We'll let Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk write the lede on this one: "Mass. judge denies auto dealers' demand to kill our little Tesla store," Musk said in a tweet on Tuesday. "Yay, justice prevails."

Indeed, a Massachusetts judge has denied a request among auto dealers to restrict the electric-vehicle maker from operating its own retail stores, according to Automotive Week reports. The ruling appears to be a departure of sorts from the "church and state" set-up of vehicle makers and dealers, in which the auto companies are required to grant franchises instead of selling the vehicles themselves.

In this case, Tesla, so far, is cleared to open a retail store outside of Boston. The Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association, which sued Tesla last month, may appeal the decision, while the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) declined to comment. NADA said late last month that it was looking to meet with Tesla executives to re-think the idea of opening company-owned retail stores, and added that it would provide legal support for dealer groups that decided to take action against Tesla.

Ever the non-traditionalist, Musk has long argued that a franchised dealer would likely lack the knowledge necessary to provide expertise on the EVs.


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  • 100 Comments
      Val
      • 2 Hours Ago
      Why is it not a dealership? Because there are no DEALS made in it. Simple as that. Because it doesn't have much stock on hand? No, because it doesn't have ANY sock on hand. None of the vehicles there are for sale, they could just as easily put vehicles without batteries and motors, for people to sit in, and nobody would know the difference.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Which mall?
      purrpullberra
      • 2 Years Ago
      Rotation just thinks they are dealerships so it must be.... But no responses to my 10 item list of steps required to buy a car that do not and cannot be done at a Tesla store. If(!) you had responded I'd give you a bit of respect but you just went, 'well, whatever, the judge decides'. Duh. What are YOUR responses to my list? When do you talk financing? When do talk trade ins? Where do papers get signed? When/where do you promise to buy the car? Who takes the deposits? No one at the stores can do any of this. There is nothing saying they can't show off the car, brag a bit. They just can't sell. And the word 'sell' can't be hijacked just because you 'think' its more of a dealership. Your opinion means nothing when reality clearly shows you're wrong. The judge even said as much. Its just like the delusional 'conservatives' bubble that tricked them into believing they had the election in hand. Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. A dealership is a specific entity and to be one certain actions and processes must be present. The stores are much closer to non-staffed information booths than they are to dealerships. Anyone's anecdotal 'evidence' is meaningless compared to these issues I bring up. Rotation & Marco Let's meet up here the day AB posts the ruling and if I'm wrong I'll donate $50 to the GOP. And acknowledge your rightness.
        marcopolo
        • 2 Hours Ago
        @purrpullberra
        @ purrpullberra What the hell are you talking about ? How on earth do you drag the GOP into this ? Why all the yelling and screaming ? No one, certainly not the dealers, have accused Tesla of being "criminals or fools". Perhaps, if you calmed down and thought of these laws as 'trade regulations" rather than part of the "criminal code", you might gain a better perspective. Instead of inventing 'enemies', you calmly looked a the issues from both sides you would see the merit of both Tesla's, and the NDA's position. In these sort's of disputes, there is often no 'black and white', position ! The issue is simple; Should Auto-mobiles be sold by factory owned outlets. Tesla want's to try a new way of marketing motor vehicles, based on a system where Tesla controls every aspect from manufacture to the retail sale. Tesla would argue that it's product's unique and the development of the internet, has rendered older marketing models out of date. The NDA, argues that Tesla is just a manufacturer of Auto-mobiles with a different energy technology, but is still subject to the existing laws. The NDA would point out the laws were originally passed to prevent undesirable control of every level of the Auto-industry by manufacturers and are still relevant. The NDA argues that the law(s) were designed to prevent manufactures controlling the retail process, and Tesla stores are just a part of that process. Both of these arguments have merit. Most of these laws (regulations) were passed against the old major auto-makers by both Democrat and GOP administrations. Both sides will offer examples, Tesla would argue that if Apple can operate stores, why can't Tesla ? Both systems can co-exist. The NDA, will counter with examples within the motor industry why this would be undesirable. The NDA, would also argue that in many countries Apple must establish a wholesale price for it's products and establish dealerships. These haven't proved insurmountable problems for Apple. This dispute has nothing to do with EV technology, nor left-right politics ! It's about factory owned outlets. The NDA would be just as vigilant if Tesla was selling a diesel engined car by factory owned retail outlets. Like Electron and Carney, you are seeing sinister aspects that just don't exist !
