Tesla was ranked last on a survey of 34 auto brands based on how helpful its salespeople are

  • Tesla ranked 34th out of 34 auto brands included in a survey that evaluated how helpful their salespeople are to customers and experienced one of the survey’s biggest year-to-year declines.
  • Pied Piper CEO Fran O’Hagan told The Los Angeles Times that Tesla‘s stores displayed a high degree of variance, with some stores featuring “excellent, helpful salespeople,” and others whose employees seemed indifferent over whether customers purchased a vehicle.
  • Audi finished first in the survey, followed by Lexus and Toyota.

Tesla ranked 34th out of 34 auto brands included in a survey that evaluated how helpful their salespeople are to customers and experienced one of the survey’s biggest year-to-year declines. Audi finished first in the survey, followed by Lexus and Toyota.

The survey was conducted by the auto sales and service research firm Pied Piper, which hired 3,466 people to shop at 3,466 dealerships across the US between July 2017 and June 2018 and evaluated the brands on over 50 criteria, including how frequently salespeople asked customers questions about how they might use a vehicle, if they described how a vehicle was different from its competitors, and if they explained why customers should buy from their dealership or store.

Tesla was among the top brands by some measures, including how often they used visual aids in the sales process and how little they left customers to consult with an unseen manager.

When asked for comment, a Tesla representative referred Business Insider to a 2016 tweet from CEO Elon Musk commenting on Pied Piper’s 2016 customer satisfaction survey, in which Tesla ranked 33rd out of 33 brands.

“Tesla finishes last in being salesy! Good,” Musk said.

Pied Piper CEO Fran O’Hagan told The Los Angeles Times that Tesla’s stores displayed a high degree of variance, with some stores featuring “excellent, helpful salespeople,” and others whose employees seemed indifferent over whether customers purchased a vehicle.

Unlike other auto companies, Tesla does not sell its vehicles through licensed dealerships. Instead it sells them through its website and company-owned stores. Avoiding the dealership model gives Tesla more control over the sales process, but the company has run into opposition from state governments, some of which have laws that prohibit automakers from selling vehicles directly to their customers.

Musk has previously described a sales philosophy that contrasts against car dealership stereotypes. In 2012, Musk wrote a blog post on Tesla’s website describing his preference for Tesla employees to be informative, rather than aggressive in pushing for sales.

“They are not on commission and they will never pressure you to buy a car,” Musk said of Tesla salespeople. “Their goal and the sole metric of their success is to have you enjoy the experience of visiting so much that you look forward to returning again.”

If you’ve worked for Tesla and have a story to share, you can contact this reporter at [email protected]

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.