Tesla Vs Natick, Massachusetts – Future Of Boutique Stores On The Line?

JUL 22 2012 BY STAFF 10

Tesla Sanata Row In Northern California

Tesla’s answer to the town of Natick’s suggestion that their boutique mall dealership location may not comply with state (Massachusetts) licensing rules looked to be an easy solve of the problem-“we won’t sell cars there”, but that doesn’t seem to be holding water with the Greater Boston Area town of about 35,000, or with its existing auto dealers.

Town Counsel person, David DeLuca in an email response to Tesla’s lawyer stated that without sales at the mall it “raises the obvious question as to where and when do actual sales occur.”  He went out to say that Natick is allowed to only issue a license to an applicant that maintains its  primary business in the town.

Tesla's Bellvue Square Dealership

Scott Silverman, an attorney representing the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association, and who had originally approved a Class 1 license for Tesla in May, along several Natick dealerships, said it was unclear if Tesla will meet several license requirements, including having a service center near the Natick Mall.

Through their lawyer, Tesla wrote a letter (dated July 6) that the company has a lease for property in Watertown that will house the service facility. But Silverman has said, at 15 miles (and in another city) that is too far away.

“I don’t know of any other dealer in the state that would have their service  facility anywhere near half as far as that facility. Ninety to 95 percent of service centers are on the same property as a dealership  or on adjacent property.”

Tesla’s official position on the intended use of the boutique location remains unchanged, “All that this location can do is accept a reservation for a car to be built-to-order at a later date. The actual binding contract between the customer and the company does not occur at this location but occurs later in the process when the car is ready for final production.”

Billy Donley, who represents Tesla in the matter, also provided the town with a copy of a dealership agreement between Tesla Motors and Tesla Motors MA, but the larger issue here, as Silverman has questioned, is whether that met a prohibition on manufacturer-owned dealerships. “I know they might be introducing some progressive ideas, but you can’t gloss  over what everyone else is required to comply with,” Silverman said.

The legal wrangling continues, and the fate of Tesla’s boutique stores may be on the line.

Tesla Exclusive Mall Charging/Parking

MetroWest Daily News

Categories: Tesla


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10 Comments on "Tesla Vs Natick, Massachusetts – Future Of Boutique Stores On The Line?"

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Tesla should get around this by starting a Tesla only rental company, and having their Boutique Stores rent the cars. Similar to what BMW is doing with DriveNow.


The answer is simple. Only sell Tesla branded merchandise out of the store. But still keep new cars there for customers to check out and have experts at the store to answer questions (eg close the deal).

I’ve seen business being done in Mass, and what’s most likely is that someone isn’t getting the bribe they were looking for, or else didn’t get enough. I had never seen dirty business being done by government officials so openly, and thought perhaps I was in the wrong country.

Just sounds like 3rd world rules (no manufacturer owned dealership, service has to be done at this place, give us your money, blah blah blah blah blah).

Its Tucker all over again. This is the future of cars unless we get some insane power supply breakthroughs. Even then a Tesla with a “Mr. Reactor” mounted under the hood is going to be the best deal going.

Now if you could just make a Tesla Powered Scion xB for $35,000 that I could almost afford…

I thought we were long past the era of “Who killed the electric car?” Apparently not when protectionist traditional dealers and small-minded, small-town bureaucrats get together. It’s called innovation…try to get beyond the archaic laws that favor large dealer networks and try to support innovative new models. Wake up, Natick, business is being conducted in new ways, now – they actually sell cars on the internet! So why not a boutique in Natick to showcase a vehicle that is sold and serviced elsewhere?

Blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada…

Simple, put the store in Framingham where I bet they will love to have you! Natick residents can go there easily enough, rent’s cheaper, and “the old way of doing things” can continue happily in hide-bound Natick.

I would love to see the Tesla showcase/dealership in Massachusetts. It sounds like laws need to be updated for new age companies. If the law should provide anything regarding service centers it should be that new companies should offer courses for independent service centers to learn how to repair their vehicles. Not sure I need to go to a manufacturer’s/dealer’s service center.

Tesla Natick Showroon opens Friday 9/28/12. Come on down!