Most cars in America are sold by car dealers; evidently there are laws to prevent manufacturers from selling directly to the public, often set up to protect local franchises. Tesla didn't want to play this game; Elon Musk wanted to sell direct. In fact, he says he isn't selling from a showroom at all; you just look at the car there, you buy it online.
According to Autoblog Green,
Musk, who said the Tesla Model S sedan aspires to be "the best car of any kind" in his new post, says that using the traditional dealer franchise model would have created conflicts of interest withing the salespeople. The reason is that any energy used to educate the public about electric vehicles would detract from conventional-vehicle sales. "It is impossible for them to explain the advantages of going electric without simultaneously undermining their traditional business," Musk writes.
The dealers aren't having any of this, and they are suing. Again from Autoblog green:
Last week, the recent wranglings between auto dealer associations and Tesla stores in New York and Massachusetts were moved along in courts of law, proving once again that EVs won't arrive without hassle.
It is such a dumb old model in the internet age. I am surprised they are not insisting that someone walk in front of a Tesla and wave a red flag.