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Tesla applies for Michigan dealership license despite direct sales ban

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In October 2014, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill, which was initiated by the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association, to “clarify” an existing law banning automakers from owning or operating car dealerships in the state, ultimately forcing them to go through a third-party franchise model.

The new bill effectively banned Tesla from selling cars in the state due to the company’s direct sales model. Today we learn that despite the ban, Tesla applied for a dealership license in Michigan.

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Tesla goes before the FTC to defend its right to sell directly to customers

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The FTC held a conference yesterday titled “Auto Distribution: Current Issues & Future Trends” with a particularly interesting panel about direct distribution. The panel discussed the laws in certain sates which restrict the ability of car manufacturers to sell their vehicles directly to the consumer, and instead force them to go through independent franchised dealers.

Panelists included two automaker representatives, Tesla Motors’ General Counsel Todd Maron and Elio Motors’ Vice President of Government Affairs Joel Sheltrown. Both companies are trying to established their own network of stores and don’t want to use the dealership model.

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Tesla confirmed it skipped the Detroit auto show because of Michigan’s direct sales law

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Even though Tesla is not officially attending the Detroit auto show this week, the company managed to use the event to shine a light on the regulatory hurdles it is facing in the state of Michigan. Tesla’s vice president of business development Diarmuid O’Connell talked to MLive and confirmed that the company skipped the Detroit auto show this year because of Michigan’s direct sales law.

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott advocates for status quo on the state’s ban of Tesla’s direct sale method

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Even though Tesla Motors sold just over 3,000 cars in Texas since it introduced its all-electric sedan in 2012, the lone star state still maintains its ban on the direct sale method of the Silicon Valley carmaker. Yesterday on Bloomberg Radio, Texas Governor Greg Abbott reiterated his preference for the statu quo on the ban of direct car sales.

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