Tesla wins right to open second Virginia store in Richmond
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Richard Holcomb has granted Tesla the right to open a second store in Virginia. The new store would be in addition to the gallery in Tysons, where staff are not allowed to discuss prices or offer test drives. The Virginia Automobile Dealers Association will likely appeal the decision.
As in most states, Virginia law prohibits direct manufacturer sales to customers, but with exceptions. One exception is when no dealer is available to sell a particular brand of cars in a manner consistent with the public interest.
That is the point Holcomb picked up on. After careful review of the entire record, I find that there is no dealer independent of Tesla in the community or trade area of Richmond, Va., to own and operate a Tesla franchise in a manner consistent with the public interest, he wrote in his decision.
Eleven dealers sent letters to Tesla saying they were interested in selling its cars, but the company dismissed them as form letters orchestrated by VADA. Five dealers testified at hearings earlier this year expressing their interest, but Holcomb said they had not created business plans or shown they could service the cars, according to the Washington Post.
VADA called the decision politically motivated, reported Automotive News. VADA president Don Hall said earlier that Tesla had violated the terms of its agreement by letting staff at its Tysons gallery discuss prices and offer test drives. The company said it plans to start construction on its Richmond store soon.Download Bulletin PDF