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W. Virginia Bans Direct Tesla Sales, With Urging of Car-Dealer Senate President 197

Ars Technica reports that another state has buckled to the auto dealership lobby, though with an interesting twist: West Virginia became at least the fifth state to ban the direct-sales approach practiced by Tesla Motors following Friday's signature by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. ... The bill was championed by West Virginia's Senate president, who is an auto dealer in his home state and Kentucky. ... The legislation says a vehicle maker may not “act in the capacity of a new motor vehicle dealer” or “operate a dealership, including, but not limited to, displaying a motor vehicle intended to facilitate the sale of new motor vehicles other than through franchised dealers, unless the display is part of an automobile trade show that more than two automobile manufacturers participate in.” ... The Palo Alto, California-based electric-vehicle company operates so-called "galleries" in Texas, Arizona, and Maryland because the company's sales practices are barred there, too. Customers can see Tesla cars in these galleries, but they may not order vehicles, discuss prices or take test drives."
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W. Virginia Bans Direct Tesla Sales, With Urging of Car-Dealer Senate President

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  • Jury Nullification? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Teppy ( 105859 ) on Saturday April 04, 2015 @05:43PM (#49406469) Homepage
    Clearly "what the people want" isn't working here. So why don't they simply sell the cars direct there anyway and disregard the law? Although I could not find a poll for Virginia, a Texas poll [bizjournals.com] showed 85% of people in favor of allowing direct-to-consumer sales of cars. It would seem near-impossible to get a unanimous verdict to convict, as is required in Virginia. [state.va.us]
    • Although I could not find a poll for Virginia, a Texas poll [bizjournals.com] showed 85% of people in favor of allowing direct-to-consumer sales of cars.

      That poll is likely bogus. A majority of voters in Texas elected politicians who oppose such sales.

      • That poll is likely bogus. A majority of voters in Texas elected politicians who oppose such sales.

        There are many cases where Congress does things against the desire of the majority. I'm sure Texas is no different in that regard.

      • by MikeV ( 7307 )

        Although I could not find a poll for Virginia, a Texas poll [bizjournals.com] showed 85% of people in favor of allowing direct-to-consumer sales of cars.

        That poll is likely bogus. A majority of voters in Texas elected politicians who oppose such sales.

        A majority of voters in Texas either did not vote because of the political rubbish that makes up the state of politics in Texas and the USA, or did not vote because there wasn't anyone of quality to vote for, or if they voted, they voted for the best of the worst since nowadays there simply is no good politician to vote for. You will find scant few that voted for the person they whole-heartedly wanted in office because they believed in everything they stood for. And you'll find even less that voted them in

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        That poll is likely bogus. A majority of voters in Texas elected politicians who oppose such sales.

        I'm going to guess that the poll is legit, if you want to see an example of how something can be correct and still get politicians that only cater to a select few, well there ya go.

      • That poll is likely bogus. A majority of voters in Texas elected politicians who oppose such sales.

        Or maybe those voters made their choices based on other issues, and car dealership regulations were not their top priority. People rarely vote for a politician that they agree with 100% on every issue.

      • Although I could not find a poll for Virginia, a Texas poll [bizjournals.com] showed 85% of people in favor of allowing direct-to-consumer sales of cars.

        That poll is likely bogus. A majority of voters in Texas elected politicians who oppose such sales.

        Umm, the problem is, they elected people they thought were small government, low tax free market politicians.

        Turns out they ain't hardly nothin like that. They hate the free market, and if banning a legal product to keep it away from the taxpayers who elected them ,well, they really, really, love big government.

        Except in Oklahoma where they are finding out what actually happens when you go down the road they prach.

        • Right, but there's been plenty of evidence that these "small government" politicians are anything but, so it's entirely the fault of these idiot voters for believing their lies.

      • If you poll the people of Texas, that isn't any good unless the poll is limited to ONLY people who vote, in which case, me and this guy, Fred, in Amarillo lied and stuff.

      • So you're saying that it's impossible that something this obscure wasn't a prominent part of the politicians campaign and of course all the voters had already considered such unlikely minutia, as well as that having the few choices of candidates wouldn't include rich bastards that can be bought off....

        So what planet are you from? On this one it happens all the time.
      • I get the idea that people don't elect politicians because they will stand for what you want. People elect politicians because they are less against what you want than the other guy. You're basically voting for the least worst person.

    • by Ecuador ( 740021 )

      Assuming a jury that is against the ban (which is not that certain anyway), the jury traditionally gets specific instructions from the judge. The judge will of course explain them it is not a matter of what they believe, only a matter of whether they think the defendant violated the law. There is little chance a jury would "revolt". A federal law is needed to stop this ridiculous protectionism. Car salesmen do not add value, they only add cost and woe.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That way people can at least drive the car.

    There are specialized car rental agencies that deal with Ferraris and other high-end cars.

    • by Andy_R ( 114137 )

      Rent it for $100 for an hour, or $69,900 for 100,000 years.

      Or, sell dealerships for $69,900 with a demonstrator car included.

      • Or, sell dealerships for $69,900 with a demonstrator car included.

