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IOWA DMV pushed by dealerships to block Tesla test drives

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by evme, Sep 24, 2014.

  1. evme

    evme Member

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    #1 evme, Sep 24, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2014
    Tesla test drives hit roadblock in Iowa


    I was afraid of this, the car dealership associations/lobbies are learning. They know they can't win in court and legislation is hard to get through. So they are pushing for the only thing that worked so far which was in NJ. Bribing like DMV to curb Tesla.
     
  2. Electric700

    Electric700 Member

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    That is crazy. The article mentions September 9th as the date Tesla was setting up for test drives. So that must have been for an event to start and go over the weekend I think, probably beginning Friday the 12th. Did anyone on this forum actually go and find out that the third test drive day was canceled?

    We should contact the Iowa legislature and DMV about this.
     
  3. Liz G

    Liz G P03056

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    Perhaps a bunch of owners should go down to the Ohio Capital and offer test rides/drives out front.
     
  4. evme

    evme Member

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    Ohio? Iowa is a state and capital is Des Moines. Am I missing something?
     
  5. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

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    Four letters....lots of vowels....one of those lesser-48 states down there in the tropics....
     
  6. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Don't see where the "bribed" part comes in.

    This is nuts. First of all, the dealers all get the same discount from the manufacturer (unless shenanigans). So price competition is merely a race to the bottom. What the dealers should do is provide a better buying experience and complimentary product offerings. What they actually do is obfuscate the real price as much as they can, so you can't tell if you're negotiating a good deal or not. Frankly, I'd rather be able to compare the fixed prices of competing products and make my choice based on value, rather than not knowing what I'm actually going to pay.

    Secondly, speaking as an owner of a very tiny company that manufactures some stuff, I compete against companies making competitive products, not my own dealers.
     
  7. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    More great publicity for Tesla and dealers making themselves look bad. I don't understand why Tesla didn't just continue with the test drive event. Whatever fine may have ultimately been imposed, if the DOT prevailed in its interpretation of the law, would be a cheap price to pay for all the publicity Tesla would have gotten from being fined for allowing people to test drive their cars! And it would have been further exposure of the protectionist dealer model, making it more likely to be overturned one day.
     
  8. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    And the proof of any bribery is.......
     
  9. evme

    evme Member

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    Ok, maybe the title is a bit misleading.

    I still personally think that the dealership pulled some strings here because Tesla was not selling cars but just offering test drives and for DMV to respond so quickly is definitely suspect.

    But I guess the title should be changed because it sounds like I have proof an uncovered some bribing scheme going on which is probably misleading.

    I blame media influence. :rolleyes:
     
  10. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Okay, I have modified the thread title to say "pushed". That seems a lot closer to the intended meaning than what you originally wrote. Trust that is okay with you.
     
  11. GoBlue88

    GoBlue88 Member

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    Uh...what am I missing here? Tesla isn't insured? Tesla doesn't have physical service centers? Tesla routinely fails to deliver vehicle titles to the buyer? :confused:

     
  12. flashflood

    flashflood Member

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    When you cut out the middleman, don't expect him to go down without a fight.
     
  13. robatbeach

    robatbeach Member

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    "buying a car would be like buying a laptop at the Apple store — there would be one non-negotiable price."

    There's a nice argument. When will Iowa start banning macs and iPads?
     
  14. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    They are saying that part of dealer licensing requires specific insurance/bonds and service locations to affords consumer protection. Tesla may have service locations but would not be required to have one; Tesla will not necessarily have the insurance matching the requirements of dealer licensing.

    But the key question here is just what constitutes acting as a dealer. Tesla says the test drives do not mean they are acting as a dealer, IDOT is saying that it does. (Texas clearly considers test drives part of acting as a dealer so Tesla has to get a separate demonstration permit to allow test drives.) You'd have to look at the statutes and rules.
     
