Iowa recently banned Tesla from taking prospective customers on test drives, which ended a planned Model S driving event a day early after the local car dealers association complained. But there’s nothing prevent private citizens from putting on their own Tesla test drive, which is exactly what a bunch of Model S owners decided to do reports KCCI 8 News.
Model S owners, most of them from neighboring Minnesota, came down to Urbandale, Iowa in force to put on a private test drive event. Because these owners don’t work for Tesla, the event was totally legal, showcasing just how silly these rules preventing direct car sales are. Auto dealers in Iowa want to force Tesla into a franchise model similar to the conventional auto industry, but Elon Musk is sticking to his direct sales model, saying traditional dealerships aren’t up to the task of selling electric vehicles.
Though Tesla won a ruling in Massachusetts that lets it keep operating its direct sales model,, Texas, Maryland, Arizona, and now Michigan have either passed. But that won’t stop the growing number of Tesla enthusiasts ready to work for free on the automaker’s behalf. You can’t buy that kind of customer loyalty, which also includes a number of fan-made videos easily worthy of the big screen.
Auto dealers are fighting a losing battle in the court of public opinion as well; the reputation of car buying as one of the most frustrating consumer experiences certainly isn’t helping the dealers win any allies. Yet Tesla seems to count more and more supporters in its corner everyday, which makes Elon’s victory over the dealership associations seem all but inevitable.
The irony here is that Musk is already considering a hybrid system of factory and franchise-owned Tesla stores, so dealership associations are expending all this money and effort, and they’ll probably end up getting what they want anyways…but maybe not with the bullshit protectionist laws they’ve embedded via political contributions for the past century.