When Tesla Motors feels like its under attack, it is not afraid to speak out. After state lawmakers in New Jersey voted to close the electric vehicle company's stores there, the company said it was an "affront to the very concept of a free market" and CEO Elon Musk compared the situation to mafia tactics. In Ohio, when the company learned about a fast-moving challenge, it quickly asked its fans and owners for help. That same move is now taking place in Missouri, where Tesla said a "sneak attack" is happening that will "thwart due process and hurt consumer freedom in Missouri."

Tesla currently has one store in Missouri, in St. Louis (and wants to open another), but new language inserted into a bill that had previously been focused on off-road vehicles "would bar Tesla from selling its vehicles direct to consumers in the state," the automaker says. That doesn't seem like an exaggeration, since the bill explicitly states:

In enacting subsection 3 of this section, it is the express intent of the legislature to prevent any manufacturer of new motor vehicles from circumventing the public policy as stated in section 407.811, by engaging in methods of retailing new motor vehicles which are designed to avoid the provisions of sections 407.810 to 407.835.

Tesla says the bill's new language passed the Senate last night, "after zero public consultation and could soon move to the House floor for a final vote, essentially without debate." Tesla wants to get a debate started, so it makes its point in bold terms. "To be clear: this is worse than a mere case of dealers trying to protect an existing monopoly – this is a case of dealers trying to create a monopoly," the company said.

Recently, some officials at the FTC said they thought anti-direct sales rules were "protectionist," which at least hints that a possible change is coming. You can read Tesla's call to action for Missouri below.
Show full PR text

We have just become aware of a last-minute attempt by the auto dealers lobby, via pressure on legislators, to use a procedure that would bar Tesla from selling its vehicles direct to consumers in the state. This extraordinary maneuver amounts to a sneak attack to thwart due process and hurt consumer freedom in Missouri.

In the last week before Missouri's legislature ends its current session, dealers proposed new language in an existing bill that would force Missouri consumers to purchase new vehicles only through middleman franchised dealers. The bill, HB 1124, has been in circulation since December 2013. It was passed by the House on April 17 without the anti-Tesla language. Last night, the bill with the new anti-Tesla language passed the Senate after zero public consultation and could soon move to the House floor for a final vote, essentially without debate.

This change is not an innocent, minor amendment. It is completely unrelated to the original bill, which was about laws regarding all-terrain vehicles, recreational off-highway vehicles, and utility vehicles. It is also a complete 180 from what the original bill proposed. The current statute only bars franchisors from competing against their franchisees (for example, Ford cannot compete against Ford dealerships).

Tesla complies with that statute because we do not compete with any franchise. Just as we saw in New Jersey, however, this bill amendment expands the scope of existing regulations well beyond their original intent. They are attempting to do so in part by redefining the word "franchisor" to mean "manufacturer", a pirouette of which the legislators may not even be aware. To be clear: this is worse than a mere case of dealers trying to protect an existing monopoly – this is a case of dealers trying to create a monopoly.

Officials at the Federal Trade Commission have already stated their support for Tesla's ability to sell vehicles direct to consumers. In a blog post, the FTC authors wrote: "Regulators should differentiate between regulations that truly protect consumers and those that protect the regulated." Separately, a letter signed by more than 70 leading economists under the banner of the International Center for Law & Economics soundly dismisses every dealer argument and concludes that these bans are only motivated by "economic protectionism that favors dealers at the expense of consumers and innovative technologies."

Tesla already has a Service+ center in St Louis, MO, at which we employ 15 people. We have invested $2M in the state so far. We plan to open a larger service center in Kansas City, MO, later this year, employing another 15 people and investing an additional $1M.

This debate should be held in the full light of day with all sides being given an opportunity to make their case. Instead, the dealers are again trying to ram through a provision under the cover of darkness and without public debate. The people of Missouri deserve better from their elected officials.

