Just when you thought it was safe to buy a Tesla in Ohio after an amendment to ban direct sales was struck down, a consortium of car dealers in the Buckeye state is taking their fight to the courts instead. Sore losers much?
In early December the Ohio State Legislature killed a surreptitious rider tacked onto a transportation bill that would have prevented a manufacturer — in this case, Tesla Motors — from selling their cars direct to customers as Tesla likes to do.
But now, according to the Columbus Dispatch, a group including several central Ohio dealer groups have filed a lawsuit alleging improprieties in the law. Here's what they reported:
In the suit, filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, the dealers say that the state agencies improperly approved Tesla's dealer license this year because the company did not provide a copy of its contract with the manufacturer of the vehicles to be sold.
Even though the manufacturer and the retailer are the same company, dealers say that the law still calls for proper documentation.
And, as the dealers see it, Tesla would be unable to submit a valid contract because the law requires such an agreement to be between "two separate contracting parties," Bruce said.
It's some pretty complex legalese, and the kind of maneuvering that Tesla vice president of regulatory affairs James Chen told the newspaper was tantamount to bullying. The dealers, Chen said, first told the legislature that Tesla's model is illegal; when that failed, now they're trying to get the courts to make it illegal.
Isn't it funny how terrified the car dealers are of Tesla, and the potential for more manufacturers conducting direct sales? Like I said in my piece about Tesla's accomplishments in 2013, this is an issue that won't go away soon. Even if the court rules in favor of Tesla in Ohio, don't expect any dealers to stop fighting.