General Motors lobbies against Tesla in Ohio legislation

Article by Christian A., on March 25, 2014

General Motors has sent a letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich expressing opposition to legislation that may permit Tesla Motors Inc. sell its electric vehicles beyond its two Ohio stores since it would essentially allow the EV maker “to compete under a completely different set of rules.”Ohio is one of the states proposing to bar Tesla from setting factory dealerships in their territories.

Dealers claim that Tesla’s direct-sales model weakens conventional dealerships. “We understand discussions are ongoing over legislation which could provide a broad exemption for a single manufacturer, Tesla Motors Inc., to circumvent long-established legal precedent on how new motor vehicles are marketed, sold and serviced in your state,” wrote Selim Bingol, GM’s senior vice president of global communications and public policy.

This month, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, with members appointed by Gov. Chris Christie, voted to bar any form of direct auto sales in the state. State dealers and their respective associations have also voiced opposition against Tesla.

Joe Cannon, a lobbyist for the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association, said in a testimony before Ohio lawmakers that a decision favoring Tesla would open the door for all carmakers to follow a similar path, the Associated Press reported. “This decision has serious implications for both our dealers and consumers,” Cannon told the Senate Finance Committee. “From an industry perspective, our members have made substantial investments in their businesses, employees and communities across the state." [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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