Tesla Not Ready To Give Up On Selling Electric Cars In Michigan


Tesla Delivered ~17,400 Model S Sedans In North America In 2014

Tesla store

When we last time checked Tesla’s Find Us map, there were no stores or service centers in Michigan (one service center “coming soon” in Detroit though).

More than 400 Tesla customers in Michigan need to service their cars in neighboring states, which isn’t all that convenient at all.

According to latest Detroit News article, Tesla is still fighting for the right to be able sell cars directly in Michigan, but resistance is overwhelming.

The state passed an Anti-Tesla bill passed one year ago.

Jim Chen, Tesla’s vice president of regulatory affairs, said:

“There doesn’t seem to be much interest from not only the dealers, but manufacturers like GM that want to continue to shut us out of the market entirely,”.

“We’re an American company that is building cars in the United States that is using over 55 Michigan suppliers — that is spending over $120 million in parts and components from Michigan suppliers to build American-made cars. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to sell in Michigan?”

Some interesting light on the future was cast by state Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart who introduced a bill enabling direct sales of three-wheeled “autocycles”. If Michigan would allow for that (in favor of Elio Motors, as we understand it), then Tesla would have a strong argument in its favor.

The Federal Trade Commission already is on-board with direct car sales:

“The Federal Trade Commission earlier this year, in a 10-page letter to Booher, urged the Michigan Legislature to reconsider the ban on Tesla and other automakers from directly selling to consumers. The agency said the ban leads to “protectionism” for dealers and is “likely harming both competition and consumers.”

Source: The Detroit News

Category: Tesla

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37 responses to "Tesla Not Ready To Give Up On Selling Electric Cars In Michigan"
  1. SparkEV says:

    All them nucking futs socialist “protect our poor dealers” politicians should just move to North Korea. They’ll be happier in their state protected socialist paradise, Michigan residents will be happier for having better cars and reduce their taxes via EV tax credit.

    1. David Stone says:

      Socialist does not equal protectionist.
      These people do not care about social issues, but the issues of those they are owned by, bought and paid for.

      1. Big Solar says:


      2. He is being sarcastic.

        1. Nick says:

          I rate the sarcasm: 3.5/10

          Keep practicing. 🙂

          1. SJC says:

            Better yet put up a /sarc sign. There are real nut jobs who believe that garbage.

    2. Mikael says:

      Do you even know what socialism is? The dealers being protected is a typical sign of corporatocracy, something that only happens in screwed up capitalistic places.
      Who you should blame are the right wing nuts that has created such a dysfunctional system.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Right wing or left wing, socialist is socialist. When they come up with these proteectionist policies, they don’t say “protect the corporate”. They say “protect our workers in established industries”.

        You seem to be confused what capitalism is: it’s freedom to voluntarily enter into trade, anarcho capitalism being unfettered version of it.

        Socialism is someone else telling you what/who/how/when/etc to trade, the very thing these politicians are imposing on Tesla.

        1. Nick says:

          In the car dealership model the means of production and distribution are privately held. I don’t know what it is, but it’s definitely not socialist.

          1. SparkEV says:

            It’s not the car dealers forcing out Tesla; it’s the government. You can claim car dealers “bought” the politicians, but the fact is only the government can legally force anything. That is the distinction of socialism: government force.

            Now if car dealers bought the mob, then it wouldn’t be socialism. But that also won’t be legal, and the government would be right to take down the mob for preventing Tesla free trade in Michigan. Only the government is allowed to use force.

        2. Alonso Perez says:

          No, that’s not socialism. In socialism they don’t tell you what to trade. In socialism the state owns everything and you just work for the state which controls the entire economy (supposedly for the benefit of all in a classless society.
          The dealer problem has nothing to do with this. The dealer problem is good, old-fashioned crony capitalism.

          1. RexxSee says:

            No, what you describe is communism.
            Socialism is keeping more money to offer a host of social services to the needing poor and health care for all and free education, land protection etc. Companies are free to run as they want, but incomes are limited to certain levels of decency. Money and banks are also managed and held by the government. Inflation and crisis are absent from this political system.

            1. SJC says:

              Socialism says “the most good for the most people” something greed knows nothing about.