      noevfud
      • 2 Years Ago
      Let's get rid of all the parasites and extra margin and hold manufacturers more accountable for sales. This law was nonsense.
        Thereminator
        • 3 Hours Ago
        @noevfud
        Really...this sounds like "special interest" law that only decreases competition while raising prices with middlemen.The next step is to apply this protectionist type law to the internet...right? Its sad how those who would argue for economic micromanagement...ignore knowing what "Free" enterprise actually is.
      SVX pearlie
      • 3 Hours Ago
      @Rotation: It goes on to say: "A manufacturer or distributor shall not be in violation of this paragraph when: (i) owning or operating a dealership temporarily for a reasonable period, in any case not to exceed 1 year; " It appears as long as Tesla closes each "temporary" location by the 1 year anniversary, then can operate as many dealerships as they so choose in full compliance of the letter of the law. If that dealership has not been in operation for at least 1 year, no violation has been committed.
      purrpullberra
      • 2 Years Ago
      Marco- you always go to the 'religion' lines when you are the one who is religious about the wonderful independent dealership network. Why won't separate independently owned dealerships work? Because they just want profit out sales, any sales, any product. They have nothing to do with ensuring the car is the only issue, not getting ripped-off or getting a worse deal than others. Dealers are much closer to being THE problem not the solution. You are bright that they will need to accommodate new buyers who will need other services but I expect Tesla to forgo anything independent of Tesla. They will figure it out.
      Grendal
      • 2 Hours Ago
      As far as I could tell, it never did define a dealership by any definition that would include the Tesla store. I'm not a lawyer. But the ruling on the injuction seemed pretty clear the judge did not consider the store a dealership and that the law did not apply to Tesla. I also think the dealership are safe from their manufacturers trying to restructure to pull off their own "Tesla" style store. That would be against the law.
      Rotation
      • 2 Hours Ago
      ElectricAvenue: The law specifically prohibits it NOT being a separate legal entity. So I don't see how saying it is the same entity saves them. Grendal: Where did you see it define a dealership in a way that doesn't fit the Tesla store? I didn't see it define a dealership at all. Without a definition, it'll be up to the judge. How would a judge say this isn't a dealership? Because it doesn't have much stock on hand? Because they don't take your money when you order a car, that it goes straight to Tesla?
      Rotation
      • 3 Hours Ago
      I don't agree. http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXV/Chapter93B/Section4 (c) It shall be deemed a violation of subsection (a) of section 3 for a manufacturer, distributor or franchisor representative: (10) to own or operate, either directly or indirectly through any subsidiary, parent company or firm, a motor vehicle dealership located in the commonwealth of the same line make as any of the vehicles manufactured, assembled or distributed by the manufacturer or distributor. That doesn't say anything about competing with franchisees. It says it's illegal for a manufacturer to own or operate a dealership in Mass. selling the same line make as any of the vehicles it manufactures.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Hours Ago
      Rotation has quoted the applicable section of law. It's not about Tesla competing with a franchisee, it's about an automaker not being allowed to own a dealership period.
      atc98092
      • 3 Hours Ago
      OK, you may not like what rotation is saying, but he's simply quoting the state law. I happen to agree with the logic that Tesla isn't competing with a franchisee, and should be allowed to maintain his own stores. But from what is quoted here (admitedly a subset of the entire law, but he provides a URL to the complete law) for this particular state it isn't legal. I believe the law needs changing, but I don't live there, so not my call.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Hours Ago
      It's obvious. All the other automakers have to do is create new brands that don't have dealers - then they will be free to sell their new marques using the same business model that Tesla is using. Gm almost did it with Saturn - "No haggle pricing!"
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