Tesla is asking for help in a new fight against dealerships as the automaker is pushing for Virginia House Bill 2468 to be passed through a House Transportation Sub Committee early next week.
Virginia House Bill 2468 would eliminate the need for manufacturers who have already gone through administrative hearings in Virginia for new sales locations to open subsequent locations without requiring additional hearings. Tesla called it a “common sense solution” that would save companies and the state time and money.
The language for Virginia HB2468 reads:
“Dealership operation by manufacturer; determination of no independent dealer to operate the franchise. Authorizes a previous determination by the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles that there was no independent dealer available in the community or trade area to own and operate the franchise in a manner consistent with the public interest to be sufficient grounds for a manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or subsidiary thereof to own, operate, or control a subsequent franchise location in the Commonwealth.”
Tesla is encouraging owners and fans to reach out to the House Transportation Committee members to encourage them to support the bill, which Del. Rodney Willett of Henrico County introduced. Del. David Reid of Loudon County is also a sponsor of the bill.
“This bill is critically important for Tesla to be able to open new stores to meet public demand without going through a costly, time-consuming administrative hearing process that it has already gone through multiple times,” the company said in an email to owners.
Of course, Tesla is facing opposition from the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, which is “actively working to kill it,” the company said. Tesla has already gone through the administrative process of opening several showrooms in Virginia, all of which have found Tesla to be an adequate owner and operator of its own dealerships.
Tesla and other EV makers have faced pushback in several regions in the United States, as large dealership networks have consistently felt the effects of direct-to-consumer opposition.
Various state governments have dealt with what legacy automotive dealers call the “pro-consumer franchise system,” which requires cars to be sold through independent dealerships and not directly to customers.
It has affected not only showrooms but also service centers.
In Connecticut, Tesla had permits pulled from a future service center location after a lawsuit from a dealership group in Hartford said the company’s intent to fix vehicles was a smokescreen for the EV maker’s true intent — to sell vehicles directly to consumers, which would be a violation of state laws. At the time of the suit, Tesla had already operated two other service center locations in the state.
In Virginia, the House Transportation Committee will hear HB2468 next Tuesday, January 31, and 8 a.m. Tesla is encouraging you to call or email the members and encourage them to support the bill.