Tesla’s Elon Musk found someone to blame for the lackluster sales of EVs, and the death of some EV makers: Car dealers, and their National Automobile Dealers Association NADA.
“The auto dealers association is definitely creating some problems for us, making it harder to get things done,” Musk said at Tesla’s shareholder meeting with Reuters taking notes. Tesla wants to sell its cars directly to consumers, which is against the law in most states. Attempts to have the law changed “met stiff resistance from dealer groups around the country,” Reuters says. Musk keeps trying.
Musk has said car dealers are bad advocates for electric cars because they rely mostly on gas-powered vehicles. Musk told shareholders that the traditional dealer model “didn’t work for Fisker, didn’t work for Coda. In the last 90 years, when did it work?”
NADA spokesman David Hyatt fired back:
“Industry experts say Fisker failed because it rushed its product to market before engineering problems were resolved. Coda did not receive government loans and was under-capitalized.”
“Thank goodness there are independent dealers left to try to help the customer. Manufacturers and brands may come and go, but the dealers are there for the long term.”
Car dealers are a very formidable lobby group. Fighting windmills would stand better chances.