Tesla just opened its 12th dealership, but it's closer to foot traffic than, well, car traffic. The Detroit News reports the electric-car maker's latest store opened at the Third Street Promenade, an outdoor mall in Santa Monica, Calif. The automaker, which just began production of the $57,400 Model S, is "deliberately trying to engage with people when they are not thinking about buying a car," officials said. Tesla will build just 5,000 of the Model S through the end of the year, and all have been spoken for. Next year, the automaker says it will build 20,000. Factory-owned retail stores, as opposed to independently franchised dealerships, allow for better control of the customer experience, one analyst told the Detroit News.
In other news:
- Bill Gates-backed EcoMotors International is developing a diesel engine without traditional valves and cylinder heads that could be 15% to 50% more fuel efficient than today's diesels, Automotive News reports.
- Improving auto sales and shorter summer shutdowns — one week instead of the usual two at Ford, no shutdown at all for Chrysler — have contributed to fewer jobless claims, the Detroit Free Press reports.
- Hammacher Schlemmer's new $130 Roadtrip Video Recorder can record up to three hours of road-trip footage via a suction-cup windshield camera, according to the Detroit News.