Tesla’s direct sales-and-service model works beautifully in some states, while in others it’s still definitely a work in progress.
Don’t blame Tesla for this one; the reason why is rooted in dealership-franchise laws—specifically, in Michigan’s case, a 2014 law that closed remaining loopholes that might have allowed Tesla’s direct-sales model.
While the automaker currently has a gallery in Troy, Michigan, customers have to take delivery out of state. It also introduced logistical issues on the service side; especially to deal with the volume of Model 3 sedans in the state, Tesla had to open an additional service facility “across the border,” in Toledo, Ohio.
The settlement between Tesla and the state of Michigan, as part of the case Tesla Inc v. Benson, was released Wednesday.
It clarifies: “Under Michigan law, employees of Tesla or the Tesla Service Subsidiary are permitted to inspect, prepare, and, if necessary, repair such vehicles in the state of Michigan before they are delivered to the Michigan resident.”
Tesla isn’t prohibited from delivering vehicles in the state, but the settlement still doesn’t allow Tesla to directly sell. It confirms, however, that galleries, test drives, trade-ins, and everything short of title transfer is allowed.
If that sounds like it’s still a workaround, it is. But with the service point clarified, look very soon for more service centers and less needless shuttling of cars hundreds of miles for service.