Like the fire that forced Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara to flee Atlanta in Gone With the Wind, the battle between Tesla Motors and Georgia's auto dealers is heating up. In late August, the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association (GADA), which represents about 500 dealerships, filed a petition to prevent Tesla from selling its electric vehicles in the state. Tesla is now requesting a Georgia judge to throw out the petition, the Atlanta Business Chronicle says.
"Help me help you!" Tom Cruise's title character pleaded repeatedly in the movie Jerry Maguire. That sentiment could be said by appears to be echoed by a UC Davis study that looks at why many car dealers are loathe to sell plug-in vehicles and how they can be, uh, helped.
Company Might Be Forbidden From Selling Cars, But Fans Can Still Talk To Each Other
A month or so ago, the Iowa Department of Transportation stepped in to prevent Tesla Motors not only from selling the Model S in the state, but even from offering test drives. That move didn't sit right with some people, but it's not stopping the EV-curious in Iowa from learning about the popular electric vehicle thanks to Tesla's dedicated fan base.
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.
The auto dealers around the US, the ones who are frantically trying to stop Tesla Motors from selling its cars directly to consumers, might just need to wait things out. The latest state to take an aggressive stance against Telsa's dealer-free policy is Michigan, but in an new interview with Autoline Daily, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that as the company grows, it may need to introduce franchised dealerships into its sales model.
Bills To Prevent Direct Vehicle Sales Moving Through Legislature
If you figured the home of the US car industry would be against messing with the age-old, franchised-dealer auto distribution system, you'd be right. Michigan, home to the Big Three US automotive companies (General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, now Fiat Chrysler), is moving towards officially disallowing companies like Tesla Motors from selling their cars directly to consumers, according to the Wall Street Journal. Tesla will naturally fight this, but it's one more challenge for the California-based a
California Automaker Opens New Gallery, Not A Store, In Texas
Despite not being allowed to actually sell cars on site - or even offer a test drive - Tesla has opened its newest venue in Texas. As of Friday, NorthPark Center mall in Dallas is home to the newest Tesla Gallery. Don't call it a Store!
EV Automaker Wins Dealer Fight in NY, Trending To Win In NJ
Tesla took two more steps towards being allowed to sell its vehicles as it chooses (that is, direct to customers) this week. Legislative efforts in New Jersey and New York both gave the California automaker legal permission (or near permission) to operate its stores. It's gotten so bad – or good, depending on your views, that other automakers are starting to speak up.
Would create an uneven playing field, says industry group
Unlike dealership groups all over the country, one automaker group isn't taking issue with Tesla Motors being able to sell its electric vehicles through company-owned stores in Pennsylvania. But the idea of no limits on its number of stores? That's a problem.
It's not quite the law that Tesla Motors can sell its car directly to customers in New Jersey, but the state has taken one step closer to that reality. Yesterday, New Jersey's Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee voted 4-0 to approve bill A3216, which would "Permits certain zero emission vehicle manufacturers to directly sell motor vehicles to consumers and requires them to operate service facilities."
The fine folks at Mojo Motors recently put together a US map showing where the Tesla Model S electric vehicles can and can't be legally sold. They marked the "legal" states in blue, "illegal" states in red and "in legislation" states in that proverbial gray area. And darn if that colorful map didn't match up pretty well with a political-party map of the country.
On the subject of Tesla Motors and its efforts to legally sell its electric vehicles directly to consumers without franchised dealerships, the FTC has taken aim at Missouri and New Jersey. The Commission hasn't made any nationwide decision on the subject quite yet, but in a May 16 statement it encouraged the two states to reconsider policies that would further prohibit automakers from selling directly to consumers. And the FTC didn't mince words, calling such laws an example of "protection that
Last week, it looked like Missouri would join the list of states where Tesla Motors would not be allowed to sell its all-electric vehicles directly to consumers. Without warning, language was inserted into a bill about off-road vehicles what would have prevented direct sales in the state. Tesla called it a "sneak attack" and tried to get supporters to let lawmakers know the law was a bad idea.
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"
It looks like Elon Musk has a new group of allies over at the Federal Trade Commission. Writing on the FTC blog, three high-level FTC officials came out against the "protectionist" network of laws in the US that govern automotive dealers and prevent, in some cases, Tesla Motors from selling its cars directly to customers. They called the rules, "bad policy for a number of reasons."
Maybe Tesla should build its proposed gigafactory in the Evergreen State. Last week, Washington Govermor Jay Inslee signed a bill that will allow Tesla to keep selling its electric vehicles through its showrooms and not have to work through third-party dealerships, Automotive News says. That means the California-based electric-vehicle maker can keep its showrooms in Seattle and Bellevue open.
Resistance to the way Tesla Motors sells its cars - directly to the consumer, with no negotiating and no dealer middleman - comes mostly from dealership organizations around the country. It's also illegal in some states, thanks to laws ushered into place with help from dealers. The reaction to Tesla's new style of business is led by what Steve Blank calls, "rent seekers" or "landlords of the status-quo." Tesla itself isn't into that sort of name-calling, but it will take to the courts when neces
Tesla sales in New Jersey were supposed to end today, following the state legislature vote a few weeks ago to pull Tesla's sales license there. At the eleventh hour, though, Gov. Chris Christie's administration has extended the deadline to April 15. The specifics of the situation are that the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) is going to give new car dealers until the middle of the month to submit their franchise agreement (which, of course, Tesla stores don't have). That means, for now,
Plus, company gets a 'win' in Ohio and Marco Rubio speaks out
The ongoing dealer fight against Tesla Motors in a number of states continues to evolve, with two bits of news out of Ohio and New Jersey this week. There is good news and, well, good news. And then there's lots more news.