Dealers serving the high-end luxury market are not happy to see electric carmaker Tesla Motors open up several stylish outlets, or that the company is offering service programs to buyers of their Model S sedan. The Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association, and other dealer organizations, are calling the network illegal, violating decades-old law. These associations are lobbying to make it illegal for automakers to sell cars directly to consumers, and there’s concern in four states about the dealerships being legal.
Tesla’s stores are a bit different – essentially showrooms to gain consumer interest and education. For those impressed and wanting to buy, they’re directed to a computer to make their deposit and place their order.
How the vehicles will be serviced is up there with the sales environment. Tesla is building dedicated service facilities close to Model S owners. By March of next year, more than 90% of all current Model reservation holders will be within 100 miles of a Tesla Service Center, and more than 80% will be within 50 miles. Each state has its own laws dealing with sales and service centers, and it will take a while for all of it to be straightened out.