Print 20 comment(s) - last by bah12.. on Jul 3 at 9:48 AM

It's less than 10,000 signatures away from a White House response

Tesla Motors has some pretty loyal fans, and that could help the automaker win the right to bypass dealerships and sell directly to consumers. 

A Tesla fan started a petition to the White House on June 5, asking that Tesla be able to sell its electric vehicles directly to consumers without having dealerships as the middlemen. 

"States should not be allowed to prevent Tesla Motors from selling cars directly to customers," says the petition. "The state legislators are trying to unfairly protect automobile dealers in their states from competition. Tesla is providing competition, which is good for consumers."

In order for the White House to respond to a petition, it must acquire 100,000 signatures. At the time of this article, there are 92,467 signatures. The deadline is Friday, July 5. 

Tesla sent an email out over the weekend asking for more signatures. It also said that Tesla is "under attack from a number of car dealer associations in various states" and that the dealership's arguments "infringe on the right of the consumer to choose how they purchase and service their vehicle."

Tesla has been battling states and auto dealerships for the right to sell its vehicles without the help of dealerships. Back in April of this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk openly fought for a Texas bill that would cut out the use of auto dealerships. The bill -- House Bill 3351 -- would allow distributors and manufacturers of electric vehicles (EVs) only to sell directly to customers without the use of dealerships. Musk even said that if the fight for the Texas bill came down to a federal matter, he would either lobby Congress to pass legislation for the direct sales of EVs made by startup companies like Tesla (and tie it to an energy or transportation bill) or file a federal lawsuit to fight the state restrictions as unconstitutional violations of interstate commerce.

Tesla has been successful in other states, such as New York, where a pair of bills (referred to as A07844 in the Assembly and S05725) tried to make it illegal to license -- or even renew licenses -- for all Tesla Stores within New York state borders. These bills were killed off last month.
The automaker also fought and won in North Carolina last month, where a North Carolina House committee denied a bill that would have banned Tesla from selling its Roadster and Model S vehicles to consumers instead of auto dealerships in the state.  

Auto dealerships have been furious about Tesla's model because it takes business away from them.

Want to take part? You can sign the petition here

Updated @ 2:00pm EST
The required 100,000 votes threshold was reached at roughly 1:57pm EST today. An official response from the White House should be coming soon.

Source: We the People

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Make it generic
By Motoman on 7/2/2013 10:28:20 AM , Rating: 5
This effort shouldn't be limited to Tesla - the whole dealership-cronyism thing needs to simply be eliminated across the board.

Tesla and *any* other new car manufacturer should be able to sell their product as they desire, period. The whole dealership model is pure BS.

Consumers in no way benefit from the dealership model. It does nothing but put a middleman in the process who has to make a profit on the resale of the car.

If you think dealerships would "go away" if the requirement to sell cars only through dealerships was lifted, you're daft. For large automakers, the dealership model helps them distribute and manage inventory. The big automakers are going to keep doing that. But they might also start selling direct too, if they have the chance to do so. Existing dealerships are also needed in their communities for warranty work and general repairs and maintenance on vehicles.

And if there well and truly are any dealerships that actually exist purely because of the made-up dealership-requirement model, then those dealerships actually do need to die. Nothing built on a lie deserves to exist.

RE: Make it generic
By Brandon Hill on 7/2/2013 10:35:07 AM , Rating: 5
What I hate is the back and forth during negotiations with dealership -- it's so friggin' ridiculous.

I tell the salesman my bottom line price that I want to pay (out the door including TTL), and he has to go back and talk to some mysterious "manager". Then he comes back with some crazy high number. Then we have to do this dance 3 or 4 times before the manager relays (via the salesman) that "You're killing us here, this is the BEST we can do".

We agree to the deal, THEN the manager comes in the room and congratulates you on the sale and says "you drive a hard bargain bla bla bla"

But then, you're not done. It's off to the finance manager who wants to screw you on everything else and pitch extended warranties, pinstriping, blinker fluid, undercoating, etc.

