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Tesla dealerships aim to play Michigan at its own game

Elon Musk's car business applies for a dealership license, knowing that if it can't beat 'em, it'll join 'em.
Daniel Cooper, @danielwcooper
February 2, 2016
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You can't buy a Tesla in Michigan because, like in many states, local laws prohibit manufacturers selling to their customers directly. To do so would cut out dealerships, which just happen to have bankrolled plenty of local politicians into protecting their interests. Tesla, however, isn't going to sulk off into the night, and has decided to play Michigan's vested interests at their own game by applying for a dealership license. According to the Wall Street Journal, the firm delivered the paperwork in November and is expecting to hear the decision by the start of March.

Tesla, you see, wants to operate its own retail business in the same way that Apple and Samsung do, which seems reasonable enough. Unfortunately, the automotive sales world has been developing logic-defying rules to protect their interests for the better part of a century. Put simply, direct sales is considered a threat by these wealthy third-party dealership networks which want to protect their business model. If you'd like to read more about this in far, far greater detail, you should check out our primer on the subject. In the meantime, we'll watch the latest development in the Tesla saga with a bag of popcorn on standby.

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