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Tesla escapes ban in Indiana by being ‘grandfathered in’, but the state moves forward with ban on direct sales

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As we have been reporting during the past few days, Indiana’s legislature has been pushing for a new ban on direct vehicle sales by automakers that would have forced Tesla to stop its operations in the state or to go through third-party dealerships – something the company refuses to do.

After a public hearing yesterday where several consumers and Tesla representatives expressed their concerns over the bill, they introduced a new amendment that  “grandfathered in” Tesla. The house bill 1592 was then approved 9-1 in the Roads and Transportation committee earlier this morning.

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Tesla is asking owners and enthusiasts to help block a “GM-backed” bill to ban direct sales in Indiana

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Tensions between US automakers GM and Tesla are now at an all time high. GM took a few swipes at Tesla at the unveiling of the 200 mile range Chevy Bolt earlier this year. The automaker published a promotional picture of the new all-electric car in front of Tesla’s headquarters in Palo Alto and CEO Mary Barra made the following comment during the CES launch:

“Unlike some EV customers, Bolt EV customers never have to worry about driving to another state to buy, service or support their vehicles.”

She is clearly making reference to the fact that Tesla is somehow still blocked from selling vehicles in certain states due to laws banning direct sales from manufacturers which force them to go through third-party dealerships. These laws are often from the 1950s when the US automakers would exert monopolistic control over the dealer relationships.  Tesla General Counsel Todd Maron went before the FTC to argue against these direct sales bans and directly called out Barra for her comment (see picture above), which becomes more relevant than ever now that we learn that GM has authored a new bill to ban direct sales in Indiana.

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