National and regional dealership associations have it in for Tesla Motors. For the past few years the organizations have been pushing lawmakers – to whom, it bears mentioning, they have made generous financial contributions – for legislation that would make it difficult for the Californian automaker to continue with its direct-to-consumer, company-store sales model. This is, of course, in addition to laws already on the books which make it illegal for manufacturers engaged with existing independent dealership networks to operate their own retail locations.

As you may have heard, the dealers have recently had success in New Jersey and, previously, in Texas. Arizona passed a law in 2000 that forbids manufacturers from obtaining a dealer's license, completing the triad of states which now restrict sales from Tesla stores. Meanwhile, the company has had some amount of success pushing back against these efforts in Massachusetts, Ohio, New York and North Carolina. It is a constant battle, though, even in most of those locales.

Direct sales are key to Tesla's success.

Direct sales are key to Tesla's success. It's a big part of how the company managed to move from a simple start up to something of an American automotive phenomenon. While CEO Elon Musk likes to say that it uses this method because selling an electric car would somehow be a conflict of interest for dealerships that also sell conventionally- powered vehicles, there is really a lot more to it than that, and it's wrapped around the customer experience. You can sit at home in your pajamas and configure exactly which color and options you want for your Model S over the Internet, send an electronic payment and have that exact car arrive at your door some weeks later.

The company stores are an outgrowth of that concept, but allow you to see physical samples of the colors and materials involved, take a test drive and interface with a friendly human who can immediately answer any questions you might have, as well as facilitate financial transactions. You still get the exact car that you order.

Tesla Dealer Fight

Having company-owned stores lets Tesla keep complete control of its entire retail network and therefore, the buying experience. Staff aren't paid by commission and are encouraged to be truly customer-focused. Prices are set, so there is no haggling or waiting for a sales person to see their manager about getting you a "better deal." There's no up-selling or attempts to send you home with a pick-up truck when you had wanted to buy a sedan. We'll see if this changes when Tesla introduces the Model X.

Dealerships should welcome the competition from Tesla. Embrace it, even.

By taking a hard line against Tesla, the dealership associations are doing its membership a disservice and wasting a lot of its time and money in the process. This direct-to-consumer cat is out of the bag and it's not going back in. Despite the barriers in Texas and Arizona, Tesla is finding a way to sell cars to people in those territories, and it will do the same in New Jersey. It will modify its activities at its operating stores, rename them "galleries" and move on. More slowly than it might if favorable legislation was in place, perhaps, but it will still pound away. The dealerships associations are so busy with battles, they haven't noticed they've already lost the war. Instead of fighting, dealerships should welcome the competition from Tesla. Embrace it, even.

It doesn't seem likely established automakers will ever again try to cut out the middle man in the US, even if they had the desire. The last attempt by Chrysler certainly didn't end well, and though it didn't necessarily play a large part in Daewoo's demise, its factory-owned stores didn't seem to give it any special advantage either. The franchise dealership model didn't evolve by accident and still makes a lot of sense. Independent auto retailers put up a lot of capital creating a sales and service infrastructure for manufacturers. This is money automakers don't have to spend in an area that isn't their core competency. Dealerships also lower manufacturers' risk profile by acting as something of a financial buffer in lean times. On top of all that, with the ability to make managerial decisions without calling up a head office somewhere, non-centralized networks can be nimble and respond quickly to the idiosyncrasies of local markets. All that said, there is certainly room for improvement.

This is where Tesla can be the traditional dealership's frenemy.

Some auto retailers are good at what they do. They profitably sell cars and services while keeping customers happy. Others – some would say the vast majority – not so much. Buying a car has ranked at the bottom of sales experiences for some time. It's unpredictable, long and, too often, agonizing. This is where Tesla can be the traditional dealership's frenemy. Competition is how improvement happens. Not only do rivals serve as a measuring stick, they can also teach new tactics and apply pressure for fundamental change, which can drive innovation. Sure, it already exists to some extent between traditional dealerships, but it mostly seems to push them toward bigger inflatable gorillas on their lots and more balloons in their showrooms. It hasn't brought much improvement to the actual customer experience.



