Here we go again with Tesla and its media blitz
NADA to respond to Post editorial slamming dealers
Just when everyone thought Elon Musks one man crusade to exempt his Tesla EV sales from state auto retail licensing laws had gone away, alas its back. Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lanes write-up in last Thursdays Washington Post confirms it (Tesla vs. the dealerships, Mar. 13). Curiously, TWP editorialist Lane disavows anything positive about Musks high-end, electric sports cars — which he condemns principally for being government subsidized. But theres one place where Tesla stands on the side of the free market angels, and thats in the companys business plan for selling cars directly to consumers, rather than through auto dealers which Lane sees as nothing more than a costly, outmoded monopoly on new car sales in the U.S.
And on we go from there with the editorial: A Goldman Sachs analyst in 2000 said consumers would save $2,225 on new cars with average MSRPs of $26,000, if only dealers werent in the loop. Not only that, a GM executive publically opined in 1999 that 80% of new car sales could be factory direct orders made online by 2003 This would have happened, Lane contends, but for the dealer lobby which mobilized to win state bans on Internet sales to anyone except existing licensed dealers.
So Lane sees an Armageddon of sorts coming that will inevitably arise from protracted political and regulatory warfare between car dealers and disruptive market entrants, like Tesla.
And while Lane insists hes no fan of (Musks) electric cars or the government subsidies that enabled them, the Posts editorialist says hes rooting for Musk in this battle
Perhaps Lane would have at least had more timely references for his write-up — than one from Goldman Sachs 14 years ago, or from some nameless guy at GM 15 years ago — had he read his own newspaper, or USA Today eight months ago when WANADA and NADA, respectively, answered specious, Elon Musk-inspired articles attacking the franchise system and state auto retail licensing laws . Maybe Lane could have saved himself and the Posts readership the trouble of wading through the clap trap he wrote about dealers that completely left out the reality that no one who retails new cars not Musk or anyone else — gets a pass on complying with state licensing laws that regulate auto retailing to protect car buyers.
As it is, here we go again with Musk and his billionare-guy obsession with not doing what he doesnt want to do, like complying with the laws in states where he wants to retail his cars. Once again, were left with Musks mantra, which hes learned that the shortsighted in the news business will embrace out of hand, namely, that dealer retailers are a problem for car buyers best remedied by Teslas straight-from-the-factory-to-you retail model where no dealer is necessary. Not necessary, at least, until the consumer tries to buy a car with no inventory to look at, or have any place to trade his/her car; let alone any place to receive much, if any, assistance with financing and vehicle registration. And no dealer necessary until the car owner needs a convenient service stop and doesnt have one; or experiences a defect under the warranty short of the vehicle bursting into flames, wed hope and handling it online, instead of face- to- face with a retailer professional, just doesnt get it.
NADA is answering this weeks Post editorial , while WANADA with MADA, VADA and the dealer associations network across the country will stay vigilant in taking care that the dealer community supports states which have and enforce auto retail licensing laws that are on the books to protect the people dealers are in business serve, those being Americas car buyers.
Stay tuned.Download Bulletin PDF