The Virginia Automobile Dealers Association has filed a long, convoluted complaint with the state’s Motor Vehicle Dealer Board. It accuses Tesla Motors of committing illegal acts at is authorized dealership in Tyson’s Corners and at a nearby gallery store in a shopping mall. To hear the VADA tell it, Tesla has done such heinous things as offering customers test drives, fudging official reports on state mandated fees, and engaging in illegal advertising. It stops just short of charging Tesla with mopery on the high seas.
VADA CEO Don Hall, who apparently doesn’t have a real job and needs something to fill his time, required 10 pages to outline all the offenses he says Tesla is guilty of. “VADA believes it has a duty to bring these repeated violations to the attention of the MVDB so that the MVDB may protect its credibility in the face of such reckless law-breaking,” Hall wrote in his letter. In an email to Automotive News, he added that the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board, the state agency charged with oversight of the auto dealer industry, has “100 percent authority to stop Tesla, thus our letter.”
Tesla has applied for a second dealership license in Virginia. The VADA vehemently opposes that request. In fact, it has sued the company and the state Department of Motor Vehicles to block the application. In its letter, it asks for an investigation into all of Tesla’s activities within the Commonwealth.
The Virginia Automobile Dealers Association is calling on state regulators to investigate and sanction Tesla Motors for alleged violations at its existing locations in the state.
Company spokesperson Khobi Brooklyn told Automotive News in an e-mail, “The franchised dealer lobby in Virginia is taking every possible step, whether through lawsuits, PR campaigns or outright harassment, to try to prevent Virginians from being able to buy cars from Tesla. Each of these actions is legally wrongful and threatens to move Virginia backwards. Virginians who would like to be able to buy a car from Tesla should have the right to do so. Tesla will continue to fight for that.”
All of this sturm und drang over people buying cars directly from the manufacturer? What’s next? Will people now want to buy computers directly from Apple? Maybe they will be so bold as to purchase shoes for a shoe store or clothing from Target? Quick, hide the women and children from such horrors!
There is an old maxim in the practice of law that goes like this: The loudness of your argument is inversely proportional to the strength of your case. Or as Shakespeare might say, “Methinks the dealers doth protest too much.” The traditional car dealer model is dead. The dealers just don’t know it yet. Soon, they will be inundated by a tide of new Teslas as the company ramps up production of the Model 3.
Elon Musk has already defeated the likes of the Russian space agency, Boeing, Lockheed, and NASA. The car dealers of Virginia will be swept aside by Musk and Tesla just as surely as the sun rises in the east. The only question is when.
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