To speak out against this bill, contact your legislator.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 99 Comments
      mawhalen53
      • 7 Months Ago
      Keep it classy, politics
      1454
      • 7 Months Ago
      This is why you don't give the government any power. Idiots, you don't "favor" one business to another. When are people going to wake up and realize the government isn't "for the people", it's for the a$$clown politicians.
        Levine Levine
        • 7 Months Ago
        @1454
        When the cost of a presidential campaign cost over one hundred million dollars, and nearly $50 million for a Congressional seat, every politicians become corrupted and their loyalty belongs to the money changers. Ultimately, the money changers get their pounds of flesh from the stupid proletariats, especially those who still believe America is the land of the free, home of free market capitalism. America is pathetic as so many Americans condone the corrupt politicians who pass legislation to protect the special interest groups that provided the campaign money.
          Zoom
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Levine Levine
          Until $$$ no longer = speech and corporations (which have no morals and can't be tossed in jail) aren't considered people this is what we have.
          1454
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Levine Levine
          This is why democracy doesn't work. There is no magic solution to it. The only governing that works is self governing. Allowing one to autonomous is the only way toward freedom and away from this cronyism we have now. People don't understand that the bigger government gets, the more the power gets centralized and the more that "we the people" lose. Needless to say, I hate the average citizen.
          Bernard
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Levine Levine
          We need spending caps on political campaigns. I say the limit should we should use the following limits: President: 100x average US household income Senator: 25x average state household income for given state House of Representative: 12x average state household income for given state Local officials: 3x average state household income for given state These limits should be based on census data for income so that they continually adjust with the economy.
          mycommentemail
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Levine Levine
          I rarely agree with anything you write, but this one you hit out of the park. There is almost nothing left of our political system that isn't owned outright by the corporations and the wealthy, regardless of party affiliation.
        rubley00
        • 7 Months Ago
        @1454
        "This is why you don't give the government any power." No, this is what happens when you elect freedom hating Republicans.
          1454
          • 7 Months Ago
          @rubley00
          Yes, a BSME really goes to show how little of a background in science I have. Next, why would I have referenced a specific fing area if it wasn't in jest? I started to say antarctica, but I thought that might be just a hair over the top. Did you even read the comment, or just go straight to your talking points? Also, typically when cancer tumors can get very large, and when it spreads I would be willing to bet it is far more than 0.0000001% as you claim. Not to mention, usually these claims about "xyz" talking points that will kill you are *foreign* objects to your body, where CO2 in the atmosphere is a natural phenomenon. Which I am sure has nothing to do with the fact that every single one of the 7+ billion people and x billion animals on earth emit it. Where do you even a number like that? Your bunghole? When you are claiming that "humans" are the cause of "climate change" you are claiming that we are directly linked to an alleged 1C increase in temperature. So it's not even about the 0.0004 % it's about the 0.00006-0.00007% which is the alleged change in CO2 over the last 100 years. Not to mention, there is evidence that life was sustained on the planet even with magnitudes higher CO2. Then, there is the fact that water vapor is a far more harmful "greenhouse" gas than CO2, and makes up far more of the atmosphere, but you don't see it being crucified by your cute little politicians like CO2. Ever wonder why? Oh, yeah, I'm sure it has nothing to do with new avenues for tax...... Finally, none of the models have ever really even come close to being accurate, so what all of a sudden makes them reliable enough to shift entire economies over? As I have stated before, this has nothing to do with an alleged "consensus" in science, and has everything to do with the government just trying to be even more of a leach on it's people. But the simple like you will give them the keys to your wallet because of some "CO2 bogeyman", just like the right did over some alleged "WMD's". All of you are idiots that have a demonstrated inability to think for yourself. I'm all for voluntary conservation because more than anything else, everything is a finite resource that will eventually run out. So to just keep "burning" though solid and liquid fuels will eventually leave us with nothing in regards to an energy secure future. But don't play this off on some BS crap about CO2 or it's far overstated effects. Finally, if you have such an issue with CO2 production then maybe you should, oh, I don't know, maybe stop wasting so much electricity being on the internet? Or driving to work? Or......breathing. I know my world would be better off without the mouthbreathers of the world whining about xyz group not getting taxed enough. Also, it is hilarious that you call me a republican when I am, and have been for a very long time, an anarchists. Do you even know what that means? It means *I HATE ALL GOVERNMENT*, not just the kind that gives me free ch!t. D@mn
