the Hartford Business Journal recently held a poll asking whether or not Tesla and other automakers should be allowed to sell directly to consumers in Connecticut. This is important because recently the City of East Hartford ruled in favor of local auto dealerships, who do not want Tesla, Rivian, or other automakers selling directly to customers in their city. I’ve been covering this drama for the past year and you can read the recap and latest news here.
Wtf? The Dealer Mafia came in force with the NO Hammer. pic.twitter.com/caoTioqea5
— T RΞVΦR S CO-77 🇺🇦 (@Space_Taz) March 23, 2022
The Tesla Owners Club of Connecticut reached out to me on Twitter and asked me to help share the poll, so I voted and shared on Twitter. It’s sheer folly that many Tesla owners have to go out of state to get their car serviced.
Thank you @JohnnaCrider1 🙏
This vote is somehow rigged because someone can vote an unlimited number of times. I know people are on our side, I really think the dealers are rigging it in their favor @SawyerMerritt @WholeMarsBlog
— Owners of Tesla Connecticut (@CtTesla) March 23, 2022
Will Cross with Connecticut Tesla Owners told me in a Twitter post, “Consumers in Connecticut really care about this issue. Pro-consumer laws that eliminate monopolies are what we need.
Regarding the survey, the Hartford Business Journal wrote: “Connecticut law prohibits automakers from selling their products directly to customers, a fact that has prevented electric vehicle maker Tesla, which does not use dealerships, from to further expand its commercial presence in the state. Tesla has argued that the law is an unnecessary restriction for consumers, but dealers say the existing law is necessary to protect buyers’ interests when recalls or other large-scale issues arise.
James Riley, a local Tesla owner whose home and workplace would have been minutes from the new Tesla Service Center, told me:
“I think Tesla should be able to sell cars to whoever they want in any state and open a service center in any state. Imagine if Ford or some other automotive supplier couldn’t have a service center Connecticut? That Tesla service center would be 20 minutes from my house and 3-5 minutes from my job, and now I’d have to drive over an hour to the service center in Milford, CT to get my car checked. Fortunately, the mobile service can help me most of the time and rotate my tires and such for me at home.
“Honestly, it sucks because I’m saving all this money for my dream car and local governments are trashing it and working against me.
Initially, the poll had few votes, but most of the votes were against Tesla and other automakers selling electric vehicles directly to customers. Once I shared it with the Tesla community, many added their votes. When the polls closed, the final vote was 66% — yes and 34% — no.
Additional Thoughts on the Tesla Dealer Survey
I think the poll is a good thing because it gives local media feedback not only from the local Tesla community, but also from the international community. Many people around the world love their Teslas and other electric vehicles and have shared their thoughts in my poll thread. I think it will also help raise awareness that it’s just plain silly that Tesla can’t even provide service to its own customers in certain areas like East Hartford.
Chris @Teslanatrix noted that it was crazier than the water saga around Giga Berlin. David Warriner points out that the survey only mentions the sale of cars. He asked, “Does this prevent Tesla from opening service centers?”
Given the recent decision in East Hartford, I would say yes, since Tesla was banned from opening a simple service center in the city.
twitter user @Nitzao talked about the stupidity of not allowing automakers to sell directly to customers. They said,
“It’s kinda dumb… OEMs and legacy dealers need to stop stalling progress. Everyone should have a choice whether to buy direct or not.
John Talmid responded to my tweet on Twitter. He stressed that he understood why the laws would prohibit direct sales to customers since the big manufacturers wanted to cut out the middleman. However, he added, car dealerships don’t know how to sell electric vehicles and they don’t do electric vehicles justice.
I believe consumers should be able to buy what they want, when and where they want. Since it is not illegal to own vehicles, they should be able to purchase them directly without having to navigate loopholes and face the consequences of politics.
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