Tesla Motors yesterday notched a victory to open a store in Richmond, Va,, the state’s capitol city.
Reversing his 2012 ruling that denied a Tesla dealer license, Richard Holcomb, commissioner of Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles, cited overwhelming public support, as well as unique sales and service requirements as reasons to approve a dealer license.
Virginia law, like most states, prohibits auto makers from operating dealerships in the state, but the Virginia DMV commissioner can rule that because there is no independent dealer in the area, Tesla is allowed to run its own store.
“After careful review of the entire record, I find that there is no dealer independent of Tesla in the community or trade area of Richmond, Virginia, to own and operate a Tesla franchise in a manner consistent with the public interest,” Holcomb wrote in a nine-page decision.
Holcomb’s ruling in 2012 was appealed by Tesla, and ended up entering into an agreement with the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association that allowed it to obtain a license to open a gallery, Automotive News reported.
“This decision will allow Richmond-area consumers to learn about and purchase their Tesla vehicles in closer proximity to their homes. We intend to swiftly begin construction.” Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president of business development at Tesla, said in a statement.
The decision isn’t a firm green light: the state’s Automotive Dealer Association could appeal in court and Tesla must still get a license from the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board, but indicators suggest Tesla will open the Richmond location soon.