Last year Missouri car dealers attempted to halt sales of the Tesla Model S with a last-minute change to legislation.T hat rider was eventually dropped from the bill, allowing Tesla to continue with its direct sales strategy, but the Missouri Auto Dealers Association, or MADA hasn’t given up.
A lawsuit filed by MADA against the state of Missouri seeks to halt Tesla sales, saying the direct sales model creates a “non-level playing field”, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Lawsuit aside though, that doesn’t change the fact that the language of the law prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles in competition with existing franchise dealerships. But since Tesla has no established franchises dealerships, Missouri’s then-acting Department of Revenue chief explained that Tesla was operating within the law as it was written. That’s why MADA tried to get the law changed.
But when that didn’t pan out as hoped, it was only left with the litigation option, though the outcome isn’t likely to change. Despite being on the absolute opposite end of the political spectrum from Massachusetts, Missouri is likely to come to the same conclusion as the Commonwealth; Tesla isn’t breaking any laws, as the law is written.
Car dealers across the country have been scrambling to contain Tesla’s direct sales model, meeting with success in some die-hard conservative states (and getting them nominated for a Luddite Award in the process). There’s even been a national campaign to explain how car dealers manipulating sales process is somehow good for car buyers, even though just about everybody has a horror story about buying a car, new or otherwise. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so transparently loaded with lies about how manufacturers would attempt to screw customers if direct sales were the status quo. Yet when you ask buyers of the Tesla Model S how the purchasing experience was, they’ll gush about it for as long as you’ll listen.
This lawsuit against Tesla is the last desperate attempt by Missouri car dealers to prevent consumers from realizing, yes, there is a better way to sell cars. That way is the Tesla way.