RE: Make it generic
By Motoman on 7/2/2013 10:51:18 AM , Rating: 3

It's been a LONG time since people couldn't find out what a dealer's *actual* cost on a car was. These days it's dead simple...the internet will quickly tell you dealer invoice, dealer incentives, so on and so forth.

So just walk into a dealership and offer some % over their final cost that you're comfortable with giving them. 5% is more than fair. The last truck I bought, I offered the dealership $1,500 over their final cost, which was actually quite a bit less than 5%. Luckily the dealership realized I knew what I was doing, and they didn't piss and moan about it. Even when I pointed out that I wasn't paying any "doc fees" or anything else on top of that at all...they were going to get $1,500, and that was it.

It would actually be a lot better if all dealerships were manufacturer-owned, and therefore just sold cars at a reliable low rate that was competitive against similar cars from other manufacturers. But that's not the way it works. In any case, there's no possible excuse to *require* car sales through dealerships. Consumers don't benefit from that in any possible manner.

RE: Make it generic
By BRB29 on 7/2/2013 11:04:22 AM , Rating: 2
I normally just walk out and tell them I'm going to the next dealer. I leave them my card and tell them to email me if they want to make the deal. You do that to 3 dealers, at least one of them will give you the price you want. But I live in an area that has plenty of dealers. I feel bad for the ones that doesn't have choices. But if you're going to make a $30k+ purchase, I'm sure you would drive a couple hours if it means you'll save a couple grand.

Dealers argue that their existence creates "competition" amongst the same brands. Yet, their whole sales tactic is to not let you leave and look at what other dealers offer.

RE: Make it generic
By 3DoubleD on 7/2/2013 11:25:19 AM , Rating: 2
You don't even need to go to other, possibly far away, dealerships. What I like to do is first go to the local dealership(s), test drive, figure out what I want exactly (all of the options, ect.). Then I call around starting with a ridiculously low price (although advanced knowledge of the cost price is a better place to start). Slowly increase your price until someone bites, then keep calling around and reference the price that the other guy was going to give you and try and get an even lower offer. Rinse and repeat. When you've settled on a number you like, go back to the guy who spent all that time helping you choose what you like (if you think he did a good job that is) and offer him the lowest price you were quoted (referencing who gave it to you adds cred) in a charitable, yet take it or leave it fashion (usually they'll take it). In this way you can use dealerships that aren't in your area to drive the price down at your local dealership.

Requires a bit of phone work, but you can do it in an hour or two and save thousands. In my experience I find you end up a bit above cost, probably not to far from where Motoman ends up with his far more direct approach (I didn't realize you could look up what cost was!... but why am I really surprised... it's the internet).

RE: Make it generic
By BRB29 on 7/2/2013 11:34:23 AM , Rating: 2
I didn't realize you could look up what cost was!... but why am I really surprised... it's the internet).

We can find all kinds of crazy things on the internet these days. Like letters from the NSA to Verizon....

cost price is bread crumbs in comparison.

RE: Make it generic
By Mitch101 on 7/2/2013 12:39:43 PM , Rating: 2 just match it and like playing a game with the dealer see how low under everyone else you can get them.

RE: Make it generic
By Lord 666 on 7/2/2013 7:49:23 PM , Rating: 2
This site worked great for me 4 weeks ago. Found a "hidden" $2000 manufacturer incentive. Saved me a ton and actually bought the car (after getting flat bedded from 60 miles away) from a dealership I historically avoided.

RE: Make it generic
By SoulBlighter on 7/2/2013 12:01:02 PM , Rating: 2
Dealer rely more on after sale service than making money on vehicle sales. They will give you additional incentive in a way that you have to come to them for service. Any how few months back I was looking for 2012 Camry Hybrid vehicle. I looked over internet and searched in Houston Market. Guess what, none of the dealers wanted to offer $500 less than to Retail price. The same vehicle I got 2k below retail price plus carpets + fog lights from Florida dealer. All i had to do is make vacation plan fly out there, came back with brand new car and saving of $1000+ (if you include travelling to and from Florida)

RE: Make it generic
By Mitch101 on 7/2/2013 12:33:03 PM , Rating: 2
bliker fluid - LOL and Sadly Probably True.

