Our friends at Engadget, tech-obsessed sister site of Autoblog, have taken an in-depth look at the reason why it's so difficult for Tesla to sell its cars directly to consumers, the same way that Apple, for instance, can sell you an iPad at an Apple Store. As you're probably aware, the whole sordid affair can be traced back to dealer franchise laws, which vary dramatically state to state, all with the stated goal of protecting your local neighborhood car dealers from unfair competition.
What sort of unfair competition, you ask? And from whom? Well, that's the heart of the matter, and it seemingly makes very little sense to the average consumer. Engadget puts it pretty bluntly:
It's not really about Tesla, or electric cars. It's about money. It's an argument against competition that may or may not even manifest in reality.
It's also a complicated issue, and one that doesn't have a simple solution. To wit, just as it seems unfair to keep Tesla from selling directly to consumers, it's also unfair, not to mention illegal, to shrug off and ignore rules and regulations that were concocted, debated and put into law as a protection to dealership owners, many of whom have been operating under said rules themselves for decades. Adding another wrinkle is the fact that nothing is preventing Tesla from using the established franchise-dealer model that every other automaker in the US also uses. Nothing, that is, other than Tesla itself.
Want to know more? We can't promise that you'll really understand all the behind-the-scenes minutia and political wrangling that's gotten us to where we are now, but you will, at the very least, have an understanding of the issues at play after reading the article here. And when you're done, feel free to come on back and let us know what you think in the Comments.