Tesla rallied its supporters this week in an effort to block the bill from becoming law, sending an email asking them to call their representatives. Tesla also said HB1254 was "authored and pushed by General Motors." and GM favored the law, claiming Tesla was asking to play by "special rules" in the state. Tesla has sold cars in Indiana since 2014. The company has one store in Indianapolis. Tesla and GM currently do not sell any vehicles that directly compete, but that will change when the Chevy Bolt and Model 3 arrive. As Tesla general counsel told the Indy Star, "[GM's] Chevy Bolt will be competing against our mass-market car, so they have timed this bill specifically so once we start selling the Model 3 against their Bolt, we can no longer sell in the state."
A Tesla spokesperson told AutoblogGreen that:
GM communications manager Chris Meagher sent the following statement to AutoblogGreen:
Tesla thanks Chairman Buck and the Committee on Commerce and Technology for affirming the decision to send HB1254 to summer study. Existing Indiana law supports free markets by providing a level playing field for all manufacturers to be able to apply for and receive a dealer license while protecting existing franchised dealer interests. We look forward to participating in the upcoming summer study process where we will be able to fully air the issues of vehicle sales and consumer choice in an open and public forum.
For more on the build up to today's vote, read this and this.
GM is very pleased that we were able to elevate the issue of disparity impacting our dealer partners in Indiana, that this received as much attention as it did, and that this issue advanced as far as it did. We appreciate the Indiana legislature for taking this on, debating, and helping raise the profile of this important issue, which demonstrates the inequity of different competitors having different rules in the marketplace.
GM believes in robust competition in the electric vehicle market.
We will continue to work on this issue in Indiana and nationally, and will continue to express our concern anywhere we find market participants are operating under different rules.