White House Declines To Help Tesla Beat State Laws, Sell Cars Direct

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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Despite a petition with more than 130,000 signatures the White House has chosen to stay out of the fight between states, dealers and Tesla Motors over its direct sales model.

The petition asked the government to step in and over state laws requiring auto manufacturers to sell cars to consumers through dealers in certain states, as opposed to directly or online like Tesla — something the White House will not be doing, according to President Obama’s assistant for energy and climate change, Dan Utech.

“We believe in the goal of improving consumer choice for American families, including more vehicles that provide savings at the pump for consumers,” Utech said according to The Hill. “However, we understand that pre-empting current state laws on direct-to-consumer auto sales would require an act of Congress.”

Although he acknowledged Congress’ authority in the matter, Utech did not directly call on the legislative body to intervene in the fight, which has spawned multiple lawsuits across several states that have explicitly banned Tesla. (RELATED: Pro-Tesla Bill In Pennsylvania Angers Fellow Automobile Manufacturers)

“As these initiatives show, the administration is in favor of fostering competition in the market to help spur the kinds of innovation needed to support ongoing U.S. leadership in vehicle manufacturing and a potential range of new technologies,” the advisor wrote.

Auto dealers gave accused Tesla of trying to cut them out of the market, and allege they provide a valuable service as a third party to mediate consumer concerns like recalls and warranties with manufacturers.

Tesla, its supporters and officials in certain states assert the company’s model stands to foster competition and innovation, which is long-overdue in providing consumers with expanded market options and breaking up long-standing franchised monopolies. Tesla also offers all of its customers a lifetime of free upgrades and support. (RELATED: Texas Gov. Rick Perry Wants Tesla In Texas)

“States should not be allowed to prevent Tesla Motors from selling cars directly to customers,” the petition, which was launched last June, states. “The state legislators are trying to unfairly protect automobile dealers in their states from competition.”

“Tesla is providing competition, which is good for consumers.”

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