Tesla will possibly lose the ability to sell its vehicles directly to customers in the state of Missouri following a recent ruling by a local judge. The ruling states that the company will not be able to sell in the state outside of independent franchise dealerships.
The ruling claims that the earlier decision (in 2014) by the Missouri Revenue Department to give Tesla a franchise dealer license to operate its Kansas City storefront was in violation of laws stating that “a single entity may not manufacture vehicles for sale in Missouri and possess a Missouri new motor vehicle dealer license.”
The ruling was made by Cole County Judge Daniel Green.
Teslarati continues: “Because Tesla has already been granted a license from the past to sell within the state, the new ruling does not seek to revoke these, rather, it seeks action from the revenue department to discontinue the renewal of existing licenses and prevent new licenses to be issued to Tesla.”
A spokesperson for Tesla by the name of Will Nicholas noted that there would be an appeal: “Tesla will take all appropriate steps in the courts to ensure that Missouri consumers continue to have the right to choose how they purchase their vehicles.”
The ruling follows from an earlier lawsuit against the state department (in relation to Tesla’s operations) filed by the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association back in 2015, with the intent of disallowing direct sales. At the time the dealers association argued that “manufacturers do not sell cars themselves, but do so through a network of licensed dealers. This structure of separate roles for manufacturers and dealers is established by statute and reflects wise public policy.”
“Wise public policy,” huh? That sort of doublespeak is much of what gives people such a bad taste when it comes to car dealers. Who wants to have someone lie to their face and rip them off, while claiming that it’s for the general good. But if you want to buy a new car that’s often simply what you have to put up with, which is exactly why Tesla’s no-hassle approach is such a breath of fresh air — everything is more or less above board and clear.
If the ruling isn’t successfully appealed, then Missouri will likely join the ranks of Texas, Utah, Michigan, Arizona, West Virginia, and Connecticut with regard to the banning of direct sales.