Dealerships really, really hate Tesla — and electric vehicles in general — and they are doing everything they can to prevent Tesla, Rivian, and other auto manufacturers from selling directly to their customers. One dealership in Hartford, Hoffman Auto Group, has now sued Tesla, East Hartford, and a development company because they don’t want Tesla to sell directly to its customers. This is the equivalent of a toddler stamping their feet and screaming over a candy bar in the grocery store — actually worse, much worse. Toddlers don’t really know any better — it’s up to the parents to teach them — and they are just reacting in the moment. In the case of the dealerships, they know full well that their outdated model hurts consumers, and they don’t care. They are basically trying to cheat on the theoretical “free market.”
The Hartford Courant reported that the dealership asked a Hartford Superior Court judge to set aside the town’s decision allowing Tesla to have a service center and showroom there. Hoffman, under the business name of Jetobra Inc, claimed that Tesla’s showroom violates Connecticut law, which prohibits car manufacturers from sidestepping dealerships by selling directly to consumers.
— Alexarion (@alexarion26) June 1, 2021
The lawsuit stated that a dispute exists as to whether or not Tesla can operate its service center and showroom, which was allowed by a special use permit that was issued by East Hartford’s planning and zoning commission.
The lawsuit claims that the decision by East Hartford violated state laws “in regard to new and used car dealers in the state of Connecticut,” according to the lawsuit filed by the dealership’s attorney, Richard Weinstein of West Hartford.
It should be noted that this lawsuit was filed with mere days remaining in the General Assembly session — where legislation allowing direct car sales bypassing the dealerships has not advanced since it was voted out of the transportation committee in March. We’ve been covering this saga in Connecticut for a while. Citizens want to buy EVs and the state wants to go green, but dealerships are doing all that they can to prevent both from happening.
The Ugly Truth About Dealerships
Auto dealerships often hate Tesla, Rivian, and other EV manufacturers that want to sell directly to their customers. Even if it halts progress and hurts customers, they don’t care. Keep in mind that not every single person working in a dealership is ruthless like this. I’m just referring to the organized associations that benefit from hurting consumers and that do all they can, whether that’s lobbying state and local governments or bullying EV advocates to cave to their demands.
The dealerships even convinced a major ally to the EV movement, Plug In America, to change its stance from supporting the rights of automakers such as Tesla and Rivian to sell directly to their customers to just ignoring the topic.
In a statement from Plug In America to CleanTechnica, a spokesperson said that the company decided to step back from that work and not take sides in specific sales channel disputes between manufacturers and dealers. This was so the organization could focus on other programs that advance its core mission of accelerating EV sales. One such program is PlugStar, which trains auto dealers to become more successful in selling EVs. “It is hard for us to carry out this program when we are in the middle of a dispute between dealers and manufacturers — especially one that is somewhat tangential to our main work.” You can read the full statement here.
The truth is that dealerships don’t want Tesla and other automakers to kick them out of the game. Dealerships are well known for fighting dirty while claiming that they provide consumer protection — which is, in fact, a lie. Consumer protection by dealerships is a myth. I recently wrote an article covering how the dealerships in New York are fighting Tesla, Rivian, and others and took a dive into just how dark and dirty the practices dealerships have used.
These people really don’t care about anything else except their own greed, and as consumers start to wake up, they will continue to fight harder and dirtier. These battles for direct sales in Connecticut, New York, Texas, and my own state (Louisiana) are soaked in fossil-fueled corruption and are long and exhausting, but they are worth it when won. We’re fighting for a cleaner future.