All across the country, state legislatures are being asked to consider whether laws protecting car dealerships from automakers also prevent Tesla from owning and operating its own stores. So far, most states have sided with Tesla, but that hasn’t deterred dealership owners in Georgia from going after the electric automaker over a technicality. This time though, Tesla might be in a bit more trouble.
You see, it seems Tesla applied for a statutory exemption from the traditional dealership laws that prevent most automakers from owning and operating any of their own stores, reports Transport Evolved. This exemption is often reserved for boutique, custom automakers that sell less than 150 vehicles a year. Tesla is already selling far more than that number of cars, even if you only accounted for Georgia, and this has the dealer association up in arms.
Usually there’s a loophole in these protectionist laws, such as automakers can’t compete against their own franchisees in a state…and since there are no franchised car dealerships, Tesla is often granted clemency from these long-standing laws. In this case though, the loophole is about to be closed, as Tesla has gone from small-time maker of the $100,000 electric Roadster to what will soon be a full-line automaker.
It’s far from a done deal though, and so far Georgia has been one of the most supportive states to be an EV owner in, offering a $5,000 tax rebate to buyers of electric cars. Republicans had attempted to end the incentive program but were shot down, though in this case Tesla might have a harder battle on its hands. The electric automaker was planning to open two more stores in the state, but a defeat here could be a big setback. Meanwhile Tesla is still fighting similar battles in Texas, Arizona, and New Jersey, though other measures in states like Missouri have been soundly defeated.
I guess people just aren’t that fond of their car dealers. Who’d a thunk it?