Jackson: Michigan's Anti-Tesla Legislation "Unnecessary Protectionism"

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

Though the anti-Tesla legislation recently signed into Michigan law is only a clarification of a previous anti-direct sales law, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson finds the whole thing as “unnecessary protectionism.”

The Detroit News reports Jackson said the bill couldn’t protect Tesla, as the EV automaker had no franchises that needed protection, further proclaiming CEO Elon Musk could sell his cars as he saw fit:

If Elon Musk wants to make a mistake and go with an inefficient distribution system, that’s his right as an American. Let him do it. I’m not afraid… my phone will ring someday when he really wants to sell some cars.

On the other hand, Jackson — whose franchise network consists of over 220 stores nationwide and 500,000 units sold annually — took Tesla to task for lobbying against “government intervention… and protectionism,” as the automaker’s foundation was built upon state and federal incentives all around.

Other targets in his meeting with the Detroit Economic Club Thursday included fracking, the Obama administration, and the two-pronged recall parade led by General Motors and supplier Takata. Regarding the recalls, Jackson said more government intervention is needed to better handle current and future actions.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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8 of 21 comments
  • Volt 230 Volt 230 on Nov 07, 2014

    I always liked this guy, no-nonsense executive.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Nov 07, 2014

    Retailing isn't much different than production. Throughout history changes have been made to accommodate more efficient methods to maximise current technologies. The people who complain about competition are the uncompetitive. They now are the lowest common denominator in the bigger picture. They fear for their futures. I'm totally am against protectionist measures as they work against the consumer and progress. If a business makes a poor decision and will lose money. That's what business is all about. The strongest survive. This society we live in now propping up the ineffective and weak will be our downfall. The simple solution to this is allow freedom of business. A free market will find the best method for production, distribution and sale of products most competitively.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Nov 07, 2014

      Although I am not a fan of EVs, PEVs and Hybrids for myself, I would like to see more and better avenues for selling these vehicles to the buying public that actually wants them. I, too, believe in that the strongest will survive and the market will shake itself out. But I can also see where the dealer-establishment will fight this tooth and nail. Personally, I would like to see Elon Musk be empowered to sell directly to the public.

  • Jimbob457 Jimbob457 on Nov 08, 2014

    Whatever its merits or demerits, there is no point on spending political money to block Tesla. Fracking and the associated cheap oil have, for the time being, killed the electric car.

    • See 2 previous
    • Vulpine Vulpine on Nov 08, 2014

      @jimbob457 Five words: Not applicable in daily driving.

  • VoGo VoGo on Nov 08, 2014

    The price of oil may soon become irrelevant. Here's why: the price of oil, like any commodity, is bound by expectations of demand and supply. Right now, people expect low demand because the US is one of the few major firms in a solid recovery - economies in Europe and much of Asia are pretty flat. At the same time, fracking and Libyan oil, now online after the Arab Spring, are increasing supply. But there are other rules that describe pricing. We've all heard of Moore's law - that the capability of things like computer ships double every 18 months. What is exciting about energy today is that solar cells are now following Moore-s law, meaning that in a couple of years, solar will be the cheapest form of energy. That is great news for just about everyone regardless of their political stripe. Except coal plant owners. The question that is outstanding is whether people like Musk can get batteries to follow Moore's law. The jury is still out, but there are hopeful signs that all the R&D into batteries is starting to really pay off. Even Derek might agree that this would be a 'game changer.'