This year marked Tesla’s foray into a legal battle at the federal level to win the right to sell vehicles using the direct sales model the company prefers. Until that’s settled, however, roadblocks for the company remain: In Missouri this week, Tesla’s license to sell cars in its Missouri showroom expired, following a local judge’s decision — and the state reportedly denied its online renewal request.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the company lost a case in court in August, when a circuit court judge ruled it’s not a franchisee, and therefore its motor vehicle dealer licenses shouldn’t be renewed. On Wednesday, the judge denied Tesla’s request to temporarily halt his judgment while the case is appealed.
Tesla’s licenses for stores in University City and Kansas City expire on Saturday, the Post-Dispatch reported.
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The Missouri Auto Dealers Association, which filed the suit, was expectedly pleased.
“I think it was correct under the law as we argued before the court,” Lowell Pearson, the association’s attorney, told the Post-Dispatch.
Tesla told the newspaper in a statement it planned to ask the Missouri Court of Appeals to issue a stay to “prevent an immediate and unnecessary loss of jobs, tax revenue, consumer convenience, and consumer choice for Missourians.”
“Tesla has been selling cars in Missouri for almost four years and employs numerous people at its Missouri sales locations,” Tesla’s statement said. “We do not believe that we should have to close up those sales operations while the Court of Appeals considers whether we may continue selling in the state.”
Tesla’s battle for dealership licenses has been a focal point for the company in recent years. Elsewhere, it has sued Michigan to invalidate what the company deems an “anti-Tesla” law, and Tesla has struggled to obtain a dealership license in Texas, Connecticut and Utah.