Michigan says no to Tesla direct sales, again

Looks like there will not be a Tesla store in Grand Rapids.

Tesla's history in Michigan is an unusual one. Local electric vehicle advocates have taken it upon themselves to offer things that other OEMs have dealers for, like test drives. They've also formed the Michigan Freedom to Buy Coalition, a conservative-leaning group that says it wants to promote innovation, defend the free market and support consumer choice. The reason for all of this activity is that Michigan legislators have said that Tesla's direct sales are illegal in the state, which prompted Tesla to apply for a dealership license itself, just to test the waters. Tesla was waiting to hear back about a new application to open retail stores in the state, and that application was once again denied.

Tesla said it wanted to open a store in Grand Rapids, but its application was denied late last week. Following a hearing earlier this month, a Secretary of State spokeswoman told USAToday that, "The license was denied because state law explicitly requires a dealer to have a bona fide contract with an auto manufacturer to sell its vehicles. Tesla has told the department it does not have one, and cannot comply with that requirement."

Tesla is actively fighting against laws prohibiting its direct sales model in a number of states (see also Utah and Virginia, for example). We'd be tremendously surprised if this ends Tesla's attempt to sell its vehicles through its own stores in Michigan. When the next salvo is fired, we'll let you know.

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