Tesla Wins A Battle Against Car Dealers In New York

Late last week, two bills came before the New York State Assembly that would have made it illegal to register cars purchased direct from manufacturers. That meant Tesla in particular, and the bills were more salvos their ongoing war with car dealers. But it looks like Elon Musk can breathe easy in New York for now.


Autoblog Green reports that the State Assembly ended their 2013 session late Friday without taking action on the two bills, making the issue effectively dead until they reconvene in January.

A rightfully relieved Musk tweeted this in response:

The kill Tesla bill in NY was stopped in the 11th hour due to public outcry. Am super grateful to everyone who helped.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 23, 2013

The bill was backed by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, who have suggested that Tesla set up a dealership franchise system of their own just like Ford and Toyota and everyone else. Musk has previously said he doesn't think that would work because it didn't work for any other electric startup car company either.

Dealers have said that their system is better for customers because it allows for services like financing, trade-ins and maintenance. For these reasons and others, they have been pushing for anti-direct sales laws in a number of other states.


Personally, I'm more of the opinion that people should be allowed to buy cars however they want, and companies should be allowed to sell their products in just about any manner they choose. But car dealers have a lot of political clout (read: money) in nearly every state, so this is a fight where Tesla is definitely outgunned, even if they happen to be right.


Looks like Tesla has won a battle for now, but they have a long war ahead.

Photo credit Getty Images

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