While Tesla is riding high in some areas of the country, the sad reality is that not everyone in the United States can purchase one within their state’s boundaries, let alone take a Model S for a test drive anywhere close to home. The latest state that is making movements to block direct car sales, and shut down Tesla, is Michigan. Some are crying foul since it is the home state of the Big Three, which certainly aren’t fan of the other American automaker that is far too much like Tucker in its propensity to stir things up.
Legislatures in the Great Lakes state figure that the old way of buying a car, which is through a dealership that isn’t owned by the automaker, is the best way to do things. At least, that’s what the Wall Street Journal is reporting. Undoubtedly, Tesla will try to fight the pending legislation, but victory looks less than certain.
Already, the electric car company has been blocked from selling the Model S and upcoming Model X in numerous states like Arizona, Texas, New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland. The Georgia Automobile Dealers Association has started efforts to block Tesla sales in its state. Victories have been few, with a recent compromise in Pennsylvania among them.
As it has stated in the past, Tesla will likely argue that franchised, third-party dealerships won’t get how to market the unique electric cars properly. Why such dealers and their employees can’t be trained to do just that isn’t entirely clear. The fact of the matter is that Tesla currently cannot legally sell its cars in several parts of the United States, and the list of bans will likely grow in the near future.
At what point does Tesla bite the bullet and figure out how to engage in channel sales? It might never modify or abandon the direct sales model, which just might be the edge competitors like Fisker need to gain an advantage.