Closest Thing You'll Find to a Tesla Dealership Lands in Michigan
Until January, any Michigan resident hoping to take home a Tesla had to first leave the state. That all changed following an agreement between the state and the automaker, which sued Michigan back in 2016 to protest its protectionist law against direct sales.
Now, the closest thing you’ll find to a true Tesla dealer has appeared outside Detroit.
As reported by Automotive News, a service center in Clarkston first greeted Tesla owners in March, though the attached gallery is new. There, customers can arrange test drives, seek out product and buying process info, and take delivery of a car in person — at least once Michigan relaxes its stay-at-home orders. The store still features “coming soon” signage.
As Tesla’s first standalone gallery and service center in the state (a Troy mall hosts the only other such gallery), the location can be seen as a shot across the bow of the Detroit Three automakers who, along with rivals also bearing a network of franchised dealers, enjoyed the state’s prohibitive law since 2014.
The result of the lawsuit was a compromise between Michigan and Tesla, with service centers allowed to exist only under the ownership of a subsidiary. In this case, Tesla Michigan. Customers can take delivery of their cars from said gallery/showroom, though Tesla can only legally hand over rides with out-of-state titles. Staff on hand at the gallery would then guide the customer through the process of transferring the title to their home state.
The agreement also means that servicing (the importance of which can’t be ignored when it comes to convenience and car ownership) can now take place within the state. Combining sales and service in one building, dealership-style, is a no-brainer, and the location in Clarkston will likely become the first of many. An ominous presence for rival automakers with headquarters just a few dozen miles away.
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