Indiana is becoming the latest battleground in Tesla’s seemingly endless war against car dealers and automakers over the right to sell its vehicles directly to consumers without having to go through third-party dealers.
The state legislature introduced a new bill that would prohibit Tesla from selling its cars in the state this week and they did it in the most unsubtle way…
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While most states that have banned or are trying to ban Tesla’s sales model are doing it by banning direct sales of vehicles by all automakers – even those who have never had a franchise deal – Indiana is crafting a bill especially for Tesla.
Of course, it doesn’t name the company in the bill, but it might as well considering just how specifically they are targeting the automaker.
State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, has filed the House Bill 1592 that bans manufacturers of “all-electric vehicles” from selling directly to consumers. That’s already enough to make Tesla the only company affected by the bill, but furthermore, it adds that it applies to automakers without franchises.
That’s mind-boggling since the state bans of direct sales were first implemented to protect car dealer franchisees from having to unfairly compete against the automakers from which they bought their franchises. It makes sense to a degree, but the competition is not unfair if it’s against an automaker that is not competing with its own franchises, like Tesla.
Badly crafted legislations included all automakers in the ban, which prevents Tesla from selling its cars in some states, but Indiana is intentionally trying to include the provision in its own ban. In the process, it is showing the true color of the bill – to protect the monopoly car dealers have on the sales of vehicles.
Under the proposed law, Tesla would be able to sell 1,000 cars per year in the state for the next 2 years and then it would have to stop its operations.
A similar bill was introduced last year but shut down after a successful campaign by the company, Tesla owners, and enthusiasts. They are now again trying to block the new effort by Soliday. Tesla created a website, freemarketindiana.com, in attempt to inform locals about what they describe as an attack on the free market.
They list their investments in Indiana:
- A similar bill backed by local dealership was shut down last year, but now they are trying again
- The company opened a store in Indianapolis which contributes more than $10 million annually in direct economic impact.
- Tesla employs 25 people in the store and service operations.
- Tesla purchases nearly $43 million per year in parts and components from Indiana-Based businesses.
- Tesla is investing in a new state-of-the-art service center in Indianapolis that will open in early 2017.
- Tesla has installed four supercharger stations through Indiana, located in Angola, Indianapolis, Lafayette And Mishawaka.
It’s only the latest example of Tesla’s struggle with its direct sale model. Tesla is currently suing the state of Michigan for the same reason.