Tesla goes to Utah Supreme Court over direct car sales

Automaker is engaged in a similar fight in Texas, Michigan, and Missouri.

View 31 Photos
Tesla Motors has approached the Utah Supreme Court to get approval to sell its electric vehicles directly to the public without a third-party dealership, the Salt Lake Tribune says. For the past year, legislators within the state have voted against allowing the California-based automaker to pursue its distribution model. The Utah Supreme Court is expected to take a few weeks to rule on the issue.

By approaching the court, Tesla's making good on the intentions made by Tesla chief Elon Musk this summer. Earlier this year, Tesla and Utah were working towards a potential compromise in the form of HB384, but Tesla would've been allowed to severely restrict its on-site vehicle inventory and would've had to deliver its new cars directly to consumers instead of letting them drive the new cars off the lot. Tesla balked at the proposed rules.

So while Tesla operates a "gallery" of vehicles in South Salt Lake as well as 11 Supercharger quick-charge stations throughout the state, it still can't sell cars there. That puts Utah in the same boat as Michigan, Connecticut, and Texas as the lone holdouts requiring the third-party dealership distribution model. Tesla sued Michigan Governor Rick Snyder as well as Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and State Attorney General Bill Schuette over the matter. Michigan recently denied Tesla's request for a new dealership license. Tesla was also on the losing end of a Missouri judge's September ruling over whether the automaker would be allowed to sell its vehicles directly to customers in the Show-Me State. Tesla has three showrooms there, and is working on another near St. Louis. But, as with Tesla's Utah gallery, prospective customers can look, and they can touch, but they can't buy.

Share This Photo X