  15. crmatson

    crmatson Member

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    I live in Iowa and have a Model X reservation # 6,665. I was scheduled to test drive the Model S on 9/11/14. Early that morning, I received this email:

    Thank you for your support of Tesla Motors. At this time, I regret to inform you we need to cancel your test drive appointment scheduled for today.

    At the request of the Iowa Department of Transportation late last night, we have been asked to cancel the demonstration event and the display of the Model S within the state of Iowa.

    We would be happy to coordinate another drive with you in our nearest store locations: Minneapolis, Chicago, St Louis or any other Tesla Store location of your choice outside of the state of Iowa: http://www.teslamotors.com/findus

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.

    Our best,

    Ashley & Hunter

    I contacted the Iowa DOT about the situation and received this response:
    Chris,

    Thank you for your inquiry to obtain the facts behind the cancellation of the Tesla event being held in West Des Moines. Our office was notified of this event on Tuesday afternoon and we visited the staff involved with the event on Wednesday. From our interaction with these staff and review of the activities taking place we determined this event was in direct violation of the Iowa dealer licensing and consumer protection laws. Iowa law requires anyone engaged in the business of selling, displaying, or offering motor vehicles for the purpose of retail sale to be licensed. This licensing is intended to protect consumers from being harmed by actions caused by a dealer and protects the integrity of the motor vehicle sales business in Iowa. For most people, a motor vehicle is the second most expensive thing they own and can be an important tool to function effectively in society. You should also be aware that the activities being conducted by Tesla this week could not legally be conducted by Iowa licensed new car dealers.

    As a Department, we are not opposed to the innovative manufacturing and marketing of Tesla products, it just needs to be in compliance with Iowa law. In order for these type of activities to be legally conducted in Iowa, it would require action by state legislatures to change existing laws. I do appreciate your request to obtain accurate information from the source of your concern and if I didn’t answer all of your questions, please feel free to contact me.

    Paul J. Steier, Director
    Bureau of Investigation & Identity Protection
    6310 Southeast Convenience Blvd.
    Ankeny, IA 50021
    [email protected]
    Office: 515-237-3260
    Fax: 515-817-6618
    http://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/Investigative_Bureau/default.htm


    In addition to writing a letter to the editor in response to the Des Moines Register article, I am planning on drafting a letter to send to state legislators as well.
     
  16. Genebe

    Genebe Member

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    What if they opened a car rental business, and part of the $1 rental agreement was that you had to take a member of their staff along for the duration of your 30 minute rental?

    "Anderson said if carmakers owned dealerships, buying a car would be like buying a laptop at the Apple store — there would be one non-negotiable price."

    I'd rather make my decision to buy based on the knowledge that I was getting the lowest price available, not that I'd have to run around and negotiate a dozen different deals or wait for their sales or promotions.

    Also, does Iowa law require Apple to service their products at their stores? I'm betting that I'd have to send it back to one of their service centers (and they wouldn't even bring me out a loaner).

    These dealer associations should be more correctly renamed "Automobile Dealers Racketeering & Lobbying Association"
     
  17. evme

    evme Member

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    From a local paper:


    Iowa curbs Tesla test drives


    The senator has fallen into the autodealer lobby corporate message of "two sets of rules" nonsense. Some people will have to provide him an appetite to change it.

    I do love that he admits that he needs lobbyists to tell him what to do instead of making decisions which serve the people.
     
  18. flashflood

    flashflood Member

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    OK, fine. How about we have zero sets of rules, since there is absolutely no reason for government to specify how to buy a car.
     
  19. yobigd20

    yobigd20 Well-Known Member

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    Why doesn't Tesla just change the venue to something like "educating consumers about electric vehicles" and invite other EVs to come too. Then they can talk all they want about it and let people test drive the cars to "educate them" on how they are different than ICE cars. That way it's "not for the purpose of resale" and they can circumvent those antiquated laws.
     
  20. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    Or point out that there's already two sets of rules. One for how cars are sold and one for how everything else is sold. We should reduce that to one set of rules...
     

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