Tesla Fan 'Incivility' Forces Indiana To Back Off Direct Sales Ban… For Now

from the lessons-never-learned dept

We recently noted how Indiana was just the latest state to try and pass auto industry-backed bills banning Tesla’s direct-to-consumer sales model. Under the latest GM-backed bill, Tesla’s dealer license would have expired in 2018, forcing the company to embrace the traditional franchise dealership model — or stop selling cars in the state entirely. Telsa had been reaching out for the last few weeks to Tesla fans in the state, quite-correctly highlighting how GM was buying protectionist law instead of competing.

Apparently the public attention worked, as the Indiana Senate Commerce and Technology Committee has tabled the bill for the time being, meaning Telsa can continue operating its showroom in the state — at least until the bill is reconsidered next year. Amusingly, one of the bill’s key supporters, Senator Jim Buck, says he received some “incivility” from Tesla fans because of his proposal:

Buck on Thursday opened the committee hearing by saying he has been on the receiving end of “incivility” from Tesla supporters this week, as the bill received national attention. Buck and the bill’s author, Rep. Kevin Mahan, R-Hartford City, agreed to put the issue before a study committee. ?That means the legislature won’t consider a ban on direct auto sales until at least next year. “We are trying to make what we are doing here fair to all,” Buck said.

Right, what Buck experienced wasn’t incivility (though I’m sure the e-mails weren’t particularly nice), it was the public telling Buck clearly to stop being a protectionist jackass willing to shovel forth horrible legislation at the behest of legacy industry lobbyists. While Buck’s at it, he may want to avoid adding insult to injury by trying to falsely equate protectionist cronyism with “fairness.” Telsa has made it pretty clear that GM’s bill is predominantly aimed at lessening the competitive threat faced by its upcoming electric car, the Chevy Volt:

“General Motors is trying to kick us out of the state for purely competitive reasons,” said Todd Maron, general counsel for Tesla. “Their Chevy Bolt will be competing against our mass-market car, so they have timed this bill specifically so once we start selling the Model 3 against their Bolt, we can no longer sell in the state.”

That this kind of nonsense persists in state after state says volumes of the integrity of the state legislative process, and the politicians that pay endless lip service to competition and innovation, yet do their best to hamper it if the price is right. Again, if you’re a politician looking to avoid public “incivility,” one easy way to accomplish this is to stop letting legacy industries write shitty state law.

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Companies: gm, tesla

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Comments on “Tesla Fan 'Incivility' Forces Indiana To Back Off Direct Sales Ban… For Now”

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JoeCool (profile) says:

The Importance of news sites like TD

When the light is turned on, the cockroaches scatter. Without the light from news sites like TechDirt, the cockroaches are free to scamper about and ruin your domicile. And what does it say about politics today that nearly everyone from the state level and up are so easily compared to cockroaches?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The Importance of news sites like TD

Lots of us pay plenty of attention. It’s cute that when people finally start to wake up they often say “people aren’t paying attention”. No, YOU aren’t paying attention. What exactly do you suggest we do about this? How should I personally “tug hard” on the choke chain when they step out of line when they’re not accountable to me, you, and rarely even the courts. The biggest criminals (see John Yoo) rewrite laws to suite their needs. WHAT DO I PERSONALLY DO ABOUT THIS? THERE IS NO CHOKE CHAIN TO PULL.

Anonymous Coward says:

Tesla should set a ‘dealership’ where they pay ONE guy to rubberstamp all sales.
Job done and finished.
If GM objects, saying most of the work was the customer ordering online, the state should immediately and permanently order the blocking of ALL online pages related to cars and dealships which would fuck GM royally.

teka (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There is a whole snakepit of laws in different states that make that difficult/impossible to implement. Tesla would run into everything from draconian franchise laws to regulators (who are beholden to the dealers) refusing to actually give them a license. IIRC Ford tried stepping into this fight in the nineties and was clobbered on a state and federal level.

Anonymous Coward says:

Gotta also remember GM sells the most dangerous cars ON EARTH.
Higher rate of engine explosions, unexplained fires, deaths due to GM ‘accidentally’ missing out vital safety features (that were listed at time of sale) then bribing police to drop investigations.

Also they have teams who ‘dig up dirt’ on the families of those Murdered by General Motors deliberate malfeasance and blackmail them into giving up legal cases.

Ryunosuke (profile) says:

As a hoosier

I am ashamed of my state leaders.

they engage in cronyism protectionist laws (such as this) and call it fair competition.

They tried to engage in laws to “preserve religious freedom” until the Mayor of Indy and Gencon, and a few others said, “No, we won’t follow this law” or “We will be re-evaluating our future business with the state” (which is not a small amount of business)

Anonymous Coward says:

it seems that every USA politician, in every town/city in every USA state cant wait to do something else to keep any form of fairness and competition from happening! there must be a hell of a lot of ‘incentives’ handed over every year to achieve this and there must have been a hell of a lot over the years considering there is basically no competition in anything and no new innovative ideas launched or even in the offing! ‘the land of opportunity’ seems to have been replaced by ‘the land of stagnation’!!

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