As it stands now, the approximately 400 owners of Tesla vehicles in Michigan need to go to Chicago (about 300 miles from Detroit), Cleveland (170 miles from the Motor City), or Windsor (across the border in Canada) for test drives or to get their vehicles repaired or serviced. Granted, there's a new legislative effort in Michigan that was launched in February and is geared towards allowing Tesla to sell directly without the middle man, but given Michigan's standing as the center of US automobile production, dealer lobbying efforts remain strong.
Meanwhile, Tesla continues to work its way around the country, most recently challenging Utah's laws prohibiting direct-to-consumer sales. The California-based automaker argues that Tesla's electric vehicles should only be sold through the company because of its greater knowledge of the product and unique service proposition such as over-the-air software improvements and other features. A Tesla representative didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Autoblog about the Michigan test-drive efforts.
Earlier this year, Tesla applied for a dealership license in MIchigan in an effort to force the hand of Michigan's secretary of state, but, surprise, the state has been slow in processing the application.