Tesla is using its community platform to ask fans in Oklahoma and Mississippi to help defeat new bills that could be used to ban direct sales of electric cars.
To this day, there are still some states that prevent Tesla and other automakers from selling directly to consumers.
This is because of old laws put in place to protect franchise dealerships against automakers trying to compete with the people who invested a lot of money into providing a sale and service workforce for them. It made a lot of sense.
But now, those same laws are being used to prevent Tesla and other new automakers who never had franchise dealerships from competing against dealers who sell vehicles from other automakers.
It is being used in an anti-competitive way.
Several states have changed those direct sale laws in order to avoid this misuse that gave a monopoly on car sales to third-party dealers, but they are still some misuses out there and efforts from dealers associations, which have a lot of power in state politics, to outlaw direct sales.
Through its new ‘Tesla Engage‘ social platform, Tesla is asking its fanbase to fight to bills in Oklahoma and Mississippi that could block direct sales of electric vehicles.
In Oklahoma, the state’s House Business and Commerce Committee is considering House Bill 3994, which would prevent any automaker from operating service or deliveries of cars regardless of if they never had franchise dealers before.
Tesla argues that the bill could even force Tesla to shut down its locations in the state:
If passed, this bill could force Tesla to close its existing locations in Oklahoma AND prevent Tesla from shipping cars to anyone in the state, which would force locals to travel out-of-state to service their cars or pick up their new Tesla vehicles. Oklahoma should focus on increasing revenue and jobs in the state, not stifling competition and limiting consumer choice.
The automaker is asking fans to contact their representative to let them know that they oppose the bill.
This effort comes just after Oklahoma pulled out the red carpet for Tesla in trying to convince the automaker to build a factory in the state.
In Mississippi, where Tesla only operates one store, the automaker faced a similar effort with Senate Bill 2836 last month and asked fans to oppose it.
For now, it looks like the bill is not surviving the Senate Finance Committee.
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