrying about the 'threat' Tesla are to regular car dealers.

Ron Dennis is only a minority owner in McLaren.

The dealership is fully owned by the company as far as I know.

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