So far Tesla has won lawsuits in several states giving it the right to sell its cars directly to customers, and it is pursuing the cause in other states as well. But Virginia recently slapped down Tesla’s attempt to sell its electric Model S directly to customers. Can Tesla overcome this setback?
Automobile dealers associations have been trying to prevent Tesla Motors from opening its own dealerships because they want to force Tesla Motors to sell through them, and middlemen like that cost money. Elon Musk argues that the Tesla Model S is a different kind of car, and requires a different kind of sales experience. Tesla Motors has been selling its cars by itself, which is unusual, but perfectly fine. In Minnesota, the Automobile Dealers Association attempted to block Tesla Motors from opening dealerships , but they failed. The same thing happened in Massachusetts.
However, Tesla is banned from opening dealerships in Virginia. Tesla did request to open a dealership in Virginia in 2012, but that was opposed by the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association (VADA). The VADA president, Don Hall, said “We welcome Tesla to Virginia, but they too must abide by the laws like all other manufacturers and Virginia new car and truck dealers”.
However, while the law is restrictive, it does apparently say that a factory-owned store can be accepted if “no independent dealer is available to operate the franchise in a manner consistent with the public interest.” Laws like this were intended to prevent large car manufactuers from selling directly to customers and putting franchise dealerships out of business. But since Tesla has no franchise dealerships, these laws (generally) don’t apply to Tesla.
But this fight is far from over, and Elon Musk stands to change the way we buy cars entirely.
Source: Car Scoops