        You have to apply to become a car dealer.

      • Rent it for $100 for an hour, or $69,900 for 100,000 years.

        Or, sell dealerships for $69,900 with a demonstrator car included.

        Actually, I wonder why Musk hasn't created an entirely separately privately owned dealerships in state start don't allow direct sales. He then buys as form tesla and sells them in any manner he wants.

        • From the summary he could create another two car companies that would offer a completely crap car from a ridiculous price (or just re-brand Tesla cars if he was being serious) and then he could open his showrooms to sell cars for both companies as "auto trade shows".

  • Obviously trying to enforce such an idiotic law will cause law suits going all the way to the Supreme Court and Tesla will win. I'm dead certain that W. Va. is so loaded with wealth that a waste of millions of dollars means nothing to them at all. Tesla should be allowed punitive damages for this outrage.
  • If I were Tesla Motors (owned it, whatever) I'd park a new Tesla across the street from every new car dealership with large signs saying things like "This Is The Car $DEALERBRAND Doesn't Want You To See Or Drive!".

    I'd take a page out of the Saul Alinsky playbook and bus-in protesters to march in front of every dealership every day, plus full-page ads in every paper..

    Use a buggy-whip as a symbol for the car makers/dealers to frame them as outmoded and obsolete in the public's eye.

    Strat

    • I'm not sure if I saw a buggy whip, I'd know what it was.

    • Just create two other "car companies" that sell re-branded Tesla cars and have the three of them open up a permanent auto trade show in which they would be allowed to sell directly.

      • Just create two other "car companies" that sell re-branded Tesla cars and have the three of them open up a permanent auto trade show in which they would be allowed to sell directly.

        Why bother creating other companies? Just create a trade show for electric-only cars. If Nissan and Fiat (is there anyone else selling 100% electric cars?) don't show up, it's still a trade show. Tesla doesn't compete with the Nissan or Fiat electric cars, yet.

        • Just create two other "car companies" that sell re-branded Tesla cars and have the three of them open up a permanent auto trade show in which they would be allowed to sell directly.

          Why bother creating other companies? Just create a trade show for electric-only cars. If Nissan and Fiat (is there anyone else selling 100% electric cars?) don't show up, it's still a trade show. Tesla doesn't compete with the Nissan or Fiat electric cars, yet.

          Think outside the box!

          Why not use the IRFA that's been so much in the news lately?

          Being able to legally purchase any product directly from the maker if said maker is willing and offers to sell is part of your religious beliefs and practices as a member of the Teslaticular Church of Gedouddamahface.

          Strat

  • Without Telsa, who will compete with West Virginia's single BMW dealership!?! I guess anyone interested in the $70k luxury sedan range will have to drive the extra 56 miles to Ashland, KY if they want the full range of options. I sure hope they can afford the gas...

  • i can't belive it. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Saturday April 04, 2015 @07:59PM (#49407199)

    In a state where coal is king, you ban the direct sale of electric cars.

  • Journalism. :( (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Orgasmatron ( 8103 ) on Saturday April 04, 2015 @08:36PM (#49407335)

    What does it mean when a politician does something bad (by the standards of the reporter) and no party is mentioned?

    That right! Earl Tomblin (D).

    • That right! Earl Tomblin (D).

      Just goes to show that personal enrichment is higher on the average policician's priorities than ideology for all parties.

    • Commentary. :( (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Who is the unnamed West Virginia Senate President and auto dealer in West Virginia and Kentucky?

      That's right! Bill Cole (R).

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      It means we don't give a flying fuck which flavour of corrupt cocksucker is in office.

      Why do you? You think putting (R) after someone's name makes them fucking perfection personified, the second coming of Jesus and above all critique?

      Just fucking get over it.

    • The bill was championed by senate president Bill Cole (R).. duchebaggery is generally bipartisan.
  • How does this kind of law can block Tesla from creating 100% privately owned subsidiary company to offload what they are not allowed to do as a car builder?
  • How is that states can pass laws that relate to in-state sales of cars to consumers, but apparently laws that relate to in-state sales of drugs to consumers are pre-empted by federal law?
    • How is that states can pass laws that relate to in-state sales of cars to consumers, but apparently laws that relate to in-state sales of drugs to consumers are pre-empted by federal law?

      Because there is no federal law explicitly granting the right of direct sale of cars to consumers. Also, because you're talking about permission rather than prohibition; the sale of marijuana in Colorado and Washington is legal under state law, and so will not incur prosecution by the state. It's still illegal under federal law, and can still be prosecuted in federal court under the theory of concurrent jurisdiction. The states' laws are not "pre-empted" by federal law; rather, federal law creates an ent

  • I just finished my taxes. Going over the available deductions, I was (darkly) amused at how clearly organized interest groups get their pet deductions put in the federal and state tax codes.

    "Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find." -- James Carville.

    The same statement is applicable to federal, state and local legislatures.

  • Don't brand your cars as Tesla.

    Give each model it's own brand name, produced by a separate company. You'll be able to have auto shows all over the country.

    Or say a big fuck you to protectionist lobby groups and their anti-free market laws and move your company to Europe.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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