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.
“Tesla will have the best retail experience in the auto industry as we continue to grow and prepare to launch the Model S.”
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.
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. Blankenship brings this experience to Tesla.
“George has a record of building customer-focused stores that revolutionize their industries, and he does it on time and on budget,” said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “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.