Tesla fights back against Oklahoma politicians trying to shut down its stores

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Tesla is asking its fans for help fighting back against Oklahoma politicians trying to shut down its stores in the state.

Tesla has had to jump through hoops to operate in Oklahoma.

For years, the state legislature has been pushing laws to try to prevent Tesla from selling its vehicles to customers in the state.

In 2022, we reported on Tesla reaching out to its fans to try countering a new bill being considered in the state’s House Business and Commerce Committee.

The bill was so wide-reaching that Tesla feared it will go as far as preventing it from pushing software updates over-the-air to its current fleet.

Tesla had to compromise and operate its stores as “galleries” in the state. It’s a strategy that the automaker has implemented in states where they still have laws preventing direct sales of cars by automakers.

Galleries don’t process sales, customers have to go through Tesla’s website, but Tesla employees at those “stores/galleries” can talk to customers about Tesla’s product and do test drives.

Now, two republican state legislators are even trying to shut that down. House Representative Mike Dobrinski and Senator Roger Thompson have introduced new bills that Tesla believes could force them to close those galleries.

Tesla wrote in communications to local owners and fans:

Companion bills SB 2022 and HB 3104, detrimental bills that could jeopardize Tesla’s ability to continue to operate galleries in Oklahoma, are currently being considered by the State Legislature. If passed, these bills could put Tesla locations and Oklahoma jobs at risks. This proposal would ban educational and informational activities about Tesla and its products.

Yesterday, the senate voted 10 to 3 for bill.

Tesla is encouraging its fans to contact their legislators to vote down the bill in the house.

Electrek’s Take

I hate this uncompetitive thing so much. This is money in politics. You want to hear a good one? You will never believe what the author of the bill Mike Dobrinski used to do for a living. He and his family used to own car dealerships. Wild coincidence.

Car dealers are trying to abuse old laws put in place to protect them against their own car manufacturers to stifle fair competition.

Old laws were put in place to protect franchise dealerships against automakers trying to compete with the people who invested a lot of money into providing a sale and service workforce for them. It made a lot of sense.

But now, those same laws are being used to prevent Tesla and other new automakers who never had franchise dealerships from competing against dealers who sell vehicles from other automakers – it’s being used in an anti-competitive way.

Several states have changed those direct sale laws in order to avoid this misuse that gave a monopoly on car sales to third-party dealers, but there are still some misuses out there and efforts from dealers associations – which have a lot of power in state politics – to outlaw direct sales.

Don’t let them fool you.

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