Tesla Motors recently posted its first ever quarterly profit, outsold GM and Nissan plug-ins and earned 99 out of 100 points from Consumer Reports. These recent successes are concerning to the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association.
The group, which represents auto dealers throughout the state, is behind a new piece of legislation that would prevent automakers from selling directly to consumers in North Carolina. While the bill doesn’t specifically say it would ban Tesla sales, Tesla is the only high-profile automaker selling its vehicles without using third-party dealerships.
Will Oremus covered the pending legislation in an article that appeared on Slate.com yesterday.
“Its sponsor is state Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Republican from Henderson, who has said the goal is to prevent unfair competition between manufacturers and dealers. What makes it “unfair competition” as opposed to plain-old “competition”—something Republicans are typically inclined to favor—is not entirely clear. After all, North Carolina doesn’t seem to have a problem with Apple selling its computers online or via its own Apple Stores.”
Dealers in the state aren’t just concerned about Tesla, they are concerned that the direct-to-consumer model could expand to other automakers and ultimately cut into their bottom line.
It is highly unlikely that Tesla’s sales model, regardless of how successful it ultimately becomes, is going to disrupt the decades-old dealership model that traditional automakers have relied upon to market and sell their vehicles to the masses.