Instead of writing legislators more checks, I suggest this exercise for dealership associations executives and their membership: go incognito to a Tesla store, browse around, maybe take a test drive. Then, do the same at a traditional dealership. Take notes.

Though franchise dealerships cannot exactly emulate the Tesla business model – profit margins from new vehicle sales are razor-thin and have become a tool to drive traffic to the profit-rich finance and service departments, while the electric automaker sees service as a revenue neutral area and depends on outside institutions like US Bank and Wells Fargo for financing – there are likely some elements that might be adapted. Besides using its voice to suggest different environmental approaches to its members - e.g., develop improved showroom atmospheres that reduce stress for both staff and customers - dealer associations can also use their leverage with manufacturers to implement more integral change that streamlines and quickens the buying process.

Staying on the same path is not an option.

Staying on the same path is not an option. Tesla is not going away and it certainly won't be drastically changing its approach to how it sells its vehicles. The fight against the innovative automaker may even create new federal legislation that could further open the door to foreign competition following a similar sales approach. Some say fear of Chinese automakers using a direct-to-consumer model is what is really driving the fight from dealership associations, and it would be ironic if that futile effort is what eventually enables it. With young people driving less and the advent of various carsharing schemes, it's clear that dealers see a need to fight for whatever market they can get. I think it's be better, then, to buck up and improve oneself to take on the challenges of tomorrow while there's time, then be distracted by meaningless lobbying and lawsuits and get caught flat-footed by the future.


