Tesla Inc.’s TSLA +1.37% plans to save money by closing most of its retail stores and selling all cars online face a big potential hurdle: Store landlords show no signs of giving the company an easy way out of its leases.
The electric car maker has offered few details about which of its 106 stores and galleries in 26 states it plans to close. Even many shopping center landlords say they have heard nothing from the company about whether their Tesla store will be shut down, according to real-estate brokers and landlords.
What is clearer is how much Tesla owes in future rent payments. The company has total lease obligations of $1.6 billion, with $1.1 billion due between this year and 2023, according to its securities filings. The payments include leases for stores, galleries and other uses including real estate abroad.