Tesla Cries Foul In Michigan

Tesla Motors has issued another blog post decrying the latest politicized skirmish between state government officials and auto dealer associations, this time in Michigan.

Its post outlines what Tesla terms “dark-of-night tactics” used by dealers concerned that their arguments could not face the light of day.

“This amendment goes even further,” writes Tesla of a last minute wording change to otherwise general legislation now on the governor’s desk. “It also seeks to prevent Tesla from operating a gallery in Michigan that simply provides information without conducting sales. We could even be barred from telling people about our car.”

The bill is HB5606, which the post says was at first only a single amendment to existing law to prevent dealers from adding fees to vehicle prices, and this was for all brands, but somehow it became an exclusion against Tesla.

“Not content with enshrining their ability to charge consumers dubious fees, on the last day of the legislative session, the dealers managed to make a last-minute change to the bill in an attempt to cement their broader retail monopoly,” writes Tesla. “Using a procedure that prevented legislators and the public at large from knowing what was happening or allowing debate, Senator Joe Hune added new language in an attempt to lock Tesla out of the State.

Allegations by Tesla include cronyism catering to state auto dealer lobby which has given campaign contributions to Senator Joe Hune and favoritism by him given that his wife’s firm lobbies for the car dealers too.

“This anti-competitive behavior mirrors similar tactics in New Jersey and Missouri, where dealers have resorted to backroom political maneuvers to shore up their monopolies,” writes Tesla.

Tesla is asking its supporters to weigh in and ask the governor to veto the legislation. He meanwhile is reportedly in a tight spot in this home state to the Detroit Two automakers between conflicting desires of his constituencies.

Tesla says it wants him to “return the issue to the legislature for a full and open debate in 2015.”

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