Connecticut is one of the few states that still prevent Tesla from selling its vehicles directly to consumers and it’s not because the automaker is not trying.
Tesla is making another push with the state legislature to allow direct sales for the fourth year in a row.
The Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association (CARA) has been lobbying to retain its monopoly on vehicle sales in the state by using old laws that prohibit automakers from selling vehicles to consumers without going through franchise dealerships. Those laws exist to protect dealership against potential unfair competition against their own automakers, but they are trying to apply them to automakers who have never had franchise dealerships, like Tesla.
They have been leading several efforts to block Tesla’s attempt to obtain an exemption to sell its vehicles all the way back in 2014.
The first year Tesla tried to get access to the market, CARA published a website called ‘TeslaCrash.com’ when the bill was first announced. The website was using questionable methods to try to discredit Tesla, including featuring pictures and articles about benign accidents, hence the name of the domain.
They stepped up their game over the years – resulting in an even more active campaign in 2017 that included sending ‘secret shoppers’ to try to shut down Tesla’s gallery in Greenwich.
During the last legislative push, Tesla even promised to open 10 stores in Connecticut by the end of next year if they were made allowed to sell in the state.
A company executive even warned that ‘thousands’ of Model 3 reservations holders will go outside of Connecticut to buy if direct sales weren’t legal by the end of the year.
That turned out not to be true because of delays in Model 3 production, but it’s likely going to be the case this year since deliveries have now started on the east coast.
The company has now started another push in the state this week to try to get legislation passed for direct sales of electric vehicles.
Tesla’s Will Nicholas, policy manager, told Hartford Courant today that buyers have access to Tesla’s vehicles in states all around Connecticut and the state could lose as much as $5 million in taxes if they let those buyers go outside the state to make their purchase, like they do now.
CARA is again opposing the effort claiming that they will lose jobs and that it will lead to Chinese and Indian companies selling their cars in the state. They didn’t offer any evidence that it would happen or an explanation why they wouldn’t be able to compete with those companies or Tesla in a free market.
I can’t wait until I will not have to report on this nonsense, but states like Texas, Michigan, and Connecticut are making it hard to see an end to it.
We will keep an eye on this latest push in Connecticut. If you have something to say about it, we would suggest to let your local legislators know what you think of the situation.