Tesla Hires Apple, Gap Veteran to Revolutionize Car Buying Experience

July 8, 2010

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Tesla Motors today announced that it has hired former Apple and Gap Executive George Blankenship as Vice President of Design and Store Development. Blankenship will build Tesla's retail strategy and network.

Blankenship, 57, brings thirty years of international retail and real estate experience to Tesla. Best known as the architect of Apple’s brand building retail strategy that raised the bar for customer experience in retail stores, Blankenship joins Tesla most recently from Microsoft. As Apple’s Vice President of Real Estate, he created one of the most successful retail growth strategies in history. Apple has repeatedly been recognized by Fortune Magazine as America’s Best Retailer. Blankenship brings that experience to Tesla. Through his work creating Apple stores around the world, Blankenship defined and executed an International "Smart Growth Hit List" that encompassed major cities in Asia, Europe and North America. As Vice President for Real Estate Strategy for Gap, Inc., Blankenship managed the growth of over 250 stores per year worldwide while establishing an energy-efficient, environmentally forward-thinking retail growth process.

"George has a record of building customer-focused stores that revolutionize their industries, and he does it on time and on budget. There is simply no one better, he is the ideal candidate for Tesla," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. "With George's leadership, I have no doubt Tesla will have the best retail experience in the auto industry as we continue to grow and prepare to launch the Model S."

Tesla is revolutionizing the auto purchasing experience. Unlike traditional car dealerships, Tesla stores are designed to be stylish and inviting. Blankenship will build a long-term retail development plan to give customers the opportunity to purchase cars and learn about Tesla technology. Blankenship’s initial projects will include opening Tesla stores in Tokyo, Japan, Toronto, Canada, and Washington, DC.

"Joining Tesla allows me to work with some of the boldest and brightest people on the planet while changing the world for the better," said Blankenship. "I’m excited to create a retail experience that is as thrilling as my first drive of the Tesla Roadster."

Tesla stores are also the service hub for Tesla Rangers, the mobile service program that provides house-calls for service. The innovative program gives customers peace of mind no matter where they live. Tesla Rangers travel to customer homes or offices for services including annual inspections and firmware upgrades.

About Tesla

Tesla's goal is to produce increasingly affordable electric cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EVs. Palo Alto, CA-based Tesla has delivered more than 1200 Roadsters to customers in North America, Europe and Asia. Tesla designs and manufactures EVs and EV powertrain components. It is currently the only automaker in the U.S. that builds and sells highway-capable EVs in serial production. The Tesla Roadster accelerates faster than most sports cars yet produces no emissions. Tesla Service Rangers make house calls to service Roadsters.