Only 100 Tesla Model S EVs Registered In Michigan

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 72

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S

With the world seemingly coming to an end now that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that effectively prohibits Tesla from selling in Michigan, we figured why not examine Tesla sales in the Great Lakes State.

Let it be known (and this is one aspect nearly every news outlet overlooks) that Tesla was never allowed to sell direct in Michigan.  Snyder’s signing of HB5606 didn’t change the fact that Michigan had a law on the books for decades now that prohibits automakers from selling direct.  Snyder could have taken no action on the bill and Tesla still would be prohibited from selling direct in the state.

With no stores in Michigan and Model S test drives banned on at least one occasion by the state’s automobile dealers association, it’s no surprise that Tesla sales have been soft in the Great Lakes State.

In fact, Tesla says that only ~100 Model S EVs are registered statewide.  Those vehicles were either ordered online or purchased from nearby states such as Ohio, Illinois or Indian where sales are allowed.

So, why all the fuss from Tesla when only 100 Model S EVs have been purchased by Michigan residents since the vehicle went on sale back in 2012?  Probably because Tesla thinks sales in Michigan will rise in the coming years, but truth is Michiganders are rather set in their ways.  We buy “made in Detroit” automobiles from Michigan-born automakers.  Yep, that’s what most of us Michiganders still do and will continue to do for years and years to come.

The Big Three Still Rule In Michigan

The Big Three Still Rule In Michigan

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72 responses to "Only 100 Tesla Model S EVs Registered In Michigan"

  1. Assaf says:

    What’s good for the goose is good for the [Michi]gander!

  2. See Through says:

    Tesla makes much ado about nothing, to get some public sympathy. Hoping, that it converts to more government aids.

    Grow up Tesla! Do business like the big brothers like you claim you are. As a starter, begin releasing monthly sales numbers.

    1. Rob Stark says:

      GM begged the Gov of Michigan for the biggest aid of all. Keeping a competitor out of the market.

      Instead of lobbying for legalized oligopolies the legacy automakers should put on their big boy pants and build better cars and offer better customer service.

      Like virtually every industry in America. You gain sales with better product and customer service not rent seeking from the Government.

      1. kdawg says:

        You didn’t read the article did you?

    2. Assaf says:

      Yup, do it like the Big Boys from Detroit.

      Make the lousiest laziest most energy-wasteful cars for decades on end, while squeezing politicians to make sure you continue getting various subsidies without ever being asked to improve them.

      When reality hits you in the face and you go bankrupt, get bailed out by the taxpayer.

      Then immediately forget everything you’ve promised while whining and begging for that bailout (yes, Chrysler, it’s mostly you I’m talking about – but the others too).

      Then… when reality hits you in the face again (read: a new startup discovers it can make EVs that put your ICE fleet to shame), go whining to state governments, to shut down the playing field before you get your ass handed to you.

      So…. Tesla management, please grow up already and become as corrupt, rudderless and inept as the Big Three!

    3. Austin Anthony says:

      You obviously you have never driven a Tesla Model S. Drive one before you form negative opinions about the product or company. It really does make Detroit cars look like they are years behind. The Tesla Model S even surpasses the top German and Japanese cars. All I can say is once you drive it, you will understand.

      1. See Through says:

        I’ve driven a Model S. I don’t find it worth that kind of money. It looks like an old Honda civic on the road. Enough said.

        1. Anon says:

          Yes, we all –ALREADY KNEW– you were “special’…

          1. mark says:

            I’ve driven around in one. It’s weird. I didn’t like it. All thelse space reminded me of my grand parents bucks from when I was a kid.

            I guses the frunk is cool, though.

            1. Anon says:

              And some people still prefer to use horses for transportation. We call them, “Amish”…

            2. Wait a minute. The car has “too much space”?
              This is a criticism?

        2. EVer says:

          Your a troll

          Enough Said.

    4. Ryan says:

      Absurd! How can you complain about Tesla and government aide when GM and Chrysler received the greatest aide in the histry of auto manufacturers when they should have both been allowed to crash and burn in bankruptcy with their garbage cars.

      1. See Through says:

        Do you know what happened to GM and Chrysler shares in 2008? And their management?

