There goes another rubber tree plant. Remember the unassailable car dealer lobby and its unassailable grip on public policy? Tesla is pushing it back, inch by inch. Not with outspending or outmaneuvering, but with a quiet tsunami of public support. The recent folly in New Jersey, in which US Pres. Chris Christie* attempted a sucker-punch but only punched himself in the gut, has made it amply clear that the public considers Tesla cool but car dealers — and any politician too cozy with them — uncool. So now we see a new attitude in Ohio, Texas, and New York. Rather than banning Tesla, lawmakers are showing dealers “the hand” and giving Tesla a voice. It looks like new reality in the US will be factory-direct sales for Tesla, middlemen for the rest of the auto kingdom. Unless, of course, other automakers decide that the dealer community is wrong about its indispensability and start to follow Tesla’s lead. So goes the snowball nightmare among car dealerships. It won’t happen, simply because no automaker has the gonads to start a round of civil wars.
*Hopes to be, that is.