We’re having flashbacks to a year ago, the last time three representatives of the Federal Trade Commission spoke out in favor of allowing Tesla to sell its electric cars directly to customers. Back then, the states in question were New Jersey and Missouri. New Jersey has since allowed sales while the battle continues in Missouri. With the debate now taking place in Michigan, the FTC think it’s time to speak up once again.
In a new blog post titled, Direct-to-consumer auto sales: It’s not just about Tesla, three FTC staff members explain why the overall fight between Tesla and the automotive dealers and their allies is an important issue for more than EV advocates. Marina Lao, Debbie Feinstein, and Francine Lafontaine write, “States should allow consumers to choose not only the cars they buy, but also how they buy them.” The three also wrote an 11-page letter to Michigan state Senator Darwin Booher (R-Evart) describing their feelings on the issue. A recent law in Michigan bans direct sales of automobiles, which is the only way Tesla sells cars. Despite that, 50 Tesla vehicles are registered in the state according to The Detroit News.
Discussing not only Tesla but also Elio Motors and the autocycles category, the three FTC staff members wrote that, ” FTC staff supports the movement to allow for direct sales to consumers-not only Tesla or Elio, but for any company that decides to use that business model to distribute its products. Blanket prohibitions on direct manufacturer sales to consumers are an anomaly within the larger economy.” How’s that for unequivocal?
Like last year, the views expressed in the post belong to the three writers and are not necessarily the opinion of the overall Commission. But the editorial shows that the mindset of the FTC remains in favor of direct sales, no matter where in the country politicians or auto dealers try to block them. You can read the full FTC post here.