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Published on February 16th, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro

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Dealers & Republicans Attempt Anticompetitive, Anti-Free Market Tesla Ban… Again



Originally published on Gas2.

tesla-store-ohio

An Ohio state senator, backed by local car dealers has for the second time introduced a measure that would ban the sales of the Tesla Model S. So much for the unfettered free market, eh?

Change can be scary. I get it, I really do, but these anti-Tesla laws are insane, plain and simple. Car dealership owners simply foresee Tesla’s factory-owned dealer model as threatening their livelihood, and they’ll stoop to new lows to prevent Elon Musk’s electric car maker from setting down roots. In Ohio, a measure banning the direct sale of cars by manufacturers was already stricken down, but don’t expect dealers to go quietly into the night.

With paid-for Republican Tom Patton leading the way, the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association has re-entered the same bill for consideration to the state senate, albeit with the provision that Tesla’s two currently operating stores remain open. Tesla is currently fighting similar legislation in at least four other states, with a mixed rate of success so far. Tesla sales are banned in Texas, but other markets have opened their doors to the electric car maker.

Dealership associations are fighting to preserve a model that has prevented major car makers from selling vehicles directly to consumers for decades now. Tesla is able to get around many of these state laws because there are no Tesla franchises to compete with, so dealer associations and their Republican cronies are scrambling to rewrite the laws in order to force Tesla to comply with the franchise model.

It’s absolute insanity, and the fact that a single company can be so blatantly and unfairly targeted should piss off anybody who considers themselves a car enthusiast. Regardless of your opinion on electric cars, they should be allowed to thrive or die on their own merits. Banning Tesla will hardly prevent excited enthusiasts from getting their electric sedans, one way or another, and it’s just another way that Tesla is disrupting the status quo.

Let’s hope Ohio voters see through these shenanigans, and put Patton out on his ass come the next election cycle.

Source: The Dispatch

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About the Author

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. When he isn't wrenching or writing, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • sranger

    Please name ONE benefit to the consumer that an independent dealership provides to the consumer that a simple service center could not?

    As near as I can tell you get to pay a middle man to lie to you, annoy you and try in every way to cheat you…

    Keep in my that when you are fighting a dealer for a fair price, the only thing you are negotiating on is the dealers’s mark up. The manufacture get the same amount regardless…

    • Bob_Wallace

      I agree. The dealership model is outdated.

      Set up some showrooms where I can look at the models available. Let me sit in one and take a test drive if I need to.

      Sell me a car on line for a fixed price. Give me a list of manufacturer approved repair/service shops where I can get any warranty work done if needed.

      I would have bought a Saturn had they made something that fit my needs. Just to avoid commission-driven salespeople.

  • http://www.energyquicksand.com/ Edward Kerr

    This shows just how morally bankrupt our political system has become. Following the money it would appear that the auto industry and it’s joined at the hip friend the fossil fuel industry have now shed all of their clothing and stand naked before us. The real insult to our intelligence is that they imagine we can’t see right through their greed and mendacity.
    With the dire consequences that a warmer planet promises anyone who resists change at this time has sunk from stupid to criminal. What they are doing here is nothing less than premeditated murder and what they don’t understand..suicide. Friggin idiots….

  • Larry

    “Oh what a tangled web we weave When we practice to deceive” Wm Shakespeare ( a few hundred years ago). Still applicable.

  • Ross

    The GOP need to find new sources of campaign funding and bribes.

  • Jim Seko

    When auto dealers fight Tesla it results in more FREE publicity for Tesla. Keep it up auto dealers!

  • J_JamesM

    Funny how quick the Republicans are to abandon their principles when it’s one of their interests being outcompeted on the free market. Hypocrites.

    • http://electrobatics.wordpress.com/ arne-nl

      European auto dealers have always survived just fine without protection.

      • J_JamesM

        Then it makes you wonder exactly why these dealers are concerned, doesn’t it?

  • Jim Smith

    Republicans (like Democrats) talk out of both sides of their mouths. Republicans say they are against big government, yet here they are adding laws to the books, growing the government. Free markets? LOL.

  • Albertico

    So they are scared other car manufacturers will follow suit and sell directly to the customer, cutting them off completely? That’s how progress works. Nobody enjoys dealing with a middleman, and that’s what car dealerships are.

    The car manufacturers set a base price for the vehicles, and then the car dealerships increase that price so they can make a profit selling it to you. The only thing dealerships are good for is doing service repair for your cars. Alas, if the car manufacturer can also provide this service like Tesla does, then they don’t need a regular car dealership model to sell their car.

    Is insanity to even want to make a case for these dealerships. They simply do not want any kind of competition or for the customers to have a choice in the matter. They know for a fact, customers will almost always choose the direct car buying experience if this catches on. Who wouldn’t?

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      Thanks for the great summary! And they are also completely unprepared for a transition to EVs, are not interested in selling them (for the most part). And cuts into their repair revenue tremendously.

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