By on May 13, 2020

Image: Tesla

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.

[Image: Tesla]

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3 Comments on “Closest Thing You’ll Find to a Tesla Dealership Lands in Michigan...”

  • avatar

    Watched Back to the Future tonight. Set in 1985. Went back to 1955. At the end of the movie Doc Brown was headed for 2015.

    Reality check: Back to the Future from 1985 was closer to 1955 than it is to 2020.

    Come with me to Twin Pines Mall. Notice the JCPenney store (where are they in 2020?). Notice the photographic film development booth in the mall parking lot. Check out Doc Brown’s 1984 GMC Value Van (not exactly a Denali, is it?).

    Now check out Statler Toyota of Hill Valley – the home of Marty’s 1985 Toyota SR5 Xtra Cab.

    Things change. Things change more slowly in the automotive world. And slower than that in the world of automotive dealerships. Why is that?

    • 0 avatar

      I remember watching the BTTF movie in the theatre, and when Marty went back to 1985 a few minutes early. The sign said “Lone Pine Mall” because Marty killed one of “old man Peabody’s” pines with his Delorean when he took off to avoid the old man’s shotgun. I said it out loud, and my friends didn’t believe me…no way to rewind a movie but the next time we watched it, my friends had to cash in on the bet I made…love that movie. probably my favorite entertainment movie; it was classic Spielberg

  • avatar

    Not a fan of the psychedelic pinwheel wheel design.

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