The Hartford Business Journal recently held a poll asking whether or not Tesla and other car companies should be allowed to sell directly to consumers in Connecticut. This is important because recently the town of East Hartford ruled in favor of local auto dealerships, which don’t want Tesla, Rivian, or other automakers that sell directly to customers in their city. I’ve been covering this drama since last year and you can read the recap and the latest news here.
Wtf? The dealer mafia came full force with the NO hammer. pic.twitter.com/caoTioqea5
— Trevor Scott 🏴☠️🦋𝕏 (@Space_Taz) March 23, 2022
The Tesla Owners Club of Connecticut reached out to me on Twitter and asked me to help share the poll, so I voted and shared it on Twitter. It’s pure lunacy that many Tesla owners have to go out of state to have their cars serviced.
Thank you @JohnnaCrider1 🙏
This vote is kind of rigged because someone can vote an unlimited amount of times. I know that people are on our side, I really think the dealers are just rigging this in their favor @SawyerMerritt @WholeMarsBlog
— Tesla Owners Connecticut (@CtTesla) March 23, 2022
Will Cross with the Tesla Owners of Connecticut told me in a Twitter message, “Consumers in Connecticut really do care about this issue. Pro-consumer laws that eliminate monopolies are what we need.” Editor’s note: it could just as easily be argued that eliminating monopolies is exactly what the laws are doing, since Tesla maintains a monopoly on who can sell, maintain, and service their cars.
Regarding the poll, the Hartford Business Journal wrote, “Connecticut law forbids motor vehicle manufacturers from selling their products directly to customers, a fact that has kept electric vehicle maker Tesla, which does not use dealers, from further expanding its commercial presence in the state. Tesla has argued that the law is an unnecessary restriction on consumers, but dealers say the existing law is needed to protect buyers’ interests when recalls or other large-scale issues arise.”
James Riley, a local Tesla owner whose home and workplace would have been minutes away from the new Tesla service center, told me:
“I believe Tesla should be able to sell cars to whomever they please in any state and open up a service center in any state. Imagine if Ford or another auto OEM couldn’t have a service center in Connecticut? This Tesla service center would be 20 minutes away from my house and 3-5 minutes away from my work, and now I will have to drive over an hour to the Milford, CT service center to get my car looked at. Luckily mobile service can help me most of the time and rotates my tires and such for me at home.
“It sucks honestly because I save up all this money for my dream car and local governments trash it and work against me.”
Initially, the poll had few votes, but most of the votes were against Tesla and other automakers selling EVs directly to customers. Once I shared it with the Tesla community, many added in their votes. When the poll closed, the final vote was 66% — yes and 34% — no.
Additional Thoughts On The Tesla Dealer Poll
I think the poll is a good thing because it gives the local media feedback not just from the local Tesla community but the international one as well. Many people around the world love their Teslas and other EVs and have shared their thoughts in my thread about the poll. I think it will also help bring awareness to the fact that it’s just plain silly that Tesla can’t even provide service to its own customers in some areas such as East Hartford.
Kris @Teslanatrix noted that this was more insane than the water saga around Giga Berlin. David Warriner pointed out that the poll only mentions selling cars. He asked, “Does this prevent Tesla from opening up service centers?”
Considering the recent ruling of East Hartford, I would say yes, since Tesla was banned from opening up a simple service center in the town.
Twitter user @Nitzao brought up the stupidity of not allowing automakers to sell directly to customers. They said,
“It’s kinda dumb … the legacy OEMs and dealership need to stop slowing the progress. Anyone should have the choice to buy directly or not.”
John Talmid replied to my tweet on Twitter. He pointed out that he understood why the laws would prohibit direct-to-customer sales since large manufacturers wanted to cut out the middle man. However, he added, car dealers don’t know how to sell EVs and they are not doing EVs any justice.
I think that consumers should be allowed to buy what they want, when and where they want. Since vehicles are not illegal to own, they should be able to buy them directly without having to jump through legal loopholes and deal with the consequences of politics.
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