Tesla will end its buyer referral program for ‘adding too much cost’

At the end of the month, Tesla will end a long-running referral program that offered incentives for existing Tesla owners to help drive sales. In its recent iterations, the referral system gifted new buyers who found their way to a Tesla through a friend with six months of free charging at Supercharger stations.

Most recently, the referring friend would become eligible for a set of characteristically outlandish prizes, from launching a chosen photo into deep space orbit to a VIP invite to one of the company’s flashy unveiling events, depending on how many qualifying referrals were made. Tesla’s oft-chatty chief executive characteristically announced the news in a tweet.

The referral program was a clever choice by a company with such intense loyalty, putting many Tesla acolytes to work by turning them into semi-compensated brand ambassadors. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t sustainable.

In follow-up tweets, Musk added more insight to the decision to end the program, noting that the whole thing was “adding too much cost to the cars, especially Model 3.” He further clarified that the program wasn’t being replaced by something new. Instead, “the whole referral incentive system will end.”

Tesla owners will have until the end of the month to hustle for existing incentives. Tesla orders must be placed before February 1 to be eligible. How hard can it be to talk your acquaintances into impulse-buying a high-end all-electric status symbol within a month’s time?