Tesla, an electric vehicle company based in Palo Alto, California, has been trying to expand its presence across the United States. It has established stores in over 20 states but has been experiencing difficulty expanding into Wisconsin.
As it’s currently written, the law in Wisconsin does not allow automakers from operating and/or controlling a dealership. That means that dealerships have to be independently owned and operated.
Tesla is known for its innovative products, and now its unique business methods are coming into the spotlight. Instead of allowing individuals or groups to buy a franchise, it prefers to retain control over its stores.
Since driving a Tesla is drastically different than driving a traditional vehicle, the top brass at Tesla wants to make sure that the company has direct contact with its potential customers. When people stop by a Tesla store, they’re greeted by Tesla employees armed with well-researched information about electric cars and how they work.
Tesla claims that if dealers were to sell their vehicles, customers wouldn’t be given the same experience. The time it takes to truly understand their vehicles and to teach others is often prohibitive when a dealer has a bottom line to meet and other vehicles that are primed and ready to be driven off the lot.
Some Republican lawmakers have joined forces on behalf of Tesla to sponsor a bill that would exempt Tesla from the current law. They feel that their state should be welcoming in such a successful company in the spirit of a free market. Tesla officials took their arguments to the state legislature on Tuesday, and debates are expected to continue.
Opponents, including the Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealers Association, feel that the amendment to the law would create unfair trade practices and harm independently owned dealerships that have already been established.