    5. drpawansharma says:

      I can see through you for what you actually are—an anti tesla troll.

      1. Nick says:

        He’s a hedge fund manager with a short position in Tesla.

        He’s trying to sling mud here to sink the stock.

        Classy as they come.

  3. David says:

    Ha right, so Michigan born auto makers, like the Italian owned, Canada built Chrysler vehicles are better than American owned, designed and built Teslas.

    And why the fuss about tesla indeed. Why did the legislature, governor and GM find it necessary to raise such a stink over Tesla selling 100 cars in the state.

    Unless GM is scared of little old Tesla and needs to play every dirty trick in the book to kill electric cars and the companies who make them. Combo charging standard is clearly a ploy to stall rollout of quick charging.

    1. sven says:

      “And why the fuss about tesla indeed. Why did the legislature, governor and GM find it necessary to raise such a stink over Tesla selling 100 cars in the state.”

      I think the automakers and their dealers are worried that when Chinese automakers like BYD enter the US market, they will emulate Tesla’s direct sales model and not open any franchised dealerships.

      1. mike w says:

        Good point I never though BYD would sell in the USA–except for busses.

    2. See Through says:

      The law doesn’t mention anything about Tesla. Tesla and fanboys imagine, it’s all a conspiracy against Tesla alone.

      Tesla is peanuts. If Tesla is allowed, then Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Volvo, etc. etc. may also start selling direct, bypassing the existing laws.

      1. sven says:

        Once an automaker has franchised dealerships in a state, it is no longer allowed to sell directly to customers in that state. Mazda, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Volvo, etc. each have an existing dealership network. Therefore, they cannot sell directly to customers, unless they buyout all their franchised dealers in the state. Tesla and the Chinese automakers have no franchised dealerships and can therefore sell directly to customers, unless a law is passed that prohibits all direct sales.

      2. I didn’t think elephants were scared of peanuts.

  4. DonC says:

    Makes it more incomprehensible that GM would get involved.

    1. Roy_H says:

      Other than completely unfounded statements by others on this blog, there is no evidence that GM is involved. The objection to Tesla selling direct is all from the Automobile Dealers Association. Not from any auto manufacturer.

      1. John in AA says:

        Excellent point, there is no evidence that GM is involved. None at all. Well, other than this “Statement on GM Support of Michigan House Bill 5606” posted on the GM web site.

        http://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2014/Oct/1021-hb-5066.html

  5. Ben says:

    Aren’t online sales not allowed under the Michigan law? BTW- I live in Michigan and I drive Honda, Nissan (ev) and Zero (ev). My family (four of us) worked for GM, but with the demise of the EV-1 we stopped working and buying American Big Three cars. I’ve been concerned for what’s good for the planet over good for the political party or 1%.

  6. Stimpacker says:

    I’ve been a lifelong supporter of GM and I still am. All my cars were and some still are GM vehicles (since the TransAm days). I have been one of the few who championed GM while working in the Silicon Valley, although I have zero ties with GM. The Volt while being a compromise, is a well-thought out vehicle.

    Some of the posters above do not realize that it was the auto dealers that pushed for anti-Tesla legislation. It hardly benefits any of the big three at all. Nobody in their right mind will want to sell a product in which they have no control over the customer experience.

    In a global economy, patriotism is quite meaningless. One of my GM vehicles is built in Australia with the engine built in Mexico. How is that “Made in Detroit” as alleged by the OP (probably meant as a joke). On the other hand, the Hyundai Sonata is designed in California, made in Alabama.

    These silly monopolistic laws should be removed. Let there be both. If I am willing to wait and want to configure my car exactly, I’ll order direct and pay MSRP. If I want a car right away from local inventory, I go to a dealer and try to haggle. Dealers will of course, claim foul because secretly, despite the most shouted claim of “dealers create competition”, dealers make big bucks by jacking up prices of popular vehicles, in the guise of “Dealer Markup” that you see on the window sticker.

    1. Too much real information! You’ll crash the comments!

      Somewhere in the bowels of GM, Ford, and Chrysler, there are number crunchers quietly working to figure out how much more profit the Big Three will make if and when they are allowed to bypass dealers and sell direct. You betcha.

