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Any AutoblogGreen reader who lives by a Tesla Motors store – or goes near one on vacation – has probably set foot inside and experienced the high-tech, open sales boutique (oh, and the cars). While the eight stores currently open across the U.S. do a fine job of showing off the Roadsters, the road to getting them in place hasn't always been an easy one to pave.

The challenge comes from the auto dealer laws in the U.S. In Colorado, for example, Tesla needed to get licensed both as a manufacturer and a dealer. Tim Jackson, president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, spoke to Automotive News (sub. req.) and said he'd been to Tesla's Boulder store and that, "It has a very fashionable feel to it. We wish them a lot of luck." He also said:
Have we scrutinized all the issues behind what they're doing? Not really. My feeling is that a manufacturer-owned store as a business model violates the spirit of the state law here. But not a single person is complaining about it, and it's kind of a back-burner thing for us. I imagine that if we start getting complaints from our membership, we would move it up to a front-burner thing.
In Texas, Tesla admits, state laws might not be able to sell its cars to consumers there, but there's no definite decision on this. The company wants to have a larger number of stores fully operational for the Model S when it arrives in 2012, and who knows what the landscape will look like then.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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  • 14 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is a terrible law that needs to be scrapped, in every state it befouls.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They are totally right, there are no Apple stores in Texas either.... oh wait....
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hope you are right: the Leaf is my best chance for an EV. However, business-wise, Tesla's store model is much better.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love how the same people who are here daily screaming "Regulate carbon!" or "Impose electric vehicle laws!" are suddenly shocked when regulation and big government comes to bite their personal agendas in the a$$. Instead of planning how to force every American to drive a 2-cylinder or electric miniature deathtrap you should be figuring out how the free market works, or what's left of it.

      LOL, 'carma' is a beyotch, isn't it kids? And so is life, once you get some more life experience.

      As that famous pastor once said to Barack Obama, "Your chickens...are coming home...to ROOST!"
        • 5 Years Ago
        Your comment is incoherent. Auto dealer laws impede the free market and deliver no value to anyone but auto dealers who contribute to local politicians to keep them in place. Meanwhile well-crafted regulations improve air quality for all Americans.
      • 5 Years Ago
      By law, in the US and Canada, once you have a single car dealer, you can no longer sell directly to buyers. So it's a governement-enforced cost of business. As we've seen with GM and Chrysler, bankruptcy is the only way to get rid of car dealers.

      I really believe that traditional dealers are not open to electric cars since they would make less money in parts and services.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I bet all the Nissan dealers getting geared up to sell the Leaf would disagree with you.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @jonwil2002
        Don't remember where I read it, but I read an anecdote that mechanics at the Nissan Dealers hate the Leaf.
      • 5 Years Ago
      All these stores must be money-pits. They can't be selling enough cars to cover the costs of the stores.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tesla has about 15 stores in the USA that their CFO said cost $1M each. Supposedly they are making 15 Roadsters a week which if they sell them comes to ~$5M in revenue per store a year, which isn't my definition of "money pit". It's a lot easier to sell additional cars if they have stores in new areas, and they want a network of stores in key markets in time for the Model S.

        All of Tesla is a "money pit" :-) , but I suspect their CFO is doing a better job of planning than armchair commenters.
      clipsinite
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've been to the one in Manhattan. It's the Apple Store of cars in a good way. I wish all car dealers were like that. You come to check out the car, may schedule possible test drive and order one to be delivered at a set price. This contrasts with the typical dealer which tries to lie to you and knows less about the car than you do. Seriously, I hate when the salesman knows way less than you do. At least the Tesla guys are honest. Just like the people at the Apple Store, they admit what they don't know but, can't blame them for this, over exaggerate the things they do know.

      I tried to avoid this by using the American Express Auto Buying thing, but you still have to deal with a dealer. I recently looked at a Ford Fiesta (hatchback) and the dealer tried to convince me it was a limited production vehicle with just one year of production. I also looked at the Ford Fusion Hybrid and he said that this was its last model year. How ridiculous!

      (Typical dealer = Best Buy) (Tesla = Apple Store)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Welcome to the world of "free market".
      • 5 Years Ago
      I want to lay down a challenge to Green Autoblog staff.

      Find out the exact location of the upcoming maiden Sydney, Australia Tesla dealership and its expected opening date (last I read it was to be August this year) and what is going to be the retail price in $AUD for the two models.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Everyone is talking about how we need a resurgence of American Ingenuity. How about giving Tesla a little slack. Do you think it's easy to be the first new American car company in decades? What happened to American team spirit? There will be missteps as with anything new, but the new energy of Tesla is awesome! Kudos!
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