Tesla is bringing it back referral program to Europea strategy that capitalizes on customer brand loyalty to maintain market share and drive sales before the end of the first quarter of 2023.
The referral program tracks Tesla’s action to lower prices in several markets, including Europe, China and North America.
Starting Tuesday, new Tesla buyers in Europe can receive 100 “Loot Box Credits” when referred by a current Tesla owner, who gets 2,000 credits for the referral. If the referred customer is delivered before March 31, 2023, they will receive a bonus of 5,000 free Supercharging miles and the referrer will receive 10,000 credits. Those credits can be redeemed for software upgrades, up to 10,000 miles of free Supercharging “and more”.
Tesla has never used traditional advertising, so the company has traditionally used its referral program to get its loyal customer base to promote vehicles. Those rewards have changed in recent years. At certain points, owners could win rewards such as having a photo of their choice launched into orbit, an invitation to an upcoming Tesla event, or even free new Roadsters for owners who collected enough referrals.
Tesla realized that such extravagant rewards were beginning to eat into profits, so in 2019 the automaker shut down the program and came back with a more reasonable reward that gives the referrer and recipient each 1,000 miles of free Supercharging.
Last November, Tesla launched a revamped referral program in the US, which distributes credits that can be used towards the purchase of Tesla solar products, such as the Solar Roof and Solar Panels. Tesla also launched a program China called Treasury, where owners get credits that can be used to purchase accessories such as car chargers, t-shirts or shot glasses.
The move in Europe suggests that Tesla is trying to maintain or even increase its market share dominance. Tesla was the most popular EV brand in Europe last year, with the Model Y and Model 3 topping the ranking with 138,373 and 91,257 sales respectively. It was followed by the Volkswagen ID.4 with 68,409 sales, the Fiat 500 electric with 66,732 and the Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid EV with 55,018 sales, according to Inside EVs.
Although Tesla was the most popular EV brand in Europe last year, it actually lags behind the major multi-brand OEMs. Volkswagen Group, which includes brands such as Audi and VW, even has the largest market share of plug-in EVs with 20.6%. Stellantis, BMW Group and Hyundai follow with 14.6%, 10.5% and 10.1% respectively. Mercedes and Tesla have a share of about 9%.
As of this week, Tesla has finally reached production capacity of 5,000 vehicles per week at its Berlin gigafactory — a milestone that CEO Elon Musk had originally promised for the end of 2022. While production numbers won’t match sales, it’s possible that increased production in Europe could help the automaker maintain its position and gain even more market share to win in the future.
The referral program isn’t the only step Tesla has taken to boost sales, especially before it reports quarterly earnings. In January, Tesla lowered prices for Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in the US and Europe with 20%. Earlier this month, the automaker also slashed Model S and Model X prices in the US.
In December 2022, Tesla also offered rebates of up to $7,500 for vehicles purchased and delivered before the end of the year in hopes of attracting buyers who would otherwise wait for the new year, when the Inflation Reduction Act incentives would take effect .