Ohio auto dealers will not let a legislative loss stop their fight against Tesla Motors. Earlier this month, the California-based electric vehicle company had to marshal its forces to stop a state law (Senate Bill 137) that would have banned Tesla stores in Ohio. The Ohio senate voted against the amendment, which set the stage for the dealers to try a new strategy: getting rid of Tesla's sales license through the courts.
The dealers, through their trade group, claim Tesla is violating Ohio law because the automaker didn't "provide a copy of its contract with the manufacturer of the vehicles to be sold," writes The Columbus Dispatch. Since the license was given in error, the logic goes, it should now be taken away. The dealers are suing Tesla, the Ohio Department of Public Safety and the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Tesla says it's all nonsense, and James Chen, Tesla's vice president of regulatory affairs and associate general counsel, told the Dispatch this is just a case of bullying. "The dealers, when they're defeated in the court of public opinion, in the media and in the legislature, they then go to the courts," he said.
Tesla says it's just another case of bullying.
Tesla owns its own network of stores and has long claimed that that pure electric vehicles can't be sold at traditional dealerships where there are also gas cars available. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said earlier this year that, "It's not possible to effectively sell a new technology like electric vehicles, for a dealer to do that, without undermining the story behind gasoline cars." We're still waiting on the result of a successful grassroots petition to the White House asking for national action on the issue, but we should be hearing a response from the Ohio court on the state license issue within a month.