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2014-03-31 10:53

DIRECT TO THE PUBLIC: Tesla is battling dealers for the right to sell its cars, such as its Model S (above), directly to consumers. Image: Tesla

NEW YORK STATE - Vehicle dealers are sparring with battery-car company Tesla because it wants to sell direct to the customers. Despite many US states attempting to block the automaker, Tesla has reportedly found sanctuary in New York.

Earlier in March 2014, Wheels24 reported that New Jersey's governor Chris Christie barred Tesla from selling cars directly to customers  at its two "galleries" in that state. They could show, but not deal; view but not test drive.


On Friday (March 28) Tesla and New York automotive lobbying groups reached an agreement to let Tesla keep its five stores in the state - and build others, reports the Detroit News.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said the city’s agreement with Tesla, which was due to come into effect in the near future, was an effort to encourage zero-emission vehicles.

Ohio, New York, Maryland and Texas had attempted to block the automaker.

Ordinary vehicle dealers, according to the DetNews story, felt that if Tesla was allowed to sell its battery cars direct to the public it could set a precedent that would allow other automakers to bypass the way franchises have sold and serviced vehicles for decades.

If Tesla succeeds, some believe other automakers or those which have performed poorly in the US (such as Chinese brands) could sell directly to buyers or even create online retail outlets that would sidestep dealers entirely.


Tesla, based in Palo Alto, Califonia, sells two battery cars — the two-seat Roadster and the Model S sedan(for the equivalent of R815 000).

Tesla vice-president Diarmuid O’Connell said its cars could be difficult to sell in the US so direct sales were needed to jump-start battery-car technology and drive down prices. Though many dealers refused to sell Tesla products associations still fought to limit the automaker’s ability to sell cars itself.

At what it calls "galleries" in the states of Maryland, Arizona, Texas and Virginia, potential customers can view vehicles but cannot discuss price, take a test drive or place orders.

Click here to read the Detroit News report

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