Old-School Car Dealers Whining That Tesla Dealerships are Illegal

Tesla dealers try to provide an Apple Store-like experience.

 Old School Car Dealers Whining That Tesla Dealerships are Illegal

Elon Musk (Photo: Mark Lennihan/AP)

Elon Musk‘s aerospace venture is off to a good start with the recent launch of SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship, but his Tesla stores selling expensive electric Model S sedans are running into problems with fossil-fueled competitors.

Several state associations of auto dealers are invoking older laws protecting conventional methods of selling cars by claiming the way Tesla sells cars is unfair to other dealers and possibly even illegal. Here’s one example out of several cited by Automotive News:

In Illinois, the Secretary of State’s office told Tesla officials in a meeting on Sept. 28 that the EV manufacturer is breaking Illinois law by listing company founder and CEO Musk as the owner of its suburban Chicago store. Tesla officials said they would correct the problem and asked for 30 days to respond, said Jay Mesi, deputy director of the Secretary of State’s Department of Administrative Hearings.

Tesla has said in every case it’s working to comply with existing laws. The company also insists that it isn’t trying to change the way the auto industry works, simply providing a special, product-focused customer experience.

The complaining dealerships should also probably remember that if their conflicts with Tesla’s methods can’t be resolved, Mr. Musk did just oversee the launch of a fiery Dragon into space.