Attention Dealers: Don’t Just Oppose Tesla’s Elon Musk – Learn How He Thinks!

Elon Musk in Tesla showroom

by Jon LeSage, con­tribut­ing edi­tor, Dealer Digest Daily

• For those fol­low­ing elec­tric vehi­cles, Elon Musk would prob­a­bly lead the list of “celebri­ties” (right in front of Hen­rik Fisker and Bob Lutz). He gets a lot of media play and does a good job of milk­ing it, includ­ing send­ing out zingers through his Twit­ter account.

• Auto­mo­tive News has been cov­er­ing the bat­tle between state dealer asso­ci­a­tions and Tesla Motors in recent years, where state lob­by­ing efforts and law­suits have made for big deals espe­cially in Mass­a­chu­setts and New York.

• Texas has seen the lat­est stage, where Musk made a splash tes­ti­fy­ing before state law­mak­ers on why Tesla should be allowed to set up retail spaces in the state with­out com­ply­ing to long­time dealer fran­chise laws.

• Here’s a few high­lights from the con­ver­sa­tion with Auto­mo­tive News’ Amy Wil­son:
• Tesla wanted to see deal­ers com­mit to set­ting up an exclu­sive Tesla store and sell a cer­tain num­ber of the elec­tric lux­ury cars, and that com­mit­ment from deal­ers didn’t hap­pen. So they set up their own retail showrooms.

• Tesla would com­mit to work­ing with fran­chised deal­ers in Texas if Tesla sales exceeded 5% of new car sales in the state per year, but they’re a mil­lion miles away from that.

• Musk has given sev­eral exam­ples of EV startup com­pa­nies fail­ing after set­ting up fran­chised dealer net­works, with Fisker being one of them. He does acknowl­edge there were other fac­tors at play, espe­cially Fisker’s bat­tery sup­ply strug­gle with A123 Sys­tems. But, unsold inven­tory at Fisker was the deter­min­ing factor.

• Musk is also con­sid­er­ing bring­ing his SpaceX com­pany over to Texas as well. It would be the world’s first orbital space port on the south coast of Texas near Brownsville, he said.

• A mes­sage to deal­ers: There’s bet­ter things to do than attack Tesla. It’s a small com­pany sell­ing a small num­ber of cars – try­ing not to be “yet another body in the grave­yard of car com­pany startups.”

Source: Auto­mo­tive News