Another chapter in the Tesla vs. auto dealers saga is being written (see the related links at the bottom of this post for more), this time in Missouri. Apparently, the auto dealers lobby has tried to sneak in a provision that would effectively prevent Tesla from selling in the state in a bill without debate or public consultation. Tesla writes on its blog:
"The bill, HB 1124, has been in circulation since December 2013. It was passed by the House on April 17 without the anti-Tesla language. Last night, the bill with the new anti-Tesla language passed the Senate"
This last minute attack against consumer choice in Missouri is so dishonest that the bill isn't even about anything that touches Tesla directly. It's about " laws regarding all-terrain vehicles, recreational off-highway vehicles, and utility vehicles". The amendment is also a big change from the current law, which only bars franchisors (Ford, GM) from competing against their franchisees (local dealers). This doesn't apply to Tesla, who wants to sell directly to its customers rather than go through a middleman.
I'll leave you on Tesla's closing words, which say things as well as anyone could:
Tesla already has a Service+ center in St Louis, MO, at which we employ 15 people. We have invested $2M in the state so far. We plan to open a larger service center in Kansas City, MO, later this year, employing another 15 people and investing an additional $1M.
This debate should be held in the full light of day with all sides being given an opportunity to make their case. Instead, the dealers are again trying to ram through a provision under the cover of darkness and without public debate. The people of Missouri deserve better from their elected officials.
Regardless of whether you like Tesla or not, these kinds of tactics are unhealthy. They stack the deck against upstarts trying to upset the status quo, the kind of people that we need if we are to make the world a better place...