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USA: Tesla Motors Under Fire From Dealership Lobby

The Internet has revolutionized everything, from the way we shop to the way we date. But one thing the Internet has not done is change the way we buy cars. Tesla Motors is trying to emulate the success of Apple by eschewing dealership franchises in lieu of direct sales. This has some dealership associations suing, though their lawsuit could have the opposite effect.

Right now, 48 U.S. states have laws prohibiting carmakers from selling cars directly to customers. This is due in large part to the dealership lobby passing laws like those in California prohibiting competing dealers selling the same brand of vehicle within a mile of each other.

These laws have in part led to increasingly deceptive dealership practices, and it doesn’t take much Googling to find dealership horror stories involving everything from lead footed service technicians to sleazy sales practices. Since these are franchises that companies like GM has relatively little control over, your experience can vary widely.

Tesla Motors is trying a new model, selling cars directly to customers via 17 Tesla-owned stores centered in major metro areas. This is similar to the Apple Store, which is credited as being a large part of Apple’s wild financial success in the past decade. That is why Tesla hired the former Apple executive who came up with the Apple Store concept, George Blankenship.


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