          Dmitriy Markelov
          • 7 Months Ago
          @rubley00
          As others have said, this isn't a Republican or Democratic issue. This is a political issue and it hurts all of us unless you're the politician whose getting paid.
          brandon
          • 7 Months Ago
          @rubley00
          There's the Joe we know and love. Accusing an anarchist using "cow farts" in jest to whine about partisan politics while simultaneously using his own bs partisan politics. Hey genius, I like the Tesla's cars and a model S is on my short list for next car. But I'm sorry, as we have been through before,. 00004% of the most atmosphere is not causing significant "climate change". If it was, then the IPCC wouldn't have to keep changing their reports to fit the doom and gloom that hasn't happened.
          VL00
          • 7 Months Ago
          @rubley00
          False. Republicans spearhead this nonsense. Because selling electric cars would be tantamount to admitting that global warming and climate change are real. They are, and the Republican deniers are morons.
          1454
          • 7 Months Ago
          @rubley00
          You're an idiot *if* you believe this is limited to one side. If this is your belief, you need to grow up and stop looking through the prism of your side.
          Joeviocoe
          • 7 Months Ago
          @rubley00
          http://www.ecofys.com/files/files/asn-ecofys-2013-world-ghg-emissions-flow-chart-2010.pdf http://www.wri.org/sites/default/files/resources/us_greenhouse_gas_emissions_flowchart.pdf Cow farts and manure are about 5.5% of the GLOBAL GHG emissions.. while road transportation is about 10.5% In the car hungry U.S... 2.5% can be attributed to livestock and manure... and 21.6% to road transportation. *and before you continue with GOP talking points, yes, this accounts for the adjustment of methane into CO2 equivalent GHG.*
          Joeviocoe
          • 7 Months Ago
          @rubley00
          Also brandon, cancer cells are less than 0.00000001% of the total cells in a human body, yet kill it just the same. You are completely ignorant of science if you think that CO2 percentage of the total mass or volume of the atmosphere is required to be intuitively high.... and this shows how little you understand or trust science.
          1454
          • 7 Months Ago
          @rubley00
          Tesla is not mutually inclusive to "global warming" and climate change. I'm not a "republican", nor do I even vote. But the simpletons like you are part of what is wrong in society. You think your side has some inherent advantage while getting raped with no lube or even a courtesy reach around. Please stop being a pawn in this political game and learn to think for yourself. Enjoy the Tesla for what it is. An engineering masterpiece, and not for what it isn't. We may, or may not have any affect on the earth's temperatures, but right now there is definitely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, not enough proof to say that "we" are a contributing factor. No more than cow farts in Oklahoma.
          Joeviocoe
          • 7 Months Ago
          @rubley00
          Cow farts is not being referenced "in jest" ... it is a very common talking point used by climate change deniers.... to downplay the fact that our addiction to burning fossil fuels for energy is, by far, the largest contributor to global climate change,.... and NOT from a natural byproduct that seems unchangeable and benign like livestock. But, in typical fashion, Republicans get defensive in the face of scientific fact.
          free_spirit
          • 7 Months Ago
          @rubley00
          it never was about R or D both are corrupted the system just serve the big boys the rich turn richest and the poor becoming poorer
        i.own.your.ass
        • 7 Months Ago
        @1454
        What did you expect? It's not like you're in People's Republic of America
          1454
          • 7 Months Ago
          @i.own.your.ass
          What? I expect the country to get back to it's foundings. A point where the country didn't let it's politicians make decisions on what business lives and dies. A country that didn't rape and pillage bank accounts for it's politicians own personal gain. I want to live in a country where liberty is paramount. Not where idiots give politicians keys to the kingdom for fear of "terrorists", or because he/she wears a "D" or an "R".
          brandon
          • 7 Months Ago
          @i.own.your.ass
          Free spirit, can you please speak English next time. I really have no idea what you are trying to communicate.
          free_spirit
          • 7 Months Ago
          @i.own.your.ass
          1454 nice fake dream if you want so you have Scandinavian , Australia , NZ even some how Canada
      Snowdog
      • 7 Months Ago
      Ultimately more proof of the corrosive effect of money on US politics. Nothing is done for the good of the country, or the good of the citizens. Legislation is written by, and paid for by special interests with the money. There needs to be a revolution in campaign finance to end this.
