Michigan bill banning Tesla direct sales now ready for signing

Article by Christian A., on October 22, 2014

Tesla is one signature away from having it direct sales operations barred in Michigan, and it rallying its suppliers in the state to oppose the bill already sitting on the desk of Gov. Rick Snyder. A number of local suppliers, including Inteva Products, have sent letters to Snyder asking the governor not to sign the House Bill 5606, which when signed would mean Tesla would not be able to sell directly to customers in Michigan.

A spokesman for Snyder remarked that the governor has to decide by Tuesday whether to sign the measure. Karen Manardo, global marketing and communications director for Inteva Products, remarked that the company’s letter to the governor expresses its opposition to any legislation that prevents Tesla from direct sales.

She remarked that if Tesla is unable to grow in Michigan, it would affect Inteva, which is why it is opposing the bill. Tesla has around 56 suppliers based in Michigan and is set to procure this year around $170 million in parts and services from them, Alexis Georgeson, communications manager for Tesla, told Crain’s Detroit Business.

Michigan is the most populous state that doesn’t have any Tesla store or gallery, according to the carmaker’s Web site. House Bill 5606 was originally a single amendment to existing law crafted to make sure that car dealers in the state can place additional fees on to the purchase price for all vehicles sold in Michigan.

According to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Aric Nesbitt, the measure was passed in the House in mid-September and had nothing to do with Tesla. But anti-Tesla language was added on the bill when it was sent to the state Senate on Oct. 1.

The Senate unanimously passed the amended bill on Oct. 2 and was sent back to the House, which then approved it by huge vote. The amended bill has gained support from the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association and the National Automobile Dealers Association.

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