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Bill sponsor received $8,000 in campaign donations from the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association

Living in the Research Triangle Park (RTP) area of North Carolina, which I nickname Silicon Valley East, I quite frequently see Tesla Model S sedans and Roadsters silently cruising down city streets and interstates. However, the North Carolina Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved a measure that would make it illegal for Tesla Motors to sell vehicles directly to customers without the ever-present "middleman" in new car transactions: car dealerships.
Not surprisingly, the NC Automobile Dealers Association (which represents North Carolina's franchised car dealership) is behind this latest stab at Tesla. But according to NC ADA President Robert Glasser, this isn't an attack specifically aimed at Tesla. Glasser notes that the precedent Tesla has set for direct sales could set into motion a chain of events that would topple the entire dealership model of business.
“We care about the franchise system,” said Glaser. “The whole point of the retail system is to protect the consumer.”
Of course, Tesla Motors sees things quite differently. “They’re trying to insulate the dealer franchise model from any competition,” said Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s VP of Corporate and Business Development. “It’s a protectionist move to lock down the market so we have to go through the middleman – the dealer – to sell our cars.”

And here's an interesting tidbit that shines a whole new light on the story. Slate reports that Sen. Tom Apodaca, the Republican sponsor of the bill, received $8,000 in campaign donations (the maximum allowed by state law) from the NC ADA.
It's pretty clear to see why dealerships are shaking in their boots at the prospect of Tesla (and other auto manufacturers) selling directly to customers. Tesla managed to deliver a whopping 4,750 Model S sedans to customers during the month of April. Compared to other luxury sedans that also dance in the $70,000 to $100,000+ price range, the Model S outpaced monthly sales of the Audi A8 (1,462 units), BMW 7-Series (2,338), Lexus LS (2,860) and Mercedes S Class (3,077).

 Tesla Model S
Tesla has sold 80 Model S sedans in North Carolina and has an additional 60 orders in queue from residents. The overwhelming majority of those sales have come via the internet.
And one could argue that an electric vehicle like the Model S needs less attention from dealerships due to the much lower maintenance needs of the electric motor and battery pack. Quite simply, there is potentially less to go wrong with a Model S compared to BMW 750i with its twin-turbocharged V8 and 8-speed automatic transmission.
Despite this new speed bump in Tesla's road to electric vehicle proliferation, the company has been showered with a wealth of good news in the past week. Last week, Tesla reported its first profit in its ten years of existence and Consumer Reports gave the Model S a near perfect rating: 99 out of 100 possible points.
Tesla's stock is up 57 percent since its quarterly earnings were released last Thursday to just under $90/share.

Sources: News Observer, Slate

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Of course the Dealership association would complain
By BRB29 on 5/14/2013 12:05:10 PM , Rating: 3
Glasser notes that the precedent Tesla has set for direct sales could set into motion a chain of events that would topple the entire dealership model of business.

No kidding. I'm sure no pushy salesman, lies, shady deals, etc... is very attractive to a lot of consumers.

Dealerships should still remain for their convenience and service. There's plenty of people who would pay extra for the hassle to be taken care of and just drive out with a new car.

I don't see why this is a big deal. Homes can be bought directly without realtors involved, why can't cars?

By Motoman on 5/14/2013 12:14:15 PM , Rating: 5
Essentially everything can be bought without a middleman.

The problem is that the car industry is massively intertwined with elected officials and powerful lobbying organizations, so they're trying to f%ck over Tesla with their retarded BS.

Time for people to start talking to their elected officials. Let's have someone provide a good legal basis for why automobiles, and only automobiles, *must* be sold through middlemen dealerships - and how that supposedly "protects" the consumer.

By BRB29 on 5/14/2013 12:18:38 PM , Rating: 2
I think the whole campaign donations by businesses is just wrong. People are voting but money is provided by businesses. Doesn't that system just beg for politicians to lie to the people to make money off businesses?

There's so many ways for anyone to communicate with the public now for practically free. These past elections, I swear i heard more negative politicial ad campaigns on the radio than actual music and other commercials combined.

By Haydon987 on 5/14/2013 4:31:18 PM , Rating: 2
The power of lobbying is quite transparent in this case. We all know how much Republicans like to tout "free market capitalism"... usually... so when a case like this comes up where they are suddenly doing the exact opposite, conveniently after being given money (but of course this isn't a bribe or anything), they suddenly want government regulation on how cars can be sold. Interesting, right?

By Nutzo on 5/14/2013 5:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
Because union campaign donations are just so correct, especially government unions donating to the very people who decide thier members contracts/pay.

How about we limit campaign contributions to registered voters? No companies, no unions, no foreign government, etc.

By lelias2k on 5/15/2013 5:16:03 PM , Rating: 2
How about we limit campaign advertising, period?

Each candidate has its own website where it can include all the information it wants to. These websites must be public knowledge so all people have equal access to them in order to research as much as they want.

That would be a lot cheaper, wouldn't it?

Oh, utopia. :)

By Dr of crap on 5/14/2013 12:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
Your forgetting its ALL about the money.

Money lost if no dealerships are involved in the sale of Tesla's
Money "given" and I use that very gingerly as I see that as paying for votes, to the Senator to go after Tesla and its sales system of no dealers.
Money lost on any number of fees that are collected in the sale of cars at dealerships.

Now if the govt was SMART, HA HA I KNOW, they would allow this as kind of a benefit to Tesla to get their car sold and reduce gas use and reduce CO2 in the air!

By BRB29 on 5/14/2013 2:14:16 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't forget, I'm trying to eliminate it so there's less corruption. No dealers=less lobbyists.

By lelias2k on 5/14/2013 2:40:00 PM , Rating: 2
That is just one level. Behind all the dealerships lobby, there's an army of oil lobbyists waiting for the opportunity to kill Tesla.

I've heard from a person at Shell a couple of years ago that all the recharging stations they were planning in CA were all green-washing PR, and that in a few years nobody would hear about electric cars again.

I pray every night he was just a babbling idiot, but we never know.

By Spuke on 5/14/2013 4:21:04 PM , Rating: 2
I pray every night he was just a babbling idiot, but we never know.
He's just a babbling idiot. It's WAY too late for a Tucker-style removal of Tesla from the marketplace especially nearly everyone is in the public eye. You just can't easily sweep stuff under the rug nowadays. I think some of guys read too much into things and are just way too neurotic. The oil companies have BILLIONS of dollars, don't you think they could easily create a few EV manufacturers of their own and put Tesla's tiny ass out of business? With their cash, they could simply make what Musk makes for cheaper and better than he. And before the first why don't they comment, they don't have to. Oil is still BILLIONS in the making, there is no need for them go into other markets (although they are investing heavily into alternative energies which they WILL own outright...mark my words).

By BRB29 on 5/15/2013 7:48:54 AM , Rating: 2
Oil companies have been trying their best to kill EVs for decades. They know that they all can't exist if oil demand is down 20%.

Too bad even the government, as late as they are, recognize our dependence on a finite amount of oil. We all know pollution and smog problems are serious(eg. Shanghai). We all know we will run out of cheap and sustainable oil in a few decades at this rate of world consumption.

That guy is an idiot just like Lulz.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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