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USA: Auto dealers protest Natick Mall Tesla showroom

An attorney representing the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and several Natick dealerships told town officials this week that a license selectmen approved for an electric car company should be revoked because the company fell short on complying with state law.

In a letter to the town Monday, Scott Silverman wrote that Tesla Motors has not proposed to offer service near the site as required by state law for license holders.
“We want to ensure that Tesla complies with all the same requirements that our new car dealership members are required to comply with,” Silverman said yesterday.
Offering service is especially important for a specialty car company because there are few other facilities to service those cars, he said.
Selectmen have granted, but have yet to sign, the Class I license, according to the Town Administrator’s Office.
Town Administrator Martha White said Silverman’s letter has been sent to town counsel. The subject could be put on a future agenda depending on counsel’s feedback, she said.
“We want to work with the town to make sure everyone is treated fairly,” Silverman said.
He said it is unclear whether Tesla plans to sell vehicles or simply run a showroom. They sought a license for sales, but Building Commissioner Michael Melchiorri wrote in a letter to the town that the applicant’s attorney has indicated it has no plans to sell cars or parts at the Natick Mall site.
Car salesrooms are prohibited at or near the Natick Mall by town zoning, but Melchiorri wrote this is “more of a ‘showroom’ for all electric car technology and a display location for Tesla projects.”


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