GM the first automaker to pout

baby cryingLast summer, General Motors sent forth a special envoy to study Tesla. Apparently it came back ashen, because GM has just become the first automaker to officially oppose Tesla’s no-dealer precedent. In a March 5 letter to Ohio pols, GM says Tesla is unfairly seeking a special set of rules. The letter mirrors the arguments from local dealer groups: Dealers create jobs and pump money into the local economy. (Apparently factory-owned stores could never do so). But the letter has a big omission. Nowhere does it echo dealer claims of advocating for the customer on safety issues and recalls. That would ring hollow, you see, given the fact that GM is about to fix 1.6 million ignition switches after letting a deadly defect fester for a decade. Dealer advocacy, if any, obviously fell on deaf ears. So will GM’s letter move the needle in Ohio? If not, perhaps GM will resort to name-calling instead. This is the same company that launched the Volt by calling the Prius a “geekmobile.” Surely GM could concoct an insult for the Model S. How about, “No ignition-mobile”?

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