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Three FTC officials back Tesla over auto dealers

Three Federal Trade Commission officials have come to the aid of Tesla Motors in its ongoing battle to sell its electric cars directly to customers without going through dealers.

A blog posting on the FTC’s website from the three blasts states that have erected barriers that prevent direct sales of cars as “bad policy.”

It also says that removing barriers to direct selling “may be essential to allow consumers access to new ways of shopping that have become available in many other industries.” People can now hail a taxi with smartphone applications, or shop on the Internet, the post notes.

The post was authored by Andy Gavil, director of the Office of Policy Planning; Debbie Feinstein, director of the Bureau of Competition; and Marty Gaynor, director of the Bureau of Economics. The blog is careful to state that their views are their own and don’t reflect official FTC policy, although the posting is on the FTC’s official site.

The post notes that Tesla is a flyspeck in the auto sales world, having sold more than 20,000 cars last year in a new-car market of more than 15 million in 2013. But just as Tesla’s Model S is disrupting auto manufacturing, it is also disrupting retailing


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