Tesla had a third chance to be allowed to sell its cars direct to consumers in Wisconsin, but it was stopped at the last second by the governor.
Wisconsin Republicans convinced Senator Chris Kapenga, a Republican with reservations about the budget, to vote for their budget by including his provision to allow Tesla’s direct-sale model in the budget.
The state Democrats didn’t vote for the budget, but Kapenga’s vote gave Republicans enough support to pass it and bring it to Governor Tony Evers, who ended up passing the bill with 78 partial vetoes.
One of those vetoes was the provision to allow Tesla’s direct-sale model in the budget.
Here’s Evers’ justification for vetoing the Tesla provision:
“I am vetoing this provision as I object to significant changes to existing motor vehicle dealership law and the consumer protections they provide to Wisconsin occurring late in the state budget process and without the opportunity for adequate public input and debate.”
Wisconsin’s legislators have actually debated and the public gave inputs during the last two efforts to pass similar legislation in the sate.
During his last campaign, Evers received $14,000 from the Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealer Association, who were against the legislation.
Tesla sent us the following comment about the situation:
“We’re disappointed Governor Evers acted against consumer interest and limited residents’ ability to access the safest, best performing, and most environmentally friendly vehicles in the market right here in Wisconsin. Though our vehicles can still be purchased online, this decision hampers Wisconsin’s ability to impact climate change, bring jobs and revenue to the state, and clean up transportation pollution in our communities.”
I know that it’s weird that legislation to allow Tesla to sell its vehicles directly to customers had to be included into a giant budget bill, but it was there and the only thing preventing this wrong from being righted was Governor Tony Evers and he didn’t do it.
Claiming that he is objecting to “significant changes to existing motor vehicle dealership law and the consumer protections they provide to Wisconsin” is simply not a good enough excuse.
Dealership law is outdated and it originally intended to protect car dealers against unfair competition from their own automakers.
It would have still been the case after this provision, which would have allowed Tesla, an automaker who has never had any franchise dealerships, to operate its own stores as an automaker.
There’s really no reason to be against that unless you are unwilling to fairly compete with Tesla and willing to use outdated legislation to stop it from happening, which is what the car dealers are doing in Wisconsin and Evers is letting that continue.
Is it because they contributed to his campaign last year?
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.