Tesla Inc. plans to shutter some high-rent showrooms within shopping malls and instead emphasize remote work and cheaper locations, according to a report on the website Electrek.
The electric automaker plans to rent spaces in mall parking lots, warehouses and other locations to manage test-drive fleets and delivery centers, Electrek said, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. Tesla also plans to make a large part of its retail work force remote, helping customers place orders online, the report said.
Tesla did not immediately return a request for comment.
The shift in strategy comes more than two years after Tesla said it would close many of its brick-and-mortar locations to focus on online sales, before reversing that decision a few weeks later.
Tesla operates more than 170 stores and galleries across the country, according to its website, including many in malls and shopping centers. This week, it reported it had 598 store and service center locations globally at the end of the second quarter, up 34 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Pulling out of mall leases is a tricky business, and high-end mall landlords often require long-term bankable leases.
Tesla's high-end mall locations include a gallery inside Michigan's Somerset Collection, about a half-hour north of Detroit. When reached by phone, a sales representative for the store said he had not heard about any plans to close that location.