Legislation barring auto manufacturers from selling directly to customers appears headed for compromise after hours of testimony in a House committee.
Electric car manufacturer Tesla sells directly to customers, without using dealerships. Proposed legislation would ban that practice within the next three years, for any company. Proponents say it’s about ensuring consumer protection.
Tesla customers like Mitch Rolsky see it as something else.
“The only people advocating these changes are the manufacturers and dealers, who frankly, I personally believe, are trying to fight Tesla’s direct distribution approach as a way to slow down Tesla’s momentum,” Rolsky says.
But the auto dealership owners and employees say their issue isn’t with Tesla. Tom Kelly of the Kelly Automotive Group says their fear is China and other huge manufacturers.
“The law is written so poorly – I hate to say this but GM, Ford, Chrysler could all sell direct with a little ingenuity in their model,” Kelly says.
Bill author Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) says he’s working on changes to the bill that he hopes will make both sides happy.