Tesla continues its fight against state franchise laws, this time in Michigan
Tesla keeps fighting for states to allow it to sell its cars directly to consumers instead of through dealers. As the first of its Model 3 sedans are released, the next battleground is Michigan. Tesla has filed suit against the state to overturn its direct sales ban, saying the ban discriminates against out-of-state interests. The suit promises to drag into 2018.
Whatever the outcome, the suit will set a precedent, David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research, told the Detroit News. Cole and other analysts have said that Teslaês promise so far is based on hype rather than sales.
Michigan consumers who want to buy a Tesla can view it at a gallery showroom in Nordstrom, similar to the one in Tysons Corner, Virginia. They would then order their car online and pick it up in a nearby state that allows direct Tesla sales to consumers without dealer retailers.
A bill introduced in the Michigan legislature last year by Rep. Aaron Miller (R) would allow Tesla and other automakers to sell directly to retailers rather than through dealers. The bill never got a hearing. But Tesla believes the increasingly conservative legislature may be more persuaded by free market arguments now.
Auto dealers, said the Detroit News, are a powerful force in state politics. The article noted that a dealer-related political action committee has given more than $1 million to elected officials in Michigan since 2011.Download Bulletin PDF