Ever since Tesla started selling cars in the United States it has battled laws that forbid its direct-to-consumer sales model. In many states across the U.S. it’s illegal for automakers to sell their cars to customers – instead, automakers are expected to sell their cars through third-party dealers. Tesla has fought these laws in Ohio, New Jersey, Texas and Michigan – and the automaker just announced a big win in Maryland as the state’s governor signed a bill allowing Tesla to skip third-party dealerships and sell directly to customers.
Governor Larry Hogan recently signed House Bill 235, which will allow Tesla to open up to four dealerships in Maryland starting in October 1. “We hope this momentum combined with encouragement from independent entities, such as the Federal Trade Commission, will lead to direct sales in other states such as Connecticut, Michigan, Texas, and Arizona,” stated Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president of corporate and business development at Tesla.
Tesla feels that by selling its cars directly to consumers, it can better educate consumers about the benefits of electric cars. Tesla feels that existing third-party dealers have a conflict of interest between selling gasoline-powered cars and new types of cars, like electric cars. If Tesla were to use third-party dealers to sell its vehicles (like the Model S and upcoming Model X), the dealers would not be able to make a strong enough case for a customer to choose an electric car over a conventional gas-powered vehicle.
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