Newest battle in Tesla selling direct takes place in Indiana

Black Tesla Model S P85 in LDS Church parking lot in Utah

Tesla’s industry-disrupting model of selling their vehicles direct to consumers has been an obvious thorn in the side of the NADA, dealerships, and various other industries that are still clinging to the antiquated franchise setup that every other automaker must adhere to (CarMax skates around this by branding themselves as a retail store).

The latest battle as escalated beyond the aforementioned groups, and now Tesla is battling directly with the automakers themselves. In particular, the largest automaker in America, General Motors, is attempting to throw a blocker at the upstart electric vehicle company, in conjunction with the state of Indiana.

More specifically, State Representative Kevin Mahan (R-IN) has introduced a bill stating that any vehicle manufacturer must sell their vehicles through franchised dealers after their dealer license expires (after 30 months). The bill has been infamously dubbed the “Kill Tesla” bill, because the language specifically targets companies like Tesla (the biggest player in the electric vehicle game).

The bill is the result of GM lobbying to have this created in the first place. Although they had input, the Detroit-based automaker maintains that they did not directly author the bill itself. Nevertheless, Tesla feels that the automaker feels threatened by them selling direct, and that the General is looking to influence any course of action that would force them to conform to the franchise model.

Although a committee in the House voted to send the bill to “summer study”, presumably to be able to review it more in-depth, a committee over in the Senate has already amended the bill. It’s scheduled to vote on the amendment this Thursday.

Separately, Tesla was able to acquire the domain name tesla.com from Stu Grossman. The engineer/Nikola Tesla fan has had the domain name since 1992.

The acquisition may have been in part of a larger strategy by Elon Musk to effectively re-brand itself as an energy company, similar in scope to what Steve Jobs did back in 2007. For those that may not be familiar, Jobs dropped the word “Computer” from Apple on the same day that it launched the iPhone. Now the iPhone accounts for 63% of its total revenue, far outpacing the revenue generated from their computer lines.

The potential re-branding would highlight other products under the Tesla umbrella, including energy storage and lithium-ion battery production, which is slated to be ramped up at their Gigafactory production facility in Nevada.


Photo Credit: Tesla Motors

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