The New York State Automobile Dealers Association is pressuring the government to ban automobile manufacturers from registering their own stores, in order to force them to sell through third-party dealers. But a bill put before the New York State legislature died on the vine, leaving auto dealers wringing their hands.
This is yet another attempt by an automobile dealer association to prevent Tesla Motors and anyone else from selling their own cars directly to consumers. There were successful attempts to block Tesla sales in Virginia and Texas, while Massachusetts and Minnesotta have shot down similar bills. Meanwhile North Carolina is still considering which way to vote. Battle lines are being drawn, and New York is a big target for both sides.
Yet many of these dealers associations seem to be resorting to fear-mongering to get their point across. It is interesting how Don Hall of VADA implied that what Tesla Motors was doing was illegal by saying that Tesla Motors must “abide by the law”, while at the same time advocating the passage of a law that would make what they are already doing (direct sales) illegal.
Don is just trying to get people to think Tesla Motors is breaking the law so they will agree with him, and prevent the public outcry that stopped New York’s similar bill. It worked in Virginia, but car dealers are far from loved here in America, and if these associations push too hard, they could trigger a Federal ruling that could disassemble the automotive franchise system entirely.
Dealer associations are treading on thin ice, though it is still too soon to say which side is winning the war. Arguably, the dealers have the most to lose, so expect this fight to get fiercer before it slows down.