Due to the political influence of some Auto Dealers Associations—many states have successfully blocked Tesla from selling directly to customers in an attempt to put the brakes on competition from the California based electric car manufacturer of the award winning Tesla Model S.
The Tesla Model S is a car so popular that Tesla doesn’t even pay for advertising and it still can’t keep up with demand.
The Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Corbett, has signed legislation that will allow Tesla to open five dealerships there, which though is still very restrictive it is better than some other states.
New Jersey limits zero-emission vehicle manufacturers (like Tesla) to four stores. A big improvement over their last law which required manufacturers to sell new vehicles through middlemen in showrooms that had at least 1,000 square feet with service facilities on-site, a DMV rule which had previously forced Tesla to halt sales at their two stores in NJ.
Ohio has also recently signed legislation to allow Tesla to sell directly to the public from three Tesla owned stores. This occurred even after General Motors VP of global communication (Selim Bingol) sent a letter to Ohio governor John Kasich urging him not to allow Tesla to operate under “a completely different set of rules.”. This more than sounds like those manufacturer’s primarily in the business of selling fossil fuel cars (even ones that also make the Chevy Volt) don’t want the pure electric car competition from Tesla if they have a chance to shut them down.
Arizona, Maryland, Texas and Virginia are currently keeping Tesla from selling their EVs directly to customers in their states.
In Texas Tesla operates two Galleries, where employees can not: Discuss pricing and the reservation process, financing, leasing, or purchasing options, offer test drives or refer the customer to another store out of state. Tesla can not advertise in Texas that they do warranty repairs nor can they discuss any additional repair needs or concerns with the customer. How are such restrictions not classified as a Tesla EV sales ban?
Obviously this does little to reduce misconceptions and educate people about Electric Vehicles and the technology.
Tesla would like to provide all states with the same level of service it provides to their customers in Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, California, North Carolina, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, and many other states, which have less restrictions.
The fight continues North Carolina, lawmakers attempted to ban Tesla from selling its vehicles over the Internet, but failed. Auto Dealers in various states imply they don’t want selling their cars for consumer protection reasons, but according to Tesla attorney James Chen, that is a joke:
“We are fighting a well-funded, well-established, politically connected organization looking out for its own monopolistic interests.”
Tesla operates over 50 company-owned showrooms worldwide, that are under the management of former Apple and Gap Executive George Blankenship as Vice President of Design and Store Development.
It is a sad state of affairs when free markets are controlled/manipulated by established monopolies and government is used as weapon to stifel new innovative technologies and business practices that are not only popular and award-winning, but also have obvious benefits to society as a whole. What the Automotive Dealership Associations are doing is nothing less than anti-trust violations being perpetrated on Tesla Motors.
Some Tesla advocacy groups have sprung up: Petitions to the Federal Government with over 125,000 signatures were only able to get the Federal government to respond by saying it was a state issue. Which is fairly lame politics as The United States Congress shall have the power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes. (United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 3.), so Obama’s Executive branch should have taken the petition before Congress or at least said something on that matter besides sending out a single letter in response to the 125,000 thousand people that took the time to sign a petition, they deserve more.
On Facebook: “Save the Tesla Choice” is a page that has some news and information on the topic (www.facebook.com/SaveTheTeslaChoice).
At the very least Tesla probably has an anti-trust case against the Auto-Dealer Associations and some of the Auto Manufacturers.
Disclaimer: I do not personally nor do any immediate family members own Tesla Motors stock.
EV of the Year Judge, independent green journalist, photographer, author and sustainability activist that has published over 1000 articles. Mr Burridge’s travels have taken him to over 30 countries and 300+ major cities. He is originally from the USA, but has been residing in Australia for the last seven years. Connect to Ken Burridge on: Twitter, facebook, Google+, Linked in or website