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Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by dalalsid, Mar 10, 2016.
Virginia auto dealer group sues Tesla to stop second store in state - Yahoo Finance
I think this was the original article in the local Richmond paper that broke the story. Not too much more detail.
Great publicity for Tesla, bad for the auto dealer cartel. You can't get much more anti-competitive than filing suit to block Tesla from opening a store.
Its quite interesting to see that they went that route. I would have thought that they could control the DMV process, but apparently they cannot.
Yep now more people will know more about Tesla. With the Model 3 reservations around the corner, this is bad timing.
It should be noted that Tesla only bought land. There is no evidence they would actually open a store before the 2017 time frame mentioned in the article.
There's one detail in that article I find troubling:
(Emphasis mine.) Is that accurate? Is the settlement a matter of public record? I can't find anything in basic Google searches, other than news articles (from then and now) which, as noted, don't go into much detail.
The settlement is not public and there appears to be some dispute about what it says. In the first case, Tesla's application was denied by the DMV, Tesla sued and it was settled out of court with Tesla opening the Fairfax store. This time, the dealers sued before DMV could rule on the second dealership.
The motor vehicles dealers board listed tesla as a franchised dealer owned by Elon with no 2017 sunset date, best I can determine.
I live in Virginia and have grown to be completely disgusted with the dealership attitude towards Tesla -- it is a legalized cartel. It should be reported for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, like violations or Clayton Antitrust Act violations.
Good news is if they get nailed the plaintiff gets Treble damages (3 X normal Civil Award)
This is definitely motivating me to order two model III's. Do they realize that this is America and Soviet style cooperatives don't own a market? WTF?
Thanks for pulling on that string. Like all state governments, VA has an 'open records' law. You ask for a public record, you get it (sometimes with a small fee). So since this document was also agreed to by the VA DMV, that makes it a public record.
Interestingly enough, both Tesla and the dealership assoc. agreed to keep the document confidential. But once the DMV signed it, it's available to anyone who asks. There is no restriction on me posting it, document is attached to this post.
Please check out #9 when you read it. My reading of this says the dealership lobby has no standing regarding if Tesla can open more stores or not. The agreement is to allow them to open one -- but nothing in the agreement NOTHING has anything to do with any future facility Tesla may choose to open.
Also, GM's insistence that Tesla has only 30 months to operate? That set off my bs detector. And guess what? NOT TRUE. GM is playing fast and loose with the facts here. (Shocker, I know.)
Please retweet (or compose new tweet) if you have a twitter account.
Bonnie Norman on Twitter:
Thanks for posting that, Bonnie. I was half expecting someone to just reply "file a FOIA request" (or the VA equivalent), but you clearly took it to the next level.
The article seems to be referencing #4 in the agreement, which specifies a 30-month time frame. I'm not a lawyer and the wording isn't 100% clear to me, but it looks like it's saying if someone files something stating they're willing and able to serve as an independent dealer for Tesla, then Tesla must stop operating its own location. But then it also says Tesla is allowed to oppose the filing, which to me means they can operate as long as they want, until they agree to work with an independent dealer. But that whole section can only affect the Tyco Road location; I agree it has nothing to do with opening a second location in Richmond. The whole "in the dark of the night" arguments quoted in the Reuters article is completely absurd.
One small point: nothing in the VA news I've seen so far mentions GM. I know they've been behind a lot of the shenanigans in other states, and I wouldn't rule out their involvement here, but so far they don't seem to be openly involved. Do you have evidence of their direct involvement? (And note I'm NOT by any means defending GM here.)
You're welcome .
I agree on the 30 month. Right now opponents are making it sound like Tesla must switch to an independent dealer at 30 months, but that is not true. There is some very selective reading going on (coupled with clear lack of reading comprehension ).
And yes, the rest of it is absurd. The settlement agreement only applies to the Tyson Corner store - and clearly states it does not apply to anything else. It would be laughable, except for the fact they're bringing suit against the DMV - which means taxpayer dollars will be spent dealing with this. And I find that ethically wrong. I think VA taxpayers will, also.
As for GM involvement ... they did have a copy of this VA settlement in hand during the Indiana kerfuffle (love that word) & were shopping it around, trying to convince Indiana legislators that the language 'in their VA bill' should be used in Indiana. So while I can't say that's great evidence, they were certainly taking some responsibility for it when they were trying to use it to persuade other legislators (and obviously hoping no one would read it carefully).
Unless GM also filed an open records request for this, their shopping it around in Indiana means someone in VADA violated the confidentiality agreement. Bonnie, would you be interested in following up your open records request with a request to see if there were any previous open records requests for this document?
My understanding is that GM filed an open records request also.
The 3 year "agreement" is really just a restating of the actual Virginia law in question which reads as follows:
This just says that if Virginia grants a manufacturer their own dealership, after three years anyone can request a hearing to determine if there is a suitable dealership that would take over the franchise. It is the same hurdle that Tesla had to pass in order to get the dealership in the first place. It pretty much comes down to what is "consistent with the public interest."
Thanks for providing the PDF, Bonnie. Very interesting.
I'm no attorney, but this section (3a) of the document seems to be where the VADA is justifying it's position. To my legally untrained eye I also read this as a restriction limiting Tesla to one location, although it seems in direct conflict to section 9 (which you quoted). Very confusing.
It says this particular agreement applies to the one store at Tyson's Corner and nothing else. Only. When you read #9, it clarifies the agreement does not apply to any future property. The doc calls out the boundaries 'this store only (#4), nothing to do with the future (#9)'.
Thanks for the additional clarification.
Paragraph # 9 should allow Tesla to open up another dealership and prevent VADA from winning in my opinion, even though paragraph # 3 limited to "only one" dealership. VADA is being anti-competitive and desperate. Nothing good is coming from their lawsuit, except for challenging a technicality in an agreement.