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  • 222 Comments
      CaptTesla
      • 9 Months Ago
      Guess what? If it doesn't work, they go out of business. No loss on your part. But currently, the only proven fact is the dealership model does not have any benefit to the consumer besides higher prices on the front and back end.
      Demko
      • 9 Months Ago
      Why do people get all uppity about car dealers and their "profit". Tell me what other product can you purchase and negotiate off the MSRP. You walk into many big box stores and you pay list for the stuff you buy there. Go purchase a new PS4 or XBOX1 and see if you can find out the invoice. Go into HomeDepot and purchase a water heater and ask to see how much they paid for it and offer them less. There are no websites for manufacture to retail;er costs of any product your purchase beside a car. No negotiating for the most part on everything else in your life,but car dealerships are villains in the process because they lower their profit for the consumers benefit. Every purchase jewelry, wanna know how much mark up they have? A car is almost a necessity, jewelry inst, and they have in most occurrences over 100%to 500% markup.And then a person may get 10% off and tell everyone how much a hero they are or how great a deal it was since they saved so much.A car? try 5-7% on regular vehicles under 40k, 10%-12% on high-line vehicles. How about everyone pay MSRP with no rebates. It would make purchasing a car like purchasing everything else. You would purchase it because you want it. Not because some one made you a deal that you would through back in their face down the road and then complain about it stating you got ripped off or taken advantage of.
        Grendal
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Demko
        MSRP is an arbitrary BS created number that has nothing to do with reality. Prices are artificially raised so you can have room to have a "sale." There is even room in the price to go below the "sale."
        kEiThZ
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Demko
        I can purchase iPhone direct from Apple at the Apple store. I can purchase jewellery that costs as much as a car direct from Tiffany's. I can purchase a house directly from a builder. Tell me why I can't purchase a car from the manufacturer?
        jeff
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Demko
        Why should I pay the dealer ANYTHING?? They do not offer me ANY benifit. They annoy and harras me during the sales process to try and squeeze a few more dollars out of me... So I ask again. why should I be forced to pay them ANYTHING by stupid protectionist law to simply be annoyed....?????
      • 9 Months Ago
      (90% of the information a car buying customer is either on the internet or at their local bank or credit union. Just look for it. You can get the price your trade in is worth at several publications and the prices of the cars and options are easily found. The problem is the complete ignorance of the buying public of how and what to do when buying a car or truck. They want top dollar for their piece of crap, and they want the dealer to sell them a car at below dealer cost. They tell the salesman they have perfect credit except for bankruptcy they had two years ago. They cannot divide the 20,000 balance by 72 months if their life depended on and expect that $300 a month buys a$30,000 car. They buy a vehicle every 5-6 years but the salesman has to deal with these bozos several times a week. It is a proven fact that "buyers a liars" and right now, dozens of salesmen are nodding yes as I send this. Just wait until you get your vehicle delivered to you by fed ex and it doesn't start the next morning. Where are you going to have your car towed in and who can help you get that loaner or get you to work...your salesman if you bought from a good dealership. I have sold over 1300 vehicles and know what I am talking about...Direct selling will be a nightmare like you will not believe..!
        Marco Polo
        • 9 Months Ago
        @ Paul J. Rogers Much of what you say is true, and that applies to almost every trading situation where egos get involved. One of the most popular hate people have to the car industry is the belief that their trade-in is worth more than they received. This is understandable, when consumer see the same model, (sometimes even the same car ) being sold from the used lot at 20% more than they were paid. What the consumer forgets, are the costs incurred by the dealer to sell the car, again that's understandable, most people have never run a business, and don't really appreciate how much overheads cost. On the other hand, there are many sales people in the auto-industry, (mostly in the used section) who become very cynical and lack respect for their customers, profession and themselves. This is true, of almost every area of human endeavour.
        jeff
        • 9 Months Ago
        Why should I be forced, by law, to pay the dealer ANYTHING? They offer me NO benifit at all....
        • 9 Months Ago
        You claim "direct selling will be a nightmare" (for the customer). Fine. Then let it fail in the marketplace. Having bought a Toyota and a Tesla in the last 6 months, I can tell you that I strongly disagree. Everything involved with the Tesla (sales experience, service experience, etc) blows away the Toyota. You ask "Where are you going to have your car towed in and who can help you get that loaner or get you to work"? Um. Why do I need a dealership? Tesla has local service which is WAY better. Tesla picks up my car *at my house*, can leave me a loaner if desired and returns it back to my house. I had routine service the other day and it took me less than 2 minutes (to park the car in the driveway that morning & lock the keys in the car) - when I got home later that evening, my car was parked back in the driveway (all washed - of course!). I had to take my Toyota in for regular service. 20 minute drive to get there, followed by waiting with 10 other people who were dropping off their cars for the "next available service representative" to meet with me, followed by waiting for the shuttle home - and then reversed that evening. Easily took me over 2 hours of my day. Hmm. 2 minutes or two hours? Complete hassle or complete joy? I think I'll go with the dealer-less Tesla, thank you.