              1. SparkEV says:

                It may be most good for most people, but there is no guarantee as such. Besides, most of what people? If you ask the dealers, keeping Tesla out is most good for most people who work in auto dealers: Socialism.

                There is one guarantee in socialism and that is that individual choice is curtailed for collective. Why can’t Tesla sell in Michigan? It’s because collective (government, not the dealers) limited the choice: Socialism.

            2. goodbyegascar says:

              Most accurate definition. Thank you.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      SparkEV said:

      “All them nucking futs socialist ‘protect our poor dealers’ politicians…”

      I presume from this rant you’re not an American? Because if you were, you’d likely realize that Detroit = Big Business = GOP/Republican business protectionism, not “socialist” worker protectionism… and we have very few avowed Socialist politicians in this country, despite the ravings of hard-right radio talk show demagogues.

      Currently, the Republicans have a rather lopsided control of the Michigan State elected offices:

      House: 63R, 47D
      Senate: 27R, 11D

      Michigan’s Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General are all Republicans.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Whenever they have these protectionist policies, it’s for “worker protection”. That’s why these are socialist policies. They don’t say “protect auto dealers so fat cats can stay in business”

        You seem to equate party line as socialist or not. There are plenty of Republican socialists.

        I am an American (aka, citizen of USA), probably more so than most people in America. I actually had to make conscious efforts, wait, take tests, and pledge allegiance to this country, unlike those who just won the birth lottery.

        And I can tell you, the founding principle had nothing about government protecting auto dealers disguised as worker protection. Pursuit of happiness would imply pursuit of better product, but when government gets in the way, that’s contrary to the American way.

        1. super390 says:

          Remember that it was originally written “life, liberty & property”, and “pursuit of happiness” was the revision, with huge implications over the centuries. Where the Constitution opens “…establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” general welfare could mean all sorts of things. But then so could “common defence”, and we’ve spent trillions on things that don’t seem to defend ordinary citizens at all.

          However, the deeper problem is why you think “socialist” inevitably means “government”. Worker-owned companies in Europe are a form of socialism. Socialism is about the belief that humans are essentially pretty equal and that the vast inequalities we see are due to biased constructs created by the privileged classes of the past. To oppose this all tools, including governmental, are proposed. When businessmen of any size use government to obtain an even greater advantage over their workers and customers, that is not actually socialism. It’s really more like feudalism.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          SparkEV said:

          “Whenever they have these protectionist policies, it’s for ‘worker protection’. That’s why these are socialist policies.”

          Repeating your error doesn’t make it any less of an error.

          It’s rather sad how many people posting to this thread don’t know what the definition of “socialism” actually is.



          1: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

          2 a: a system of society or group living in which there is no private property

          b: a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

          * * * * *

          State laws banning direct sales of automobiles by manufacturers, protecting the market for local/regional auto dealers, has absolutely nothing to do with socialism. Those two things are not even remotely related.

          1. SparkEV says:

            It’s sad how so many are hung up on falose ideology that they fail to see the obvious. Going by the strict definition, there is no socialist country anywhere in the world. Even North Korea allows some private ownership and distribution.

            Fact is, any government mandated trade is form of socialism. That takes away the choice from the individual to the collective. From the definition you quote, this is the part about government administration of means of distribution. And that’s exactly what the current dealer protection is doing: socialism.

      2. TX NRG says:

        The 2014 amended law removed one word, “its”, from the original law protecting the Detroit Big 3 and their Dealerships passed in 1998 by a Democrat controlled House and Republican Senate and Governor. Both parties, the companies and their unions all generally supported the protectionist law.

    4. super390 says:

      Well, if you think you can shame them about their hypocrisy, consider the mobs screaming against socialist Obamacare in order to protect their Medicare. Ronald Reagan himself put out a record album in 1968 to preach against the evil socialism of the proposed Medicare system. What changed?

      I want to go out on a limb and argue that many white Americans use terms like “birthright” and “original intent” and “restoring the republic” to signal that in their hearts, they actually are the rightful owners of the country, in the same way that the members-of-blood of a conquering tribe own all that is within their territory, including the state and religious apparatus and the conquered peoples they hold as slaves. So the entire purpose of property and government is to elevate them above their subcreatures. Thus it’s socialism not because it’s government action, but because it dares benefit the Other. Even business owners who try to reverse discrimination against blacks and gays, or entire industries that make blacks into millionaires without “assimilation” like rap music or the NBA, are condemned, while trillions in government handouts to Big Oil, Big Prison, and Big War are applauded for making The Tribe stronger than its endless enemies at home and abroad.

