Tesla Fights Georgia Dealers Over Direct Sales Model

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

Tesla’s ongoing battle to directly sell its wares to the public has come to Georgia, where the automaker is asking for a dismissal of a petition by the state’s dealer association seeking to ban Tesla from conducting such sales.

Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the petition, filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue by the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association in late August of 2014, demands Tesla sell its Model S and other models through a franchise network, the automaker’s alleged violation of the Georgia Motor Vehicles Franchise Practices Act serving as the foundation for said petition. Tesla, of course, said that wasn’t the case:

GADA’s arguments rely on a wholesale misapplication of the FPA. The FPA only regulates conduct between franchisors and their affiliated franchisees, and does not apply to Tesla, which has no franchisees.

GADA also asserts that Tesla cannot directly sell to the public because of another cited statute — one that allows direct sales only if a given vehicle is “manufactured or assembled in accordance with custom-design specifications of the customer” — proclaiming Tesla offers no such thing to its customers. Representative Derrick Dickey stated that his employer is eager for Tesla to follow the letter of the law, “just like every other automobile manufacturer that sells new vehicles in Georgia.

The case is expected to be heard in court early next month. Until then, Tesla will continue to sell directly to the public under an exemption for ZEV models, which currently limits a given automaker to just 150 per year.

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.

More by Cameron Aubernon

Join the conversation
  • Lie2me Lie2me on Nov 17, 2014

    How many hours can a Tesla sit in Atlanta traffic with the A/C running full blast? Doesn't matter, it's different and expensive so Atlanta wants

    • See 10 previous
    • 95_SC 95_SC on Nov 18, 2014

      @JPWhite But what if I am from Fukushima prefecture or Pripiyat,Ukraine?

  • Petezeiss Petezeiss on Nov 17, 2014

    Teslas are passe. I want a Mirai.

    • See 3 previous
    • Mcs Mcs on Nov 17, 2014

      With those 10,000 psi hydrogen tanks, Toyota at some point might be able to take credit for having the first flying car that doesn't require wings or a propeller. I know, we shouldn't worry since Toyota was able to fire a 50 caliber bullet at the tank without a problem and -- Toyota has never had a recall right.. Valves and connections won't fail - after all it's only 10,000 psi. Can't wait to see the Kenworth crush test. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2014/08/20140829-tmc.html

  • Energetik9 Energetik9 on Nov 17, 2014

    Of course, buyers can just go to Florida, NC or TN and buy Tesla's there. These dealer associations remind me unions.

    • See 1 previous
    • JPWhite JPWhite on Nov 17, 2014

      Indeed. They are legalized cartels.

  • Ect Ect on Nov 17, 2014

    Thanks in part to a playing field tilted by compliant legislators, it seems that auto dealerships are very profitable businesses, and dealers will go to great lengths to keep the OEMs out of it. The fact that GADA is willing to spend heavily to keep a fringe player like Tesla out of their market is very telling. Bad for consumers, though.