In the latest twist in the Tesla Motors vs car dealerships saga, the US’s Federal Trade Commission recently came out pretty strongly in support of Tesla’s direct sales model — even going so far as to tell policymakers in Michigan that they should across-the-board allow manufacturers to sell direct to consumers.
Putting it rather bluntly, in a recent post on the FTC web page, it was stated: “A fundamental principle of competition is that consumers — not regulation — should determine what they buy and how they buy it. Consumers may benefit from the ability to buy cars directly from manufacturers — whether they are shopping for luxury cars or economy vehicles. The same competition principles should apply in either case.”
I’m guessing that you’d have a hard time finding many consumers interested in arguing with that — considering how car dealers have by and large treated consumers over the last few decades, I can’t imagine that there is much if any sympathy for them. (Digging your own grave… as the expression goes.)
Speaking on the topic of Tesla’s push to be allowed to sell its vehicles direct in Michigan, the recent post stated:
Opening the door by a crack is a step in the right direction, and we urge policymakers in Michigan to take this small step. But beyond company-specific fixes lies a much larger issue: who should decide how consumers shop for products they want to buy? Protecting dealers from abuses by manufacturers does not justify a blanket prohibition like that in the current Michigan law, which extends to all vehicle manufacturers, even those like Tesla and Elio who have no interest in entering into a franchise agreement with any dealer.
Absent some legitimate public purpose, consumers would be better served if the choice of distribution method were left to motor vehicle manufacturers and the consumers to whom they sell their products.
Speaking apolitically, and simply as a consumer here, I would love it if I never had to deal with car dealership, ever, and could simply order what I want directly from the manufacturer.
Image Credit: Tesla Motors