Virginia car dealers are calling on regulators to investigate Tesla Motors for alleged violations of state laws.
The accusations come via a 10-page letter sent by the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association (VADA) to the Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Board on May 31. In the letter is a call for an investigation into Tesla’s practices at its licensed dealership location in Tysons Corner, and its unlicensed gallery at a nearby shopping mall.
VADA CEO Don Hall said there’s been “reckless lawbreaking” by Tesla. Evidence of the alleged violations emerged in a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing on Tesla’s bid for a second dealership license in the state, Hall said. The dealers association had filed a lawsuit against Tesla and the DMV in March to keep the second dealership from being approved.
Other alleged violations brought up by VADA in its letter included: running an unlicensed sales operation, including test drives, at the mall location; processing fee violations; failing to disclose online systems filing fees, taxes, and governmental fees; and improper advertising.
A Tesla spokeswoman criticized the dealers association’s actions. Tesla will continue to fight for its right to sell its cars directly to consumers, the company said.
“The franchised dealer lobby in Virginia is taking every possible step, whether through lawsuits, PR campaigns or outright harassment, to try to prevent Virginians from being able to buy cars from Tesla,” Tesla spokeswoman Khobi Brooklyn wrote in an email. “Each of these actions is legally wrongful and threatens to move Virginia backwards. Virginians who would like to be able to buy a car from Tesla should have the right to do so. Tesla will continue to fight for that.”
Tesla remains vigilant on pushing forward to sell directly sell its electric vehicles to consumers throughout the county. In late May, neighboring state North Carolina turned down Tesla’s request for a second dealership license. Tesla has been operating a retail store in Raleigh, N.C. The company had hoped to open a second dealership store at its existing gallery and service center in Matthews, N.C., a suburb of Charlotte.
The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles ruled that Tesla did not meet the requirements to become exempt from state law prohibiting manufacturers from owning dealerships. Tesla would need to work through a third-party dealership group, North Carolina’s DMV said.