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Tesla expands presence in Michigan with new ‘gallery’ despite ban on direct sales

Last year, Tesla pushed the boundaries of Michigan’s ban on the electric automaker’s direct sales model by opening a showroom in the state.

But it was only a small location inside a Nordstrom store, now Tesla is expanding in the state further while still in a legal battle over its right to sell.

In preparation for a new “gallery” to open, construction work next to the Apple store at the luxury Somerset Collection mall in Troy has started reported Detroit News.

A Tesla spokesperson commented on the situation:

“It’s unfortunate that Michigan law takes away rights from consumers in order to protect local car dealers. Tesla continues to fight against that law so that Michigan consumers can enjoy the freedom to buy cars as they wish. In the meantime, as Tesla’s legal challenge proceeds, we are expanding our presence in Michigan in order to educate consumers about the benefits of Tesla’s vehicles and sustainable energy products in a fun and engaging environment. Tesla’s new gallery at the Somerset Mall allows anyone interested in Tesla, including the thousands of Model 3 reservation holders in Michigan, to learn about our technology, energy products and cars, including the fastest accelerating and safest production sedan and SUV that have ever been built.”

A change to the law in 2014 prohibits direct sales from automakers, which is blocking Tesla from obtaining a dealership license and sell cars in the state.

Last year, Tesla filed a lawsuit against the state after claiming that the ban on direct sales violates commerce laws and that it was pushed by car dealers and GM in an attempt to block the electric automaker.

Our latest progress update on the lawsuit:

While Tesla can’t sell vehicles directly at retail locations, they can sell them online and educate the public at stores that they call “galleries”.

Employees working at those galleries can’t discuss pricing or delivery information, nor can they even give test drives, but they can still educate people about Tesla’s products.

Until the issue with the state is resolved, it looks like that will be the best Tesla buyers in Michigan can hope for.

Featured Image: Tesla opens new flagship store in Boston’s Prudential Tower

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