A few months back, a big crew of academics wrote an open letter in support of Tesla’s battle with American states. Then the Federal Trade Commission chimed in, siding with Tesla. So did the Consumer Federation of America and the Center of Auto Safety. Now another open letter has hit the web, again with many cosigners from the consumer protection side. So far, NOBODY has sided with the dealers — except other dealers. And some politicians who play ball with them, sometimes literally. Dealers and politicians are often hometown chums.
Given the total lack of support from consumer groups, it would seem dealer groups will eventually concede defeat, as dealer coach Jim Ziegler has already done. Will Tesla’s victory inspire other automakers to go direct, as Ford and GM attempted in 1999? Well, the incumbent automakers have existing franchisees to deal with, so franchise protection laws have a lot more teeth. Tesla was born without franchisees, rendering such laws irrelevant. That’s the crux of the various open letters in Tesla’s support. Here’s some convenient linkage:
Ziegler on Tesla
Consumer groups side with Tesla
When Ford, GM Tried To Ditch Dealers
NADA Pro-Dealer Video
Connecticut dealers’ smear campaign
White House Responds to Petition