Dealer Strap-Ons Couldn't Prevent Tesla From Getting Direct Sales In Virginia

Photo credit: AP

After a long fought battle in Virginia, including one unfortunate video that went viral for the wrong reasons, the commissioner of the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles has allowed Tesla Motors to open a store in Richmond. The automaker can now sell cars direct through that store.


According to Automotive News, Richard Holcomb, commissioner of Virginia’s DMV, ruled in favor of Tesla after the automaker appealed the September decision that banned them from opening a retail store in the state’s capitol.

Tesla Motors argued that its direct sales model does not violate Virginia’s dealership franchise laws because there are no Tesla dealers in the state to compete with. A logical argument that should hold water in all 50 states, but for some reason doesn’t translate to Tesla being allowed to open stores nationwide. At least, in Virginia, Holcomb came to the right conclusion.

“I believe it would be unreasonable and not in the public interest to require the removal of that relationship — Tesla to Tesla’s customers — and require the interjection of a third party which could possibly create distance from Tesla’s already proven successful concept,”

In 2012, when Tesla was denied a license to open a retail store, the automaker reached an agreement with the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association which allowed Tesla to open a gallery—but sales couldn’t happen there. Since then the dealers claim that Tesla was violating Virginia’s franchise laws by allowing customers to conduct test drives and discuss pricing.

In a video that has since been taken down, VADA President Don Hall called on the association vowed to defend their precious franchise system using any means necessary, they even got a bit kinky with it.


“It’s a real fight. It’s a serious fight... Let’s all strap on whatever it takes to win and let’s win this fight to protect the franchise system,” he said. Phrasing, etc.


In a statement, Telsa officials said they were satisfied with the ruling and plan on starting construction on their new store immediately.

“This decision will allow Richmond-area consumers to learn about and purchase their Tesla vehicles in closer proximity to their homes,”


While Tesla has one more victory in their corner, they are still facing stiff resistance in Texas, Iowa and Michigan.

Share This Story

About the author

Tom McParland

Tom is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs He saves people money and takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car. (