Tesla’s Mohegan Sun deal in Connecticut aggravates auto dealerships: “Evading the law”

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For the longest time, Tesla customers in Connecticut could only acquire their vehicles by going out of state. But with the EV maker’s recent deal with the Mohegan Tribe to build a showroom at the Mohegan Sun, an entertainment destination, Tesla customers in Connecticut would soon be able to test drive, purchase, and take delivery of their vehicles in the state. 

The deal was a huge victory for Tesla, considering that the EV maker has met numerous challenges in Connecticut in the past. Tesla has attempted to launch several initiatives to support its customers in the state over the years, but the company’s efforts have consistently met opposition from organizations like the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association (CARA). 

As noted in a report from WTNH, state law in Connecticut requires vehicle makers to sell their products through dealerships. Newer carmakers like Tesla, however, adopt a direct sales model, which means that they do not sell their vehicles through franchised dealers. This has resulted in companies like Tesla facing opposition when they try to set up shop in Connecticut. 

Tesla was able to get around these challenges by building its showroom on the Mohegan Tribe’s land. Kevin Lowry, the assistant general manager at Mohegan Sun, was optimistic about the deal. “I’m extremely excited. You know Tesla’s brand is one-of-a-kind. While we align with many Connecticut laws and regulations by operating on sovereign land, we don’t necessarily have to abide by every law and regulation,” Lowry said. 

Gov. Ned Lamont generally seemed supportive of the deal. “I think it’s within Mohegan Sun’s right to do it. They are a sovereign nation,” he said. 

Quite unsurprisingly, the deal has not been received warmly by Connecticut’s dealerships. In a comment, Bradley Hoffman, the co-chairman of Hoffman Auto Group, explained that the group does not really have an issue with the Mohegan Sun. Its issues lie with Tesla, as the EV maker is “evading” the law

“Our issue is with Tesla, and them frankly evading the law that is in Connecticut right now,” Hoffman said. 

The executive noted that the Hoffman Auto Group does not believe dealerships in the state will be affected as they already sell over 65 types of electric cars in Connecticut, but he is concerned about consumers not having any dealership support. “Also, that is a check-and-balance with the manufacturers themselves,” Hoffman said. 

The upcoming Tesla showroom will be situated opposite Todd English’s Tuscany restaurant. Vehicle deliveries will take place at the Sky Tower valet, which is located nearby. Visitors will also be able to test drive popular Tesla models around the resort.

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Tesla’s Mohegan Sun deal in Connecticut aggravates auto dealerships: “Evading the law”
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