      So how did car dealers obtain this exalted status of Too Tribal To Fail? Political money wasn’t enough. They taught us to see cars as part of what Dick Cheney called the non-negotiable American way of life, then themselves as their true providers, not the hated union workers in unwhite Detroit.

    5. Jacked says:

      MI is controlled by the GOP which are not exactly a “socialist” party, lol.

      The problem in MI is that even if dems somehow gained control of the legislature, they would be afraid of Tesla taking away automotive related jobs. I wonder if Tesla’s best chance actually lies with the courts. Just open up a dealership and when MI shuts it down sue them.

      1. SparkEV says:

        People so often confuse political party. GOP is far more socialist when it comes to corporate welfare (ie, government control limiting choice). Contrary to popular belief, there are lots and lots of Republican Socialists that go by “see me as I say, not as I do”, and this applies to MI.

  2. koz says:

    This is the real “Ludicrous” mode. Absolute ridiculous that Tesla can’t have stores there, even if sales are restricted to some degree which is absurd in itself. To not even allow Tesla to operate service centers is even more mind numbingly dumb if that is even possible.

  3. ffbj says:

    Since when does GM or the ADA dictate who can sell vehicles in their state? Since always.

  4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Michigan is where Detroit is located, and State politics are very firmly in the control of the GOP. It will very likely be the last bastion of legacy auto dealership protectionism.

    But hey, the good news is that at last count, there were only four or five States where Tesla sales are still banned outright. Other States have limitations, though. For example, as I recall, Tesla is limited to no more than five stores in New Jersey. These limits might start to have a real effect when Tesla starts selling the Model ≡.

    1. sven says:

      Meh. NJ also has no sales tax on EVs. The sales tax break will help the Model III sell fine in NJ.

  5. Garrity says:

    Does anyone know what the sentiment of Michigan residents are concerning Tesla’s ban? I could only find a patch poll saying that 84% do not support it, but wonder how accurate that is.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Objective, statistically valid polls cost money to conduct. I doubt anyone is going to pay the money to conduct such a poll. Tesla Motors is a big concern for us EV advocates, but not so for the public at large, nor for any major political party.

      I suspect the only polls we’re going to see on this subject are online polls, which are biased because they’re not random; people have to self-select to participate.

  6. techguy says:

    Who killed the (American) electric car? The Republicans.

    1. super390 says:

      It’s not dead yet, but now there’s certainly a list of industries Republicans try to support and one of those they try to destroy. Historically, the US (and the GOP) supported high tariffs to protect “infant” American industries from the obvious unfair advantages behemoths like the British Empire had. But what happened when America became the behemoth after 1918? Tariffs by an established power led to resentment and retaliation, and finally a disastrous trade war. So since then the favoring of new industries has mostly been a non-trade matter: the creation of highways and housing that enabled the suburbs, and the race for military supremacy. Now all of these are established, senile and arrogant industries that won’t give up their privileges. And there’s no foreign action that can make us change this. The politics of the past, of narrow national identity, and of the segregated suburbs, requires the status quo of those industries preserved beyond economic logic. Once we sanctify our property and investment priorities, it’s not “socialism” to use the government to preserve it from any revision, but a moral obligation.

  7. Roy_H says:

    If I were Tesla, I would be very tempted to run ads during the next election listing all the politicians who voted to “Deny the people of Michigan from having freedom of choice on how to purchase a new car.”

  8. Roy LeMeur says:

    Please remind me not to come here looking for refined political discussion.

    No need for anyone to pull definitions out of their butts.

    There is something called the -internet- where you can find the definitions of words you don’t understand.


  9. Ratt says:

    Tesla, ought to look at getting there parts from other states or the neighbor to the north.

  10. goodbyegascar says:

    Affluent Michiganders will be buying plenty of Teslas. And affluent people are often well-connected.

    The ban will be lifted. It’s just a matter of time.

    1. John says:

      Yup Yup Yup.
      Couldn’t have said it better myself.