Tesla has a really big location in Charlotte, North Carolina – pictured above. In most other states, it would be considered a Service plus location, which includes both a store and service center, but due to direct sales restrictions and Tesla’s inability to obtain a dealer license, the location is considered “gallery” and service center.
And now we learn that Tesla is subject to further restrictions as the DMV asked the automaker to stop offering test drives out of the location.
Tesla has been facing opposition from other automakers trying to stop them from selling their vehicles directly to customers in North Carolina after the company had pushed a new bill in the Senate that would open the door for them to obtain more dealership licenses.
Normally, Tesla has more problems fighting the dealerships who keep complaining to the DMV about the automaker’s direct sale business model.
Last year, Tesla was denied a new dealer license by North Carolina’s DMV when local car dealerships evoked the state’s ban on car sales by manufacturers.
They had since negotiated a compromise with them to allow 6 more licenses for Tesla to expand in the state, but the direct-sale bill was shelved in North Carolina earlier this year – reportedly after pressure from automakers.
Featured Image: via Leilani Münter on Medium
Nonetheless, Tesla was still operating its Charlotte location as a “gallery”, where it doesn’t make any transaction, but where it still educate the public on its products. The company told us that they had an understanding with the DMV commissioner that they could still offer test drives to the public with the goal to educate them on their offering.
But Tesla confirmed to Electrek that they were asked by the DMV this week to stop giving test drives out of the Charlotte location.
The demand comes a few months after the DMV had a change of leadership and Torre Jessup was named the new commissioner of the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles.
It’s another step back for Tesla’s right to sell vehicles directly to consumers without having to go through third-party dealerships.
Customers can still purchase Tesla’s vehicles online in the state and have them serviced at Tesla’s locations in Charlotte and Raleigh, but it looks like the automaker is getting more pressure on its business in the state.