        Grendal
        • 9 Months Ago
        I understand your point yet the thousands of Tesla customers that bought from Tesla directly say that the process was fantastic and worked very well. That said, I doubt it would be the same with GM or Ford. Tesla created their system from scratch and had to make it work. It wasn't and isn't perfectly smooth but it works very well since it's the only system they have. The dealership system has had 80 years to get all the kinks out of their system and changing it around would probably not go smoothly. And the point still remains that Tesla doesn't want to change the dealerships at all. Tesla just wants to be left alone to do things the way that they want to.
        Marco Polo
        • 9 Months Ago
        @ JonM That's not a very fair comparison. Tesla is a low volume, high priced vehicle, where the average Toyota is a low priced, high volume vehicle. I don't know where you live, but it's a pretty good bet that although Toyota service is available everywhere in the US, Tesla is not. A better comparison would be with the Lexus 600 range, which offers you the same service experience.
      Grendal
      • 9 Months Ago
      This is comment I made below to someone commenting about retail dealership pricing: The negotiated lower price is a lie. There is no negotiated lower price. The profit to the dealer is built into the system. Here is how it works: The manufacturer builds the car at a cost of $20K per car. The manufacturer then sells the car to various dealers for anywhere from $24K to $30K depending on how large that dealer is. The MSRP for the car is $37,999. A salesperson is allowed to sell the car for $32K and up. That salesperson, depending upon the dealers program, will make more money the higher he ends up selling the car for. The dealer will get a kickback from the manufacturer if they hit certain buying goals. This is where the dealer gets most of their profits from sales. Compare this to Tesla using the same starting build cost number of $20K. Tesla sells the car direct to the customer on their website for $28K. The customer waits 2 to 3 months and the car is delivered directly to the customer's house. That's it. I made up the specific numbers but that is the process.
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        Wow, Iv'e never seen comment about the auto industry that was less educated. Saturn tried to control end user pricing and look how it turned out for them. Consumers always will want to feel cheated but the fact is there are many resources out there to help consumers make good choices. Those who didn't research before buying their last car spend a lot of time complaining about how "Car Dealers are criminals". TrueCar.com is probably the most accurate and can help customers get a pulse on what market value is on a new car. By the way, I don't see people complaining when a new home builder makes 15% on a home purchase but when you buy a car and a dealer makes 3-5% everyone looses their minds....Grendal's assessment of profit margins is pretty comical to say the least... On another note, the Auto Lobby is much more powerful than the writer of this article is giving them credit for. Tesla may win this fight but it will be at a high cost and over a very long time. Elon Musk is an innovator but he has also a huge gambler. He is sinking 5 Billion into a factory that will be producing a ton of batteries in which long term viability is still very unclear. The fact is, big oil, the dealers associations, and the manufactures are 100 times the size of Tesla and they usually get what they want including major financial bailouts from the federal government. They will fight tooth and nail whether it is logical or not in the hopes to keep doing business as usual. This is at least a 5 to 10 year fight and Tesla better prove to be reliable if they want to have any skin in the game. It just bothers me to see industry outsiders bash auto dealers for trying to run a successful business in a capitalist country. Why not bash every business, hell markup on furniture is like 300%, lets start there...
          Joeviocoe
          • 9 Months Ago
          --".. outsiders bash auto dealers for trying to run a successful business in a capitalist country.." Auto dealers don't produce anything (other than decals and license plate frames that consumers are expected to allow for free advertising). --"Why not bash every business, hell markup on furniture is like 300%, lets start there..." Are furniture makers mandated by law to only sell to licensed resellers? Or are they allowed to sell direct? Thought so. Just because a company chooses to sell through middlemen, doesn't mean that every company should be forced to.
          Marco Polo
          • 9 Months Ago
