Hammer Time: Lawyers, Guns And Tesla

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang

A working-class song, “Lawyers, Guns And Money” pierces my mind like a mantra as I wander around a place known here in Georgia as “The Gold Dome.”

Everything around me is marble and exquisite, with the exception of the Romanesque D.C.-styled dome on top, which is gilded in gold leaf. Expensive suits are ubiquitous. Formalities are only surface-deep, and the money passes from corporation, to lobbying group, to lobbyist, and finally to the congressman’s election campaign quicker than an auctioneer like me can say all these words.

This swarm of money is designed to enshroud the legalities of big people screwing the little people. Forty-nine state legislatures have prostrated themselves to franchise dealer lobbies. The faces bow and the rears spew out the stink that is government-sanctioned, legalized theft.

You want a new Tesla? You pay the gatekeepers, shitheads that they are. The good ol’ boys that want to pass down the elixir of exclusive wealth to the silver spooned next-gens and are prepared to fight tooth-and-nail to keep the creators of product away from the final consumer.

Cell Phones. Guns. Computers. Real Estate. Even the clothes we wear and the medicines we take can be bought without the legal blessings of a franchise. Cars? Well, for that you obviously need a “skilled professional,” who advertises low, low prices with eight lines of gotchas and loop-holed legalese.

Not all dealers are bad. In fact, I try to be one of the good guys. 100% Positive Ebay feedback. A long, long list of happy customers. To me, the work of a “dealer” enables me to live out the life of a George Bailey in a small town where seemingly every other street corner has a title pawn or a finance company designed to keep people in Pottersville.

I know plenty of good guys in my business as well. But these folks aren’t the ones who lobby for the laws that are designed to remove you from your rightful decision. Independent dealers are to franchise dealers what David is to Goliath… without a slingshot or any form of big man backing.

We don’t have the luxury of exclusive market channels, overpriced plastic parts, or $1,300 service regimens that only truly require $200 worth of parts and labor.

Our world is simple. We buy cars. We fix cars. We sell cars. If we do a good job of it, we get to repeat this process thousands of times and build a successful business. If we don’t, the marketplace makes the decision for us.

The same should be true for a franchise dealer. The guys that work hard and put in the hours and sweat equity needed to make their businesses a success should enjoy every single ounce of it. But it shouldn’t come at the expense of the consumer and the greater marketplace. Choice is not only essential to the evolution of a market; it is the one equalizer that allows those who are building the better product the opportunity to re-invest in their employees, their customer’s needs, and the products that make it all possible.

So what’s my advice? Six words with two links. Petition and email your local congressman.

Yes, really. It’s boring compared with other forms of protest, and direct access to congressional ears for Mr. John Q. Public is a rare thing in a country with over 300 million voices. Let’s face facts, we’re the Samsons when it comes to lobbying influence and to have any effect in the year 2013, you need a slingshot in the form of keystrokes and a rock in the form of mass protest.

If you want to win a battle to change an unfair law, any unfair law, you have to show that you want to fight for it.

No one should be forced to pay more money for no reason. Contrary to my good friend Mr. Kreutzer, and that well-oiled lobbyist who visited us a few weeks back, I see no reason, zero reason, to kow-tow to a special interest group that is only interested in siphoning off your investment in an automobile.

It’s your money,and they already have enough of it.

The new car marketplace for now only has two big political players that want exclusive access to your savings whenever you shop for a new car. The well-connected franchise dealer on the state level, and the manufacturer on the federal level. Bogus fees, deceptive selling tactics, big legal loopholes, and big campaign contributions have yielded higher costs for you; not them. The franchise laws have created a conscripted mediocrity that is new car manufacturers cribbing each other’s notes, and passing plasticized overpriced products to a public that should have the right to alternatives.

You are getting screwed by those in power (surprise?) and the present manufacturers are as much a part of the problem as a few well-connected franchise dealers.

This game can be changed for good… but only if you help change the rules by clicking a few links and showing the special interests that the greater good is far more important than their golden rules. So go do it. Right now. Click here and here. Then save your money and buy used instead. I’m seeing lower prices at the wholesale auctions these days… and the big boys in this business don’t want to give you access to that buying channel either.

Steven Lang
Steven Lang

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  • DeWitt DeWitt on Oct 25, 2013

    I have been wholesaling going back to the early 90's. I have been at the same location in Cleveland TN since 2002. I buy cars out of ADESA in York, PA and Bel-Air auto auction. Every single car I purchase is on my license. Once they are unloaded and stocked-in here in Cleveland I sell them to BHPH stores in the Chattanooga area, or to cash customers. I do not do BHPH. Additionally, the Chattanooga area requires emissions and that is something I don't want to mess with. Up here in Bradley County we have no emissions required, and I can sell to the locals. My point is, I am a wholesaler and I am a licensed used car dealer. I see no other way that any legitimate wholesale operation can work without a license.

  • Ruggles Ruggles on Oct 28, 2013

    I can't speak for other states, but in AL it used to be you had to get a dealer business license from the state, about $15. Then you need a county license, $45. to $300. depending on the county. Before you start the process you have to get a bond, about $85. Dealer plates were $1 each. Then you get your Auction Access card to go to the dealer auctions. Along the way, you might need some cash or a floor line to pay for inventory. Is that typical in other southern states?

  • Picard234 I can just smell the clove cigarettes and the "oregano" from the interior. Absolutely no dice at any price.
  • Dartdude The Europeans don't understand the American market. That is why they are small players here. Chrysler Group is going to die pretty soon under their control. Europeans have a sense of superiority over Americans that is why the Mercedes merger didn't work out and almost killed Chrysler. Bringing European managers aren't going to help. Just like F1 they want our money. We need Elon Musk to buy out Chrysler, Dodge and Ram from Stellantis.
  • Michael S6 I would take the Mustang for the soundtrack. However, practically a BMW M340ix or M240ix would be my choice.
  • Michael S6 Took my car for oil change on Friday and dealership was working on paper. Recently one of the major health care system in our area was hacked and they had to use paper backup for three weeks. What a nightmare.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Once e-mail was adopted by my former employer, we were coached about malice software as early as the 90's. We called it "worms" back then.They were separating the computers that ran the power plants from the rest of the system in the early 00's. One plant supervisor loaded vacation pictures from a thumb drive on his work PC. His PC was immediately isolated and the supervisor in question was made an example of via a disciplinary notice. Word spread quickly!!Last I heard, they still had their own data center!! Cloud Computing, what's that?!?! 🚗🚗🚗