Like Virginia, Maryland regulators say Tesla cant bypass dealer licensing law[/CENTER
Tesla got its answer from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration as it did earlier from Virginias Department of Motor Vehicles: No, the electric vehicle manufacturer may not skirt dealer licensing laws to retail cars without dealers. Counsel to Marylands MVA said as much in a written opinion that the agency doesnt have the authority to grant a waiver.
On point, Marylands Dealer Licensing Law states clearly that only licensed dealers may retail motor vehicles. Marylands law also specifies requirements for dealer locations, and indeed bars manufacturers from retailing vehicles directly to consumers. Dealers must have a fixed retail location where selling vehicles is the principal business, and there must be a repair facility onsite or at a proximate location nearby.
In the Washington area, as elsewhere across the U.S., Tesla aims to sell vehicles directly to consumers through an online ordering system. The manufacturer has an information center in Tysons Corner, Virginia, but the website says specifically that it is not a dealership. The likely reason for Teslas Tysons disclaimer is the Virginia DMVs finding, in line now with that of the Maryland MVA, that the electric automaker could not legally retail vehicles in the commonwealth without dealers. As it stands in Maryland, Tesla has a service center in Rockville.
With the Texas legislature just last week rejecting bills that would have enabled Tesla to sell directly to consumers there, NADA is challenging Teslas quest to go dealerless in the court of public opinion, evidenced by todays article on the subject in Reuters.Download Bulletin PDF