Tesla Motors sees Michigan as a potential market for its electric vehicles, and this is the reason it is lobbying hard in Lansing to secure the rights to sell and service its EVs there. The company has been making sincere efforts to win over legislators, dealers and automakers for the past several months, says a report from The Detroit News.
Tesla lobbying hard in Michigan
Tesla has offered a number of test drives to lawmakers and other state officials to educate them about its cars.
In a recent telephone interview with The Detroit News, Tesla’s vice president of regulatory affairs, Jim Chen, said, “There doesn’t seem to be much interest from not only the dealers, but manufacturers like GM that want to continue to shut us out of the market entirely.”
As of now, there is no bill in the works that will give Tesla permission to sell its EVS in Michigan, but the company is still trying its best to secure the rights. The EV firm is making continuous efforts to sway legislators, including Gov. Rick Snyder and others, to allow it permission next year, said Tesla’s government relations manager, Will Nicholas.
“We have the majority of next year to lobby, discuss and debate the merits of what we think is a co-existence of our business model in the state of Michigan,” Nicholas said.
Snyder quiet on support for direct sales model
A bill signed by Snyder was released last year restricting and stopping the automaker from selling its vehicles directly to customers in Michigan. The legislation had the backing of the state’s new car dealership lobby, and it closed a loophole that Tesla made use of in other states to operate its company-owned retail stores.
Under the previous state law, an automaker was not allowed to sell new vehicles directly to retail customers, but it could do so through its franchised dealers. The word “its” was removed in the revised law, and this, according to Tesla, was a last-minute addition to the legislation.
On being asked by The Detroit News if he will offer support to Tesla’s direct sales model in Michigan, Snyder said, “I think that’s something that has to go through the legislative process first, and I will look at it as it goes through that process.”