Tesla Can't Afford to Keep its Customer Referral Program Alive

The program, which gave discounts and freebies to Tesla owners who referred new customers, will phase out on February 1st.


For years now, Tesla has run a referral program, rewarding current Tesla owners who convince friends, acquaintances and social media followers to purchase a new Model S, Model X or Model 3 using their referral code. The program has had various prizes over the years—including free Supercharger access, free vehicle upgrades, and, for the most motivated referrers, , to be delivered whenever that vehicle goes into production.

But the salad days couldn't last forever. CEO Elon Musk tweeted this week that the referral program will close for good on February 1st. Because, as it turns out, the freebies were cutting into profits.

The Tesla customer referral program will end on Feb 1. If you want to refer a friend to buy a Tesla & give them 6 months of free Supercharging, please do so before then.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)

No, the whole referral incentive system will end

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)

Yes, ending on Feb 1. It’s adding too much cost to the cars, especially Model 3.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)

, Tesla posted its first profit in two years in its most recent quarterly report, netting $311.5 million and producing 86,500 vehicles in that period. Despite the growth, investors were disappointed by delayed customer deliveries, and the automaker eliminated certain low-priced models and adjusted prices on the popular Model 3 to help boost its finances.

The referral program also generated some controversy in the auto industry. Secret tiers rewarded mega-influencers with high-value prizes that were seemingly only accessible to Tesla owners who promoted their referral codes to massive audiences via online publications and social media. Some of those super-referrers , while .

Regardless, if you're a Tesla owner and you'd like to be rewarded for sharing the gospel, make sure your pal orders their Model S, Model X or Model 3 by February 1st.

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