  7. Lensman says:

    “Do business like the big brothers like you claim you are.”

    Do you mean, lobby Congress to do a criminal investigation of a startup that threatens their collective monopoly, as an excuse to get them shut down? As the Big Three did to the last serious attempt to start another American auto manufacturing company– Tucker Car Corporation?

    Or maybe you just mean getting State legislatures to enact protectionist, anti-free-trade laws to keep any competition out.

    Funny how so many self-described “conservatives” complain about restraints on free trade, then turn around and defend protectionism because they like the fact that it prevents Tesla Motors from being able to compete on a level playing field.

    1. kdawg says:

      I think automakers should be allowed to sell direct, but isn’t it Tesla that is trying to get around playing on a level field?

      1. Josh says:

        I don’t know all the history of the laws, but my understanding is the laws are intended to protect dealers from the OEMs they have contracts with. There was either a treat or evidence of manufacturers opening stores next to contracted dealers and undercutting them on price. That seems highly unfair (if it was the case) and should have been part of the contract or settled in a lawsuit. Did it need to be a state law?

        If Tesla has no dealers, should they be subject to the same “intent”?

        1. kdawg says:

          First, I don’t know why car manufacturers would want to open a shop right next to an existing dealer. Second, what’s wrong w/having manufactures also owning stores? Apple sells their iPods in their Apple stores, and also at Walmart. Maybe you go to the Apple store to get the Apple experience and learn about the product directly from the manufacturer, but later you buy it from your local Walmart. I could see the same thing happening w/a Ford/GM/Toyota boutique store. Either way the OEM gets the sale and the local dealers get the warranty work or a possible sales lead. Same thing w/online sales. I think right now you can customize your car online at major auto sites, they then direct you to a dealer where that car can be purchased. Why not allow the consumer to order the car to be built online, and then picked up at a dealer? There can be $ for the dealer in the form of a processing fee, and the dealer will also get a possible future customer for warranty work & maintenance.

          1. Josh says:

            I agree, but the ADA doesn’t.

            All of the protections the dealers seek should be included in their contracts, not state laws.

          2. DKUVA says:

            I believe the distinction between Wal-Mart selling iPads and car dealers is that the car dealers paid big $$$ for their franchises and if the dealers cut them out they would have invested large dollars in a franchise that has become essentially worthless.

  8. mark says:

    That there are only about 100 Teslas in Michigan seems reasonable, as half the state is friends or relatives with someone who works for or alongside the big three and can get a friends/family discount.

    Michigan may not be a place where Tesla can compete at the same level as it does in other states.

    1. kdawg says:

      There are auto plants & suppliers all over the US, not just Michigan.

      1. mark says:

        Correct.

        But there is the highest density of plants and engineering facilities and suppliers in SE michigan.

        1. kdawg says:

          They may face a little more pressure as a name-brand, but I think locals are more anit-non-domestic vs anti-non-big3. More importantly, I think getting past the “electric car” hurdle dwarfs that. If the state can be sold on the idea of EVs, Michiganders, like most people will by the best products for the $.

  9. Tyl Young says:

    If anyone wants to buy a Tesla all they have to do is go online to Teslamotors.com and buy one! It’s effortless!
    …. and guess what? It’s made in America, gets you off oil forever, it doesn’t pollute the planet, and you get to supercharger for free… forever! Yea, kinda a no brainer!!
    I’ve got 37000+ free miles so far….. It’s great!! Just saving $60.00 from the pump every few days makes it worth it!! No oil changes, no greasy mess, just a clean mean awesome machine!

    1. See Through says:

      “gets you off oil forever” ?
      Unless you charge with solar power only, and don’t drive during winters when there is no sun for weeks, and heat your house with wood fireplace, you are not off oil. Your electricity comes from burning natural gas.

      1. Nick says:

        See also: Long tailpipe fallacy.

      2. Natural Gas, is but one source of Electricity Generation Fuels, and Solar increased more in 2013 than any other new fuel source for Electricity Generation, Wind is increasing, and if one lives in the North West States, Hydro Power (from water driving turbines making electricity!) is your biggest Electricity Producer!

