Tesla is reaching out to supporters to push against Senate Bill 512 in Oklahoma, a piece of legislation that would prohibit direct sales and close both service centers and showrooms in the state. Additionally, Tesla said in its letter that SB 512 would prohibit Tesla from offering Over-the-Air software updates to vehicles.
“Last month, we informed you about HB 3994, a detrimental bill proposed in the Oklahoma State Legislature. With your help, we were successful in stopping HB 3994, but unfortunately, most of that same language has been amended onto another bill,” Tesla said. “Senate Bill 512 is new legislation that passed out of committee last week and will now go before the full House of Representatives for a vote.”
In late February, Tesla pushed for supporters to contact local representatives in hopes of stopping HB 3994 in its tracks. It made its way to the House of Representatives after making its way through the House Business and Commerce Committee in early March, thanks to a unanimous 11-0 vote. However, it did not move past the House and was successfully stopped.
Unfortunately, Senate Bill 512 includes much of the same language as HB 3994 and is currently “being considered by members of the House of Representatives,” Tesla said on its engage platform. “SB 512 is new legislation that passed out of committee and will now be voted on by the full House of Representatives. If passed, this bill could force Tesla to close its existing locations in Oklahoma AND prevent Tesla from offering over-the-air software updates to your vehicle. Oklahoma should focus on increasing revenue and jobs in the state, not stifling competition and limiting consumer choice.”
Direct sales are still a touchy subject within some states as dealerships and other entities push against the buying format. A Connecticut Tesla Service Center permit was recently revoked after Hoffman Auto Group, a company with a string of local dealership locations, argued that Tesla was attempting to loophole its way through laws prohibiting automakers from selling directly to customers.
“The Hoffman family of 10 auto dealerships, along with more than 250 other dealers statewide, remain committed to defending this state’s pro-consumer franchise system, which fosters healthy competition on a level playing field and will continue to resist global manufacturers from illegally entering our state in a way that would deprive local consumers of many of the protections they currently enjoy,” the company said in a statement after the permit was revoked.
An issue not exclusive to Tesla, many electric car companies, including Rivian and Lucid Group, have adopted a direct-to-consumer sales strategy. It takes the guessing game out of car buying, an activity that many believe is among the most stressful tasks in adult life. Offering the same car at the same price to all consumers and removing required and dedicated salespeople can lower prices and avoid stressful dealership tactics like market value adjustments.
Tesla is requesting people contact U.S. Reps at this link. Let your Representatives know you oppose Senate Bill 512.
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