Good points all, Robert. But, by hiring the right folks locally and making them stay attuned to local needs, Tesla can pull this off even with their central ownership model. After all, Starbucks has managed to pull this off the world over without any franchising!
I'm not sure if and when Tesla will reach the tipping point but, in my opinion, Tesla can and should stay with their current store model (a la Apple) for the next 4-5 years. I know I'm in Tesla's backyard and don't have much to worry about vis-a-vis stores and service, but, I've never really been thrilled with independent car dealerships (across 4 brands) who don't necessarily project the same image and level of service that the manufacturer intends to.