It's a bit ridiculous that they even have to fight for their right to sell their products (where are free markets when you need them?), but you have to do what you have to do... Tesla Motors has reached an agreement with the New York Automobile Dealers Association lobbying group. This will allow the EV maker to keep its 5 stores open in the state of N.Y. but prevent it from opening new ones unless they are operated through dealerships.
"Today's agreement reaffirms New York's long-standing commitment to the dealer franchise system, while making sure New York remains a leader in spurring innovative businesses and encouraging zero emissions vehicle sales," New York governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
It's not clear if this means that Tesla is okay with a hybrid approach, with some direct sales stores and some third-party dealerships, or if it just means that they plan to just keep their 5 stores and not expand in the state. Or maybe they know that they'll eventually be able to get the archaic laws that protect dealers changed, so this is just a way to gain some leeway in the meantime. We'll see.
Personally, I would be surprised if Tesla really went with third-party dealers, unless these dealers were basically franchised Tesla stores. I don't think it would work very well otherwise; traditional dealers make most of their money from service, and Tesla has said that they will do all servicing at cost (no profit). It's also hard to expect a dealership that also sells gasoline-powered vehicles to truly do a good job selling electric vehicles because that would mean pointing out the problems with their other products. Not only that, but someone who's competent to sell a Chevrolet might not necessarily know much about electric motors and such...
You can read more about Tesla's epic battle with auto dealers here:
- Texas Governor Rick Perry pushes for legalization of Tesla stores on Fox Business
- Tesla kicked out of New Jersey by Chris Christie administration
- Elon Musk compares Chris Christie crew to mafia in letter "To the People of New Jersey"
- Ohio car dealers are fighting tooth and nail to keep Tesla out of the state
- Auto dealers try to sneak in a bill that would put "Tesla out of business in New York"
- Texas won't allow Tesla to sell electric cars directly