The Michigan Department of Treasury acquired about $48 million in Tesla's stock for the state employees' retirement systems during the three months that ended in June 2016, tripling its stake in the company to about $72 million, the Detroit News reports, citing US Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The state's portfolio is worth about $60 billion, so it's not putting all of its eggs in that proverbial basket. It is, however, putting more eggs there than in Ford and GM, where the state holds about $31 million in stock. Combined.
Treasury representatives say its investments are made independent of state-regulator decisions, and they sure do appear to be made independent of the state's rather strong dealership lobby as well. Michigan, of course, is one of the holdout states that won't allow Tesla to sell cars directly to customers, which the automaker insists it needs to do, bypassing third-party dealerships. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill in October 2014 prohibiting Tesla's direct vehicle sales.
Even with all of this hassle, there are about 400 Michigan residents driving Teslas – they have to go to Chicago, Cleveland, or Windsor, Ontario to get those cars serviced – and some of those folks have taken to giving out test drives to prospective Tesla buyers in order to boost interest and help the cause of overturning the sales ban. Additionally, Tesla applied for a dealership license in Michigan late last year, though there's no word on what the state will decide on that.