Tesla General Counsel Testifying At January 19 FTC Hearing On Dealership Franchise Laws

Black TeslaThe Federal Trade Commission will be holding a series of panel discussions on the auto industry on January 19th, with a discussion on the topic of auto-dealer franchise laws being one of the topics.

Tesla Motors’ general counsel Todd Maron will reportedly be amongst the 6 panelists, as well as the vice president of government affairs at Elio Motors, Joel Sheltrown. Clearly, this presents a possible opportunity for change to be set into motion.

The discussion on franchise laws will deal with the question of whether or not “restrictions on direct distribution in this industry” are truly in the best interests of the public (their purported reason for being).

Green Car Reports provides more:

The balance of the panel will represent non-manufacturer entities, including representatives from the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, the American Automobile Association, and the National Automobile Dealers Association.

The FTC took an interest in the franchise-law question after legislators quietly passed a direct-sales ban in Michigan last year. In a letter to those legislators, it called the ban “protectionism” for dealers, and said it is “likely harming both competition and consumers.” Interestingly, a proposed exemption for three-wheeled “autocycles” was introduced in April, seemingly helping Elio while continuing to snub Tesla.

Those that would like to submit comments on the matter can do so online, or via the postal service — the address for those using the postal service being: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite CC-5610 (Annex B), Washington, D.C. 20580. Submissions are to expected to be labeled “Auto Distribution Workshop, Project No. P131202.”

The panel discussion is set to occur at 2:15 pm Eastern Time on January 19th. A live webcast will reportedly be available on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.

Image by Cynthia Shahan

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