Finance Manager is the second dance be sure to stick it to him as well or walk. You negotiated the price only of the car they can make it all back by sticking you with an interest rate above zero or other BS add ons. That dealership isn't marble because they are broke.

Extended warranties cost the dealership $300.00 but they will try to charge you $800 or more. That was back in the day when I dated someone who worked in a dealership. To me if the car dont come with an incredible warranty its not worth considering. Its something I read in consumer reports they said you can generally gauge the quality and how a manufacturer feels about their product based upon what they offer as a warranty. They dont have much confidence in what they are selling if its 3yr/36k when someone else is offering 7 yr/100k and make sure its on the drive train first almost every cars paint will last 10 years.

RE: Make it generic
By Mitch101 on 7/2/2013 12:36:49 PM , Rating: 2
If you bring your spouse and the dealer walks out of the room so the two of you can talk they are in a lot of cases still listening in on you when they leave so watch what the two of you say to each other or use it to your advantage and discuss leaving because the prices are higher than what you've seen elsewhere.

RE: Make it generic
By Reclaimer77 on 7/3/2013 2:31:58 AM , Rating: 2
That's why lately I've been buying used cars directly from owners.

I simply cannot abide dealing with any kind of pressure tactics or guilt tactics. Well come to think of it, I hate dealing with people in general most of the time.

RE: Make it generic
By BRB29 on 7/3/2013 9:19:36 AM , Rating: 2
I hate dealing with people in general most of the time.

really? we never would've guessed

All Well and Good. But...
By DaveLessnau on 7/2/2013 10:32:49 AM , Rating: 3
This is all well and good. But, what does Tesla selling direct to consumers have to do with the Executive Branch of the Federal Government? Now, in the cases where Tesla's business is across State lines, the Constitution does give the Feds the authority to regulate the commerce. But, that authority lies with the Congress. Not with the President. So, why send a petition to the White House? Especially since the President is a Democrat and the House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans. Send that petition to the Speaker of the House, instead. Of course, there's not much point in doing a petition either way since two of the three big American car makers are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Federal Government and I doubt they'd want anyone muscling in on their territory. Ditto for being bought by the labor unions.

Also, Tesla can just file suit under the Commerce Clause and claim the States have no authority to tell him how he must sell his vehicles across State lines.

RE: All Well and Good. But...
By Ammohunt on 7/2/2013 2:17:30 PM , Rating: 2
You are asking a generation that think the government is the number one solution to all their problems? The trend has been more and more government recently.

RE: All Well and Good. But...
By BRB29 on 7/2/2013 2:26:02 PM , Rating: 2
I think the only President that made the government smaller was Andrew Jackson shut down the Second Central Bank of the US in 1833. The Second Central Banks is the equivalent of the Federal Reserve today. Coincidentally, it was also the last time our country had 0 national debt.

RE: All Well and Good. But...
By bah12 on 7/3/2013 9:48:18 AM , Rating: 1
Correct. In spending alone the number has never went down, just rose less. Just another proof that the 2 parties both suck. When viewd as part of GDP, the true falings of this administration come to light. Moving us from 64% of GPD to wow... It would be one thing if unemployement was low, but spending almost all of what you take in just to maintain this shit economy. What a complete failure.

RE: All Well and Good. But...
By Jaybus on 7/2/2013 4:46:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well, he did state that failing federal government action he would bring a case to federal court challenging state's right to require in state dealerships under the commerce clause. He is just trying to minimize legal costs, which will be more to take a commerce clause case to fed court, and much, much more to challenge in all 50 states separately.

But there are many instances of state government corporate welfare and anti-competitive protectionism. Like insurance, for example. Why should only EVs be excepted? Why shouldn't all car manufacturers be allowed direct sales?

I think they would still have to mandate an in-state warranty service center. Otherwise citizens would not be protected by their state's lemon laws.

No way...
By Oyster on 7/2/13, Rating: 0
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