        SethG
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Snowdog
        Right on Snowdog. Reading comments on these stories you often see them turn into anti-Republican or anti-Democrat or anti-Tesla rants. That's just silly. What this is about is the way that money and the establishment (in this case the existing model of supplying automobiles) is calling the shots in politics. The politicians are answering to the existing business model because that's where the money is and giving exactly zero thought to the public good. Ask any citizen what they think about buying a car direct from a manufacturer vs. a dealer and you'll hear "who cares?" 90% of the time. Yet you have the politicians in multiple states now trying to stack the deck in favor of the existing approach.
        Joeviocoe
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Snowdog
        https://mayone.us/ Let's start the process of removing those large campaign contributions
        rcavaretti
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Snowdog
        Everything is done for the pursuit of money? Welcome to earth.
      Spec
      • 7 Months Ago
      Crony capitalism. People using the local government to protect their oligopoly. That is very very sad and unAmercian. Actually, it is probably sadly all too American. :-/
      vizcarmb
      • 7 Months Ago
      It's ok, not like they can afford it over there anyways
      Kasem
      • 7 Months Ago
      Missouri is lthe and of the truck. Big fat people eating ribs who sit in trucks in fast food lots. There is no place for Tesla here. God, fast food and trucks is what Missouri is about. Stupid.
        Feurig
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Kasem
        Lol, I laughed.
        ilmhmtu
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Kasem
        Uh... do you have a grudge there, Kasem? The Tesla stores aren't in Springfield, Rolla, or St. Joseph. There is ONE in St. Louis which doesn't exactly follow your stereotypes.
          Kasem
          • 7 Months Ago
          @ilmhmtu
          Best ribs in Missouri in St Louis. Yes, a Missouri girl broke my heart and bank account.
      kontroll
      • 7 Months Ago
      yes, Tesla should fight the corrupt legislators in MS as a matter of principle, however for practical reasons, (what 3 maybe 4 Teslas in that godforsaken state) I would not waste one dollar on these people. Let them buy their runaway toyotas
      nicroprod
      • 7 Months Ago
      Hilarious, idiots fighting over Politics. R is the best, NO D is the best. Whats even more comical is the fact that its just the illusion of choice.
        brandon
        • 7 Months Ago
        @nicroprod
        Thank you. It's nice to see a few people on autoblog have a grip on reality.
        Spec
        • 7 Months Ago
        @nicroprod
        Both parties are flawed and have corruption. But there are very distinct differences between the parties. Corruption from either party should be heavily prosecuted.
          Joeviocoe
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Spec
          The outrage is NOT about the corruption perse... but the hypocrisy. Both sides are obviously capable of cronyism.... but ONLY ONE side makes a habit of claiming to have the "pro free -market" highground. That alone is enough for people to selectively deride the Republican party, rather than just say, "everybody does it". They do, but add hypocrisy onto it, and that makes a difference.
      mikemaj82
      • 7 Months Ago
      When do the store closings in NJ take effect, because there is still one that is open in the Garden State Plaza and they're always hiring.
        • 7 Months Ago
        @mikemaj82
        Its my understanding its a showroom and you can't actually buy a car there.
        Joeviocoe
        • 7 Months Ago
        @mikemaj82
        There are no "closings". They will remain open as galleries which cannot finalize the sales. They will just direct you to the website to purchase.
      Avinash Machado
      • 7 Months Ago
      Poor Tesla.So many roadblocks.
      Spec
      • 7 Months Ago
      Crony capitalism at work.
        FuelToTheFire
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Spec
        I know, right! How DARE corporations have any power! It's not like they provide jobs or anything, right? Socialism FTW!!!
          mycommentemail
          • 7 Months Ago
          @FuelToTheFire
          Do you even know what the word "crony" means?
          Dmitriy Markelov
          • 7 Months Ago
          @FuelToTheFire
          It's not a question of corporations having no power. It's a question of them having enough power to essentially pay politicians to thwart democracy and the free market.
          Joeviocoe
          • 7 Months Ago
          @FuelToTheFire
          Don't feed the....
      AzureStarline
      • 7 Months Ago
      hypocrite "free market" conservatives at it again
        1454
        • 7 Months Ago
        @AzureStarline
        You people are so cute. What excuses would you like to offer up for the left and going back on the war, gitmo, the PATRIOT ACT, etc, etc, etc. The sooner you people realize that they are all hypocrites, the sooner we can actually make progress in this country, and maybe even the world.
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