          @ NathanV I think you have failed to understand the issues involved. This dispute is not about Electric cars. The major Automakers, are if anything eager for Tesla to win, as that would free them from the restrictions of operating through franchised dealers. ( Big oil doesn't have a dog in this fight, since it's not about EV v/s ICE. ) The only issue is whether the retailing of auto-mobiles (in 46 states), should be controlled by large corporations, (many foreign owned) or through an independent dealer network of local retailers. The dealers are on their own. The strength the dealers have is not financial, Tesla has 10 times the disposable wealth of all the dealers in US. The dealers political strength lies in it's local influence in thousands of small communities where it's members can harness the numbers at a grass roots level. The dealers don't are about the $ 20-30,000 vehicles sold by Tesla, (insignificant in a 12 million per year marketplace) but they are frightened about Tesla acting as a stalking horse to allow other OEMs to change the rules. Grendal and I may come from different ends of the debate, but we both agree that a federal compromise exempting Telsa as a new, all electric American auto-maker, should be granted for a 3-5 year period, allowing Tesla to try its direct sales approach, while and independent DoC study can be conducted. This would defuse the current situation, and provide both sides with what they need. ( if not what they want)..
          Joeviocoe
          • 9 Months Ago
          Sorry Nathan... but your uneducated comments about economics in general make it hard for you to be credible to criticize others about their views on the auto industry.
          Grendal
          • 9 Months Ago
          NathanV. As I wrote in the comment, I inflated the numbers to emphasize the point. The point was the process. That is the process that dealership associations are defending. If you read my response to jeff I really don't have an issue with dealerships other than the fact that they are trying to go to war with Tesla. I even went on to comment that cutting out dealerships by manufacturers could go very wrong for both the manufacturers and the consumer. Maybe you didn't read the full comment.
          Grendal
          • 9 Months Ago
          We are in agreement Marco. A compromise should be reached. Tesla's direct sales model should not equal the demise of dealerships. It's that simple. All dealerships/dealership associations need to do is come up with a way for Tesla to have some kind of exemption that allows them to continue with what they are doing while protecting the interests of dealerships. As I commented to Domenick, the d-assoc's are a lobby/lawyer group that might have a vested interest in playing up their importance and maintaining this conflict far longer than needed. As seen in the comments on all these articles that the d-assocs are losing the PR war. This conflict allows animosity towards dealerships to be spotlighted and dealerships strengths are being eroded. Politicians obviously take money from lobbyists and that influences their decisions but they still need to have an image that the influence isn't there. This is exactly the type of situation that puts politicians in a conflict of interest. Under the camera/spotlight a politician has to appear to be fulfilling the will of the people. People hate dealerships (generally) as the comments here show. I would not be surprised to see Chris Christie or some other politician in the same situation side with Tesla against the dealerships. So this is a long way around to comment that as I've mentioned many times this could go very bad for the dealerships if they keep the war going.
        jeff
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Grendal
        Exactly, the dealer does not provide any benifit to the consumer, but you are requid by law to pay these clowns their cut for being harassed and annoyed....
          Grendal
          • 9 Months Ago
          @jeff
          Also, Tesla is an exceptional company with exceptional values. Not every company will be headed by a man that is out to do his best and demand the best of his people. Elon has many flaws but he has integrity and demands it in every aspect of the company he runs. Other manufacturers selling directly just might consider making an extra buck more important than taking proper care of their customers. I'll pull out the old saying of "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it" when it comes to the major manufacturers selling directly.
          CaptTesla
          • 9 Months Ago
          @jeff
          And grandal. Guess what happens when a manufacturer decides to add a few extra bucks to he cost of his car if sold via direct sales??? The car doesn't get sold, and they go out of business. Very simple. They will have even more incentive to price the car properly or they won't sell them. Numerous studies have shown that car prices are currently 8.6-15% more under the current franchise dealer system. Direct sales is simple, the price is the price. Much better for consumer and manufacturer.
          Grendal
          • 9 Months Ago
          @jeff
          Fighting what Tesla is doing is very wrong though IMO. The dealership associations are making a big mistake in putting themselves in the spotlight.
          Grendal
          • 9 Months Ago
          @jeff
          I am actually not against dealers. I have really never had a bad experience with one. I have also never had a sleazy salesperson. I am fairly certain that a good dealer does enhance the buying experience by hiring a number of very good salespeople that do inform the uniformed buyer and assist those people in getting the proper car for their needs and financial situation. Tesla has to do this too. They just do it in a modern way. Their cars inform both Tesla and the owners of issues and they can bypass normal maintenance of a standard car. Let's be clear that Tesla has built a superior car that allows them to do a whole lot of the things that a dealer would normally have to do. Not everyone can buy a Tesla at this point. Other manufacturers will soon be copying what Tesla has done and then change will inevitably happen. The writing is on the wall but dealers aren't quite dead just yet.
