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COLORADO -- activism to fix Colorado's franchise law

Discussion in 'Mountain/Southwest' started by evp, Aug 27, 2015.

  1. evp

    evp Nerd

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    My State Representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp holds monthly "meet the constituents" meetings. I told her at one of these that I'd be happy to give her a Tesla "demo ride". This morning, we followed thru on that when I gave her and her husband a brief ride including (naturally) a launch onto I-70. After I mentioned Tesla's current difficulties with Car Dealer Franchise laws in Colorado, we discussed strategies for fixing that problem.

    Tracy's husband is convinced that activism is valuable -- a collection of voters in the right place can often out-perform a wad of lobbyist cash in fixing bad laws. He suggests that having a gaggle of Tesla drivers show up at appropriate meetings, talking up the virtues of the car and offering the occasional "launch experience", could do a lot to educate legislators on the virtue of getting Tesla out from under the thumb of the car dealership lobby.

    Given that idea -- can I get a show of hands of owners who might be willing to show up at some meetings, hob-nob with legislators and their minions, show off their cars, and work towards rewriting this law? As Elon works toward the goal of 500,000 new Teslas per year, we need to see the density of Tesla showrooms and service centers rise to match that of the major brands. This cannot happen without getting the legislature aware of the problem and committed to repairing the law.
     
  2. Panoz

    Panoz Member

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    Great idea, you'll just have to publish when/where the meetings are...
     
  3. Ruby&Red

    Ruby&Red Member

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    I am interested in learning more about this, and would definitely be willing to attend a few meetings. I grew up in Colorado Springs and now live in Littleton. Please keep me posted.
     
  4. tvuolo

    tvuolo Member

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    Keep me in the loop. I would be interested in helping with any electric car initiatives in CO, not just Tesla specific.

    For instance, I'd love to see something like this enacted in CO: Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the “Anti-ICEing” legislation (HB-0198) on July 29, 2015 after it passed both houses of the legislature in May. Starting January 1, 2016 people who park non-electric vehicles in spots reserved for an electric vehicle charging station in Illinois will be subject to a minimum $75 fine and get their car towed.

    I also wouldn't mind free or reduced cost access to HOV lanes and toll roads.
     
  5. ozweepay

    ozweepay Member

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    Boulder, CO, USA
    Is there somewhere I can read about dealer franchise laws in Colorado and how they are affecting Tesla?

    I just googled this and found out that we are limited to one store in the state?! I didn't realize this and figured Park Meadows was our only store because of the youth of the company rather than because of legal impediments. Is this primarily the law you're trying to overcome?
     
  6. evp

    evp Nerd

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    Yes, this is the law that needs fixing: http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2010a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont/F1E54AE218AB9411872576A80026BCE8?Open&file=1049_01.pdf

    It was a set of changes to the auto dealership laws in 2010. The dealerships were just starting to see Tesla on the horizon, and they snuck in a one-word change to existing law, specifically striking out "franchised" (on page 6, line 24). The original intent of the law was to keep car manufacturers from undercutting the prices offered by their franchisees by selling directly to customers. By deleting "franchised" from the law, Tesla was prevented from adding any new stores in the state, even though they were not competing with any non-company-owned dealerships.

    The FTC has weighed in on this:
    Direct-to-consumer auto sales: It’s not just about Tesla | Federal Trade Commission

    There are some thoughtful articles about the situation:
    Auto Dealers' Fight Against Tesla Stores: Elon Musk Weighs In
    Is Tesla selling its cars illegally? | Fox News
    MONEY & THE LAW: Automaker struggles to remove middleman
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2014/03/22/free-markets-tesla-battles-car-dealers-over-right-to-sell-cars/
    Why do car dealers and Republicans want to eliminate Tesla's sales model? | Travis McKnight | Comment is free | The Guardian

    One argument the dealerships use (increasingly silly as Tesla prepares to build its 100,000th car) is: what if Tesla goes under? Who will service those vehicles? Dealerships are just here to protect the consumers!

    Well, I have a few things to say about that:

    1) GM very easily could have folded in 2008. How exactly would those existing dealers have stayed around to service the consumers after GM stopped supplying parts to them?

    2) The dealership economic model is the same as the razor blade model: sell them a cheap razor and make the money selling blades. Or: make a few bucks selling a car, then rake it in selling service on those cars. That's not gonna work on Teslas, we aren't coming in every three months for an oil change and a new set of brake pads. And Elon's service model is diametrically opposite - he considers it morally questionable to make money on service, it means you've failed in some way to build a reliable car. (Unless you get into a traffic accident. Maybe that's what autonomous mode is for.)

    3) Tesla has a monopoly on service, so (the argument goes) they don't have any market forces keeping costs low, and no independent garages to soak up capacity if Tesla's service centers can't handle the load. While this is true, it could be solved if other states adopted the Massachusetts "right to service" law that requires manufacturers to release service information for their vehicles. Service Manual? (as part of Lotus Cars NPI?) | Forums | Tesla Motors and also Tesla Releases Service Manuals and other info... | Forums | Tesla Motors
     
  7. Barry

    Barry Member

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    Dealerships are just here to protect the consumers!

    Whoever came up with that line should be in comedy.
     
  8. ozweepay

    ozweepay Member

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    The other argument I've seen (in addition to protecting consumers from failure of the company) is this: "Dealerships keep prices low by providing competition, thereby protecting the consumer."

    After all, you can't haggle with the Tesla salesrep very effectively, right? :)
     
  9. Armadillos

    Armadillos Member

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    Keep me in the loop on this as well. :)
     
  10. SherSlick

    SherSlick Member

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    I am happy to provide support for this cause as well.
     
  11. tvuolo

    tvuolo Member

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    I'm just bumping this thread to see if there's been any more talk on legislation. Are there any EV groups in and around Denver that might be working on initiatives?
     
  12. asudan

    asudan Member

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    I have a friend that works for the CO legislature. He is a fan of EV's and would probably help out if we had some kind of movement. I'm in AZ but travel to CO frequently and have family in Thornton. Perhaps a facebook page would be helpful?
     

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