        Ontario, Canada, is getting off Coal (down from the last 3%), and Natural Gas will be targeted in the future, as online Battery Storage supplements Pumped Storage like at Niagara Falls!

  10. Ryan says:

    I’m pretty sure that anyone with the means to buy a Tesla at this point is bright enough to go order one online. None of the “big three” are American anymore with most vehicles and/or components being sourced from Canada/Mexico/Australia/Italy/etc… the ONLY true American auto manufacturer today is TESLA

    1. kdawg says:

      The Tesla Model S is only 55% US & Canadian components.

      1. Ryan says:

        which believe it or not is #2 to only the Ford F150… as soon as Tesla is producing their own batteries in NV they will be 90% and well past the F150

        1. kdawg says:

          So your definition of “the ONLY true American auto manufacturer” is not 100% American.

          That’s a weird definition. At what point is the threshold?

  11. Tech01x says:

    Mr. Loveday, does this commentary really reflect the editorial stance of Inside EVs? You and this site does not believe there is any difference before and after signing HB 5606, regardless of the evidence presented by law professors and others? That this change is no big deal? That is no big deal for Tesla or Michigan?

  12. John from AA says:

    “We buy “made in Detroit” automobiles from Michigan-born automakers.”

    Take a walk down Main Street in Ann Arbor on any given day and say that again, I dare you.

  13. Josh says:

    So I am curious about the article referring to the difficult to break into Michigan market. If Tesla is able to deliver a 200+ mile EV for $35k, will there still be no market in Michigan?

    Let’s say GM has a 200 mile Sonic EV for $30k and Tesla has a 200 mile $35k Model 3 (mini Model S), what would you buy? [I am only looking for answers from Michigan consumers.]

    It is an interesting point, there may be no reason for Tesla to care about MI.

    1. kdawg says:

      I would have to compare the features and trim level of the cars. I’m not sure the $5k premium is worth getting access to a SC network. I think the $2k value is. If the Tesla has better performance, that may also merit some sales. I would still be leery about lack of support and Tesla still being very young at manufacturing cars.

      1. John from AA says:

        Good point, GM has a stellar record on support and service.

        1. kdawg says:

          I’ve read examples of people having to wait long times for their Tesla to be repaired due to multiple reasons, but the fact of the matter is, they are a very small company and do not have the resources. GM on the other hand is an order of magnitude larger, and has doing this for over 100 years.

            1. ModernMarvelFan says:

              “The fix for a faulty ignition switch linked to 13 traffic deaths would have cost just 57 cents, members of Congress said”

              So you trust “members of Congress” now?

              1. Tech01x says:

                There are sources that state that the revised part would have essentially cost nothing, some that state it was under $1 like this one:

                http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2014/04/01/emails-show-cost-to-gm-of-a-better-ignition-switch-90-cents/

                In any case, the likely initial cost difference was substantially near $1 or so per vehicle, obviously the cost after the fact is very different.

                1. ModernMarvelFan says:

                  The revised part would cost “approximately” extra $1… That is NOT the cost of replacing all existing parts that are installed in the vehicles already.

                  Also, ignition switch is always one of those “funny” little things.

                  Do you know what is the current GM recall solution approved by NHTSA? NO key holes so you can’t hang any weight on it. So apparently, the ignition is strong enough to handle the key by itself, but not any additional weight.

                  At what point will people realize that their “usual practice” is NOT exactly safe either. One of the new lawsuit brought up showcased one of the owners had 50 KEYS on the keychain!!!.

                  Sure, I am NOT giving GM a free pass as it should always put a higher quality part in terms of safety. But the fact is that consumers are sharing some of the responsibilities as well. Don’t forget that Delphi was the company that supplied the ignition and it was Delphi that reported to the GM that their “defective” parts weren’t meeting GM design guideline. It was GM’s fault for NOT taking any actions after it is known.

                  At least the Volt has keyless ignition…

            2. kdawg says:

              Hold on, let me call the Geek Squad to fix your broken record player.

              1. Josh says:

                I get your joke, but ironically Best Buy did dip their toe in the EV water. Was even using Geek Squad to install EVSEs.

                http://www.cbsnews.com/news/best-buy-pulls-the-plug-on-electric-cars-and-isnt-that-charged-about-scooters-either/

      2. See Through says:

        He didn’t say $35k is with SC. Sc will be $2K+ more.

