Even if Rivian launches compelling products, it won't be able to sell them in many states.
Our good friend Sean Mitchell is pushing for the approval of direct sales in Colorado, and Rivian is well-aware of the situation. It's not only on board with the bill in Colorado, but also aware that it needs to work ahead of production in other states to assure it will actually be approved to sell its cars.
Much like Tesla, Rivian is a brand-new automaker coming to market with compelling electric vehicles. However, it doesn't want to deal with the archaic franchise dealership model that all legacy automakers are lumped into. Instead, Rivian hopes to sell its cars directly to buyers.
While this is a solid idea and could save buyers money and hassle by eliminating the "middle man," many states don't actually allow it. As Automotive News points out:
"A battle over automakers' ability to sell electric vehicles directly to consumers is brewing in Colorado — and the EV startup that is backing that effort has its sights set on direct sales in many more states."
Sadly, people like Tim Jackson, president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, are expectedly against the bill. After an amendment to the bill said it could "prevent traditional automakers from opening up next door to their franchised dealers," Jackson shared:
"We're not enamored with the amendment. You can't put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig."
Jackson has been a firm and outspoken Tesla detractor for some time, going so far as to fight with Tesla fans on Twitter and put up 'no Tesla charging' signs on his establishments, and argue for the traditional dealership model.
However, it's true that the dealership model is something that was paved in the past. As the world adapts, it may or may not prove to be the best situation going forward. Either way, it seems fair that buyers should be given a choice here. Perhaps if traditional dealers aren't concerned about their track record, service, and overall viability, they shouldn't be concerned about potential upcoming changes to the model via new competition?
Nonetheless, automotive manufacturers continue to say they support their dealer networks and are providing comments against the bill in Colorado. As the future of new automakers moves forward, and more specifically, new EVs come to the forefront, changes may need to be made. At least companies like Rivian and Tesla are working to make that happen.
Tim Jackson shared about auto manufacturers via Automotive News:
"We believe they do want to work with their dealers. But we think it would be
tempting to go around that dealer body to sell direct if they thought it would be an
Why would it be tempting to go around dealer networks? Jackson seems to make it clear here that direct sales may offer something the dealership network does not. Is that why he and his team are adamant to put a stop to Rivian's future pursuits? We have no way of knowing for sure, but it seems so based on the language in the bill and his comments that there is a concern that buyers and manufacturers could see all this as an advantage. If that proves true, wouldn't it make sense to offer buyers and manufacturers the legal ability to partake in such advantages?
According to Automotive News, James Chen, Rivian's vice president of public policy, said during testimony in Washington state:
"Our bill will not interfere with their contracts between [dealers] and their manufacturers. This is about opening up Colorado to additional investment and allowing a new entrant with an exciting new technology to be able to invest in Colorado."
To read the full report via Automotive News, follow the link below. Then, leave us your comments.