Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Tesla's changing direction again. 

It's part of the entertainment, isn't it?

If two months go by without a major change, you start to worry.

This time, though, Elon Musk announced that he's reducing the sales and marketing effort, so that Tesla can offer the Model 3 at a price that seems affordable: $35,000.

This is, of course, something of an airline-level ruse.

The base price comprises a color choice of black or black.

Any other color will cost you at least another $1,500. And don't forget the additional $1,200 destination charge.

Indeed, just about everything you might want in your Model 3 will cost you more.

Still, Musk offered his reasoning in one of his regular emails to employees, captured by CNBC.

He explained that he's moving all Tesla sales online. Which makes those showrooms you've seen in the fancier malls of America a touch redundant. Many will close.

In the email, Musk offered several statistics that might stress the minds of traditional automakers.

78 percent of all Model 3 orders were made online. In the U.S., customers can now buy their cars, using their phones, in just one minute.

He offered, though, one sentence that expresses just how powerful the Tesla brand has become. He wrote: 

82 percent of customers bought their Model 3 without ever having taken a test drive.

How many products costing tens of thousands of dollars get bought without their buyers even bothering to touch them or see how they feel?

How many brands can possibly inspire consumers to part with vast amounts of money simply on their cachet and hearsay?

It's one thing iPhone buyers being prepared to sacrifice $1,000 on the altar of self-regard. 

It's quite another to part with, say, $40,000 in order to buy a car.

It's an utterly unique victory of mind over money-doesn't-matter.

It's a remarkable indication of the place the Tesla brand seems to have in people's consciousness. This despite the fact that so many appear to suggest it will meet an ultimate demise.

Of course, it remains to be seen how many will now leap at this new price and how many will want to at least experience the car. 

Musk, though, says he's thought of that: 

We are also making it much easier to try out and return a Tesla without a test drive. You can now return a car within 7 days or 1,000 miles for a full refund.

Still, the likes of Ford, GM and Mercedes must be wondering what their marketing departments have to do to match such blind loyalty.

The answer, of course, is to have a flamboyant CEO who emits highly contentious tweets. 

Well, that would be a start.

Published on: Mar 1, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.