Electric automaker Tesla has fought several state’s franchised automotive dealers who want to stop them from selling their vehicles directly to customers, and in some cases, they’ve won. They won’t be able to add Michigan to that list of victories though after Gov. Ricky Snyder signed a bill Tuesday banning the sales of any cars to consumers not through a third-party retailer.
Some companies and automotive suppliers support Tesla’s stance, while others are firmly against it, saying if other car companies follow in Tesla’s lead it will undermine the investments they’ve made in their dealer networks. One company which encouraged Snyder to sign the bill, known as the “anti-Tesla bill”, was General Motors.
“We believe that House Bill 5606 will help ensure that all automotive manufacturers follow the same rules to operate in the State of Michigan; Therefore we encourage Governor Snyder to sign it,” GM said in a statement on Tuesday.
Tesla’s ever-outspoken CEO, Elon Musk, made a blog post about the bill earlier this month saying it is “harmful to consumers.” He explained the bill was designed “to ensure that the car dealers can tack additional fees on to the purchase price for all vehicles (from any manufacturer) sold in Michigan.” He added these additional dealer fees “have a controversial history, are generally regarded with skepticism and have been the subject of consumer concern in other states.”
So our question to you is this: which side are you on here? GM and Michigan think Tesla’s direct sales model could be harmful to established automakers, who have made large investments in third party dealer networks which could be undermined if other automakers began to follow Tesla’s business model. Tesla, an American company, wants full control over its sales and is looking to protect consumers from dealers who may inflate the price of their products for their own benefit.
Let us know how you feel about GM’s stance on the Tesla bill below and feel free to discuss in the comments.