While Tesla has been fighting against direct-vehicle sales bans in a number of states, the California electric vehicle company doesn't ask for help every time it finds itself in a skirmish. Last year, it did send out some ravens calling for assistance in Ohio. It has done so again to deal with a fast-moving situation in Michigan.
A new bill, House Bill 5606, would not allow a vehicle manufacturer to "directly or indirectly own, operate, or control a new motor vehicle dealer." It would also prevent Tesla from opening one of its we're-not-selling-cars-here 'galleries' in the Mitten State. Local news station WSJM talked to State Representative Aric Nesbitt (who introduced the bill) and he maintains that the bill is not "anti-Tesla at all." It just clarifies other laws, he said, adding that "if Tesla wants to have a real debate on current structure and state statute, I look forward to sitting down and meet[ing] with them, but them spreading lies about my bill, that's not a constructive use of their time."
Lies, eh? Tesla did call the legislation "harmful to consumers" and described the way it says the bill came about in somewhat conspiratorial terms:
A number of Michigan auto dealers are big contributors to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who has yet to announce if he will sign the bill. He has until Tuesday to decide. You can read the full text of Tesla's call for help below.
On the last day of the legislative session, the dealers managed to make a last-minute change to the bill in an attempt to cement their broader retail monopoly. Using a procedure that prevented legislators and the public at large from knowing what was happening or allowing debate, Senator Joe Hune added new language in an attempt to lock Tesla out of the State. Unsurprisingly, Senator Hune counts the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association as one of his top financial contributors, and his wife's firm lobbies for the dealers.