The nation's auto dealers are taking their fight against Tesla and its direct method of selling cars to consumers to the symbolic heart of the auto industry. In Michigan, a bill that would entrench the existing dealer networks and prohibit direct car sales to buyers has passed both the state's house and senate, and awaits Gov. Rick Snyder's signature.

A spokesperson for Snyder says a determination on whether he'll sign the legislation has not yet been made. "Right now, the staff is doing its due diligence and studying the bill," spokesperson Dave Murray said. Snyder has until Tuesday to act on the bill.

Fighting this sort of legislation is nothing new for Tesla, which has already lost such legislative fights against auto dealers in Texas, New Jersey, Maryland and other states. "We're fighting these actions as they come up," said James Chen, vice president for regulatory affairs and associate general counsel at Tesla.
While Snyder's staff said the governor has not yet made up his mind, executives from Detroit's Big Three automakers and state car dealers are some of the top individual donors to his ongoing campaign to retain the governorship.

Campaign records show Martha Ford has given $10,200 to the Snyder campaign, while her brother, William Clay Ford Jr., has donated $3,400. Edsel B. Ford II has also given $3,400 to Snyder, who is in a tight race against Democratic challenger Mark Schauer.

Michigan car dealer magnate Paul Alandt has donated $6,800 to the Snyder campaign. His wife, Lynn Ford Alandt, daughter of Benson Ford, has donated $6,200 so far in this election cycle.

Other car dealers that have given to Snyder include: Richard Garber Jr., president of Garber Chevrolet in Saginaw, Michigan; Howard Cooper, past owner of Howard Cooper Honda in Ann Arbor; Joseph Sesi, president of Sesi Motors in Ann Arbor; Michael Savoie of Savoie Chevrolet in Troy, Michigan; John Kudner of Art Moehn Chevrolet and David Fisher of The Suburban Collection, which touts itself as Michigan's largest car dealer.

All have given between $2,000 and $4,000, according to election records collected by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, a nonpartisan archive of contributions to political campaigns.


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