      Peter Dubayy
      • 9 Months Ago
      The dealer network doesn't make sense for Tesla which sells on a small scale, and it is more of a consumer product, like a microwave, than a car. Dealers for the major car mfgs makes sense because the scale is so much bigger and it would be costly to staff so many "galleries" or showrooms. It would make more sense for Tesla in the future with the Model X once their volumes increase and more service centers are needed. I work for a company than sells direct to our customers but our parent company which deals in larger volumes, has a large dealer network set up. I think there are situations for both and the dealer associations shouldn't be sore about it, rather find ways for them to improve their value to the customer.
        kEiThZ
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Peter Dubayy
        Nonsense. Dealers won't make sense for Tesla even when they are bigger. Did Apple ditch its stores when it got bigger?
      Dave
      • 9 Months Ago
      Daewoo built junk. It didn't matter who sold them. They were doomed.
      Rob
      • 9 Months Ago
      Every time I speak to a car dealer I have to take a shower afterwards. I'm all for direct sales.
      ken
      • 9 Months Ago
      Dealerships made money from three channels: incentives that you don't know about, financial options that shouldn't cost that much, and fixes and maintenance that you either don't really need or don't need that much. However, for manufacturers, these costs are also adding up to the total ownership cost of the products, which meant more expensive than what manufacturers are taking in.
      Doug Hageman
      • 9 Months Ago
      "Florida-based Domenick Yoney is pursuing a career in the automotive sector. He enjoys creatively combining his love of writing and mobility technology with his environmental concerns." Don't expect to get picked up by any of the more respected automotive journals with this kind of opinionated writing. I can't see you working for any division of Crain.
        Joeviocoe
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Doug Hageman
        " respected automotive journals "??? And which one doesn't like good "opinionated pieces" nowadays?
        Domenick
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Doug Hageman
        Thank you for taking the time to comment. While you may be right about my future prospects, I would just point out that this piece is, as it's labeled on the ribbon just above the headline, an opinion piece. I
      superchan7
      • 9 Months Ago
      Asking existing dealer businesses to "make way" for a new sales model? Sure, and I'll print money for my competitors because it's "healthy for the industry." This kind of stuff needs to be legislated and forced upon the industry. Otherwise, no sane business would want to budge.
        Domenick
        • 9 Months Ago
        @superchan7
        No one is asking dealers to make way for a new sales model. It's already here and functioning perfectly fine in over 40 states. What I'm saying is dealers should stop wasting time and money on a war they've already lost and focus on improving themselves and preparing for the challenges of the future.
      That Guy
      • 9 Months Ago
      "Direct sales are key to Tesla's success" Which is exactly why they should be banned. This sham of a company needs to be killed. It's as useful as a three-legged horse
        purrpullberra
        • 9 Months Ago
        @That Guy
        Spoken by the most hypocritical 'American' guy around. "Freedom, except for crap I hate" Lemme guess, you are a 'conservative'?
        yellowzx5
        • 9 Months Ago
        @That Guy
        There should be no reason to have a dealer network when the company produces soo little of these vehicles a year. The current automakers can produce their products in mass quantity because there is not a limit on gasoline engines as there are with Lithium Batteries. Dealerships are fighting because Tesla is the "Gotta Have " item and there really is not a maker out there with a full electric car with similar capabilities Tesla has for a decent price. Their jealous they came to the table first and should be ashamed for trying to snuff the competition.
          purrpullberra
          • 9 Months Ago
          @yellowzx5
          It's kind of funny because Elon has always said they would probably go with the established dealer franchise set-up once they got to the point of selling 100k+ cars a year. I'm not sure about that now. I'd like to ensure no NADA member or regular ICE dealer be allowed to become a Tesla store owner or dealer. As a Tesla shareholder I am advancing that idea internally. I'm vindictive, I'm not sure about Elon. But he is mad.
      • 9 Months Ago
      I sell cars, true enough there are good salespeople and bad salespeople but direct buying from the manufacturers wouldn't be what everyone thinks. First off what everyone claims they hate (haggling) would be gone, there's a reason every new car has a manufacturers suggested retail price msrp. Obviously making money is the goal of selling the cars, name a business where that's not the goal? But how do you accomplish that goal, with great customer service, a great product and superior product knowledge. I know every there is about my product and the competitors so that I can point out why your money is best invested with me. This insures that customers will send me referrals of family, friends, coworkers and repeat buy from me. Now in a direct buy situation, you have someone who makes the same amount of money whether you buy the car or not, why would they care about your experience? Once a car is built and shipped to the dealership the manufacturer is basically done, that franchise has bought the vehicle and it's now there problem. Imagine how much more money they would have to spend to pay people to show the vehicles and deliver them. Ford averages about 7,000 - 8,000 vehicle sold a day, that takes a lot of man power. So either they will hire a lot of people and pay them minimum wage or hire a few people for good money which means you would have a longer wait time than you probably have now minus consumer service because they're always slammed with new customers. Plus there's no such thing of just showing up test drive a car, it would be like an Apple store appointment only oh yeah you're also paying full sticker.