        1. kdawg says:

          I think he was just throwing some #’s out to get opinions. I’ll pay $2k for SC access, but not $5k.

          1. Josh says:

            Indeed that is what I was attempting to do. The premise was, the GM “200 mile” EV will probably start at $30k and not be as nice as the Tesla “200 mile” EV that starts at $35k. I doubt the ASP of the Tesla will start with a 3, but that won’t matter.

            Here is some more WAGs to make the comparison:

            GM – 185 EPA mile range
            FWD, 0 – 60 in 8.5 seconds
            Starts at $30k MSRP, fully loaded at $40k (leather, stereo, OnStar nav)

            Tesla – 205 EPA mile range, $8k optional 275 EPA mile range
            RWD, 0 – 60 6 seconds, AWD option $3k, Perf model $7k 0 – 60 in 4.5 seconds
            $3k Tech Package (Nav, AutoPilot, Homelink, etc.)
            $2k SuperCharging (or $2.5k to upgrade later)
            Probably a little more storage in the 3 (at least the frunk)

  14. JakeY says:

    “Snyder could have taken no action on the bill and Tesla still would be prohibited from selling direct in the state.”
    Not true at all, and I don’t know why you keep saying this. Look at the analysis by Tesla and what happened in Massachusetts. The Michigan ADA saw the writing on the wall and that Tesla will use the same argument through the courts, so they made this “clarification” to prevent Tesla from doing the same thing.

    The subtle but very important point for Tesla specifically is whether the law applies to auto manufacturers with franchises or to ALL manufacturers (even those without franchises). This “clarification” (the removal of the word “its”) changes the law so that it applies to all manufacturers.

    There’s also a secondary issue: the new law also adds text related to servicing and advertisement, so it may also prevent Tesla from opening service centers and “galleries” in the state.

  15. EVer says:

    The big 3 make crap cars

  16. Kubel says:

    Ok, so it’s illegal in Michigan. So what? So is selling a car on Sunday, tying an alligator to a fire hydrant, and willfully destroying your old radio. The question is, what will they do if you defy their almighty law?

    Tesla should open a Tesla store, sell Teslas on Sunday, with an alligator tied to the fire hydrant outside, while smashing radios on the sidewalk.

    Something tells me even alligators parked outside won’t stop Tesla buyers from buying Teslas, so why should we fear a bunch of politicians?

    Rebel, Tesla. Stand up for what’s right, and rebel. It’s the American way.

  17. Tim F. says:

    This article points out one of the reasons why it would be impractical for Tesla to use franchised dealers in Michigan. No independent dealer would be able to run a profitable business selling and servicing exclusively Teslas at this volume. Tesla would have to be part of a multi-brand dealer, at which point you get into the conflict of interest where a dealer would rather sell an ICE that generates much more future service work. With a company-run store and service center, they can size it properly to the market and share resources with locations in neighboring states in order to minimize operating expense.

  18. Reddy says:

    Perhaps Tesla should contact a few Indian Reservations (especially in Michigan) and open up a store there 😉

    1. Marshal G says:

      Nice! I hadn’t thought of that before!

    2. kubel says:

      This is a brilliant idea. A little exploitative, maybe. But it might work. The Huron Potawatomi Reservation (42.1045215, -85.2629302) is the best location.

      130 miles from the Detroit service center. 🙁
      60 miles from Lansing. :/
      30 miles from Kalamazoo. 🙂
      15 miles from Battle Creek. 😀

  19. Roy_H says:

    All this talk about people in Michigan not wanting Tesla cars is completely beside the point. People like local service, so Tesla is at a disadvantage. The people of Michigan did not rise up and demand this law, only a few people all part of the ADA. A very small number of people forcing their will on the majority. I hope the people of Michigan will remember this when election time rolls around.

    1. Very few will know or even understand this law, and they will largely re-elect the incumbents, like always.

      That is American politics.

  20. Smeghead says:

    “Imported from Detroit” is one of the most ridiculous phrases I’ve ever seen.

    By all means, give Detroit to Canada, as most of America certainly doesn’t want the city any more.