Virginia Denies Tesla Motors Request to Open Store in State
Though Tesla Motors may be sort of winning its battle in Texas, it’s a different story in Virginia where officials there have rejected the automaker’s request to operate its own stores within the state.
Just days ago, officials in Virgina held to the state law, which requires manufacturers to sell vehicles through a traditional dealership setup, unless the automaker can prove that no suitable dealer exists within the state.
Tesla Motors had sought an exception, saying something that’s becoming rather common now. Tesla claims its Model S is unique and that a traditional dealership isn’t’ really capable of selling and servicing such a vehicle.
Tesla’s proposed showroom in Virgina would be similar to its various sites in other states where it’s more a design studio that allows for customers to learn about the Model S and to place an order for the vehicle. No inventory would be at the site and a service department would be at a separate location, perhaps even in a nearby state.
Of course, the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association were the first to object to Tesla’s request, but that means next to nothing.
It’s the ruling from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Richard Holcomb that stands in the way of Tesla Motors operating in Virginia right now. Holcomb says he was unable to say definitively that no existing dealership in Virginia could meet the needs of Tesla.
The automaker’s next step is to appeal Holcomb’s ruling, but to do that Tesla Motors will have to submit evidence that shows no dealer in Virgina could operate the franchise in such a way that would benefit public interest.
Holcomb’s ruling goes against the advice of a DMV hearing officer, who on two previous occasions suggested that the state grant Tesla exemption request.