        Domenick
        • 9 Months Ago
        Thanks for taking the time to read my piece and comment. I can tell by what you've written about your approach to your job that you truly understand how car sales are most successfully done at a dealership. I have to disagree with you, though, that an employee in a manufacturer's store necessarily won't have the passion for the product or for building relationships with customers. It is possible, of course, that just as not everyone within the traditional model will "get it" like you do, there will be some staff members in a Tesla store with less aptitude than others. It's up to store managers to hire and keep the good ones in both scenarios. From reading the accounts of many Tesla customers, most are quite happy with the interactions with store staff. It isn't as uniform as, say, McDonald's french fries, but by and large, they seem satisfied with the experience. Now, whether that will still be the case as volumes increase is anyone's guess. Certainly, as you say, they will need more people to deal with more customers. But, Tesla's buying process is pretty streamlined and often done entirely online. The stores facilitate sales, but they are just as importantly places for people to just learn about the product. I know I was struck by the difference in atmosphere from a traditional dealership during my own visit. Anyhow, it would definitely be an interesting thing to investigate how they intend to handle that change and report on how well or poorly it happens.
        reattadudes
        • 9 Months Ago
        thank you, thank you!! FINALLY a voice of reason. the one line you wrote is by far the most telling; "direct buying from the manufacturers would not be what everyone thinks". I've written here extensively about Ford and GM's foray into "factory stores" back in the 90s, and their imminent disaster....CSI in the toilet (lowest in their zones), and over 30% warranty claim rejections. many of course, would care to disagree. I suspect many would crawl over a mile of jagged glass to get to the Almighty Temple of Apple, the company that ALWAYS charges full retail, and makes sure its grossly overpriced products are completely obsolete within two years. let's look at one very simple thing happening that's quite telling: the propensity of Teslas to catch fire, whether when they are in a crash, or while charging. now if this was a regular automobile manufacturer, folks with screaming babies would be yelling form the rooftops. in this case, the Feds want to open an investigation, and Tesla's resident egomaniac, Elon Musk, doesn't really want to. perhaps GM's new CEO, Mary Barra, should take the same tack, whistling and looking the other way with regard to the ignition switch issue. licensing of these cars is a real hoot, and totally illegal. a friend here in Arizona bought a Model S a few weeks ago. imagine my surprise when it had a California Report of Sale (temporary registration) on the window, even though it was delivered in Arizona. no big deal, right? well.....California bases license fees on the selling price of the vehicle. since you get no deals on Teslas (great, right??) and the bottom line on the MSRP is $138,752, the license fees for ONE YEAR are ELEVEN THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED TWO DOLLARS ($11,702). and when the California plates arrive, you get the privilege of trading those in (and losing the $11,702) for new Arizona plates that "only" cost $3,202. as a former California new car dealer myself, I know that California strictly forbids delivery and registration physically outside the State of California. when my friend signed the registration paperwork, he had to certify he was taking delivery inside the borders of the State of California, even though he didn't. but hey, its Elon Musk. he doesn't need to follow no stinkin' laws!!
          LukkyStrike
          • 9 Months Ago
          @reattadudes
          @markrogo thats like saying my 3 year old Computer is not obsolete because i installed the newest operating system, i can install windows 8 on a 6+ year old pc (hell mac for that matter), its still obsolete ;) *not that i agree with OP* The idea that Elon Musk has the power to tell the Feds no to an investigation is absolutely...well there is not a word for that. The fact that the Feds have no problem walking into GM (Largest US manufacture, 3rd [i think] in the world) and telling them to spend millions recalling vehicles, means that if they wanted to crush Tesla for 3 fires they could. The fact is that the 3 fires compares to nothing to the 1000's of fires that happen all the time.
          markrogo
          • 9 Months Ago
          @reattadudes
          Yes, Apple products are completely obsolete within 2 years, which is why iOS came out for the iPhone 4, which is 3 years old... Please go away.
        Orion798
        • 9 Months Ago
        And, Miran, all we're saying is "let the free market prove it doesn't work" as opposed to you legislating it away.
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