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Virginia Hearing, 4/25 -- Represent!

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by bonnie, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    #1 bonnie, Apr 13, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
    All - Please share on social media accounts, including other EV forums you may belong to.

    Virginia EV owners & reservation holders - This is the followup meeting to the last hearing on 3/31 where the dealerships used up all the time. That's okay! Gives us more time. :) You can find the settlement agreement here on the forum.

    Please mark your calendar and plan on attending. Your presence, whether or not you stand to speak, makes a huge difference in keeping everyone accountable. Wear your Tesla gear. :) (Also note that the DMV is friendly towards Tesla/EVs, so be respectful at all times.)

    Monday, April 25th @ 9am ET
    Department of Motor Vehicles
    2300 West Broad Street
    Richmond, VA 23269

    It's impossible to predict how long this will last - if you can't be there the entire time, that's okay.

    Whether you can attend or not, letters and emails to the DMV Commissioner & Hearing officer are always helpful. If you do send a letter or email, I'd really appreciate a copy. I'll gather those together and make sure the right people have a full set of what was sent.

    Hearing Officer Daniel P. Small
    2912 Pennington Road
    Henrico, VA 23294
    [email protected]

    Mr. Richard D. Holcomb
    Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner
    P.O. Box 27412
    Richmond, VA 23269
    [email protected]
     
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  2. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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  3. LetsGoFast

    LetsGoFast Active Member

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    Alas, probably not so impossible to predict. The VADA attorney indicated he plans to call numerous dealers to all say that they are eager to run a potential Tesla franchise (he referred to them repeatedly in the original hearing) and he also intends to hire his own expert witness. I'd say it is an absolute lock to last beyond lunchtime and highly likely to take all day again.
     
  4. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I'd set up 'meeting bingo' cards ahead of time, where when key phrases are said, you can each mark your bingo cards. First one to get bingo (silently, of course) gets a free drink or something. :)s

    Some good candidates:
    Little League Team
    Part of community
    California company
    Local jobs
    Recall
    China​
     
  5. Only Trons

    Only Trons Member

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    OK.....I have been able to rearrange several appointments I had that day (including my third annual Model S service!!!!:)) So I will be there!

    Bonnie: you've seen the email I sent to the Governor and the DMV Commissioner. I did receive acknowledgement from DMV. (Also received a nice email from Mr. Maron of Tesla)

    Re: the advice on "wearing Tesla gear" to the hearing: Maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy, but I am accustomed to wearing business attire to meetings/hearings such as these. I am 100% confident no one wants to see me decked out in a Tesla bib short! :rolleyes: And Tesla doesn't offer dress shirts or ties for sale (which most people would probably say is a good thing). So I guess I can "compromise" and wear my Tesla short sleeve collared shirt (which doesn't appear to be offered anymore by Tesla).

    For those of us coming from the Northern Virginia area (e.g. Washington DC suburbs): is there a desire to either caravan or car pool to the meeting?
     
  6. Curt Renz

    Curt Renz Active Member

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    #6 Curt Renz, Apr 13, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
    The Little League teams are named after the dealerships whose names are sewn onto the jerseys. The expense would be better categorized as advertising rather than charity. The dealers are not only making themselves known to the parents, but also are hoping the players grow up to become customers. At a Texas legislative hearing a few years ago Elon said, "How much does the Little League want? I'll write a check."
     
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  7. Curt Renz

    Curt Renz Active Member

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    #7 Curt Renz, Apr 13, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
    Perhaps the dealers will line up around the entire state capitol building with thousand-dollar checks to reserve the right to become Tesla dealers. ;)

    However, they may not be aware that Elon has directed the Tesla service department not to create a net profit that adds to the bottom line. Such a philosophy would quickly put a franchised dealership out of business.

    Regarding recawls or warranty work, I brought my Cobalt into a Chevy dealer to have the famously defective $0.57 ignition switch quickly and simply replaced. The service writer told be they would bill General Motors $200. Tesla just has the cost of salaried employees who would have been in the shop anyway.

    One must wonder why only established dealerships would want to become Tesla dealers. Would it be to hide the Tesla cars in the basement? Of course a brand new dealer would be just as much a competitor to the "rent seekers" as a Tesla owned store: Strangling Innovation: Tesla vs. 'Rent Seekers'
     
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  8. LetsGoFast

    LetsGoFast Active Member

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    LMAO. Last hearing would have hit 5 of those 6!

    Business attire would be fine and you would not have looked out of place. I expected to be at work that day, so I had on a corporate logo golf shirt and slacks. Most of the Tesla crowd were dressed less formally, but the participants on both sides were in suits.

    It was an interesting aspect of the first presentation. They mentioned that they were operating service at a breakeven in their initial presentation, but when their expert did the cost breakdown he indicated a profit for service in his projections. The bulk of their profit was expected to come from used car sales, however. The dealer's argument appeared to be that they were willing to lose money as an investment in potential future profits and also included the rather ominous proffer that they were "very good at finding creative ways to generate revenue." I expect the primary focus of this next hearing to be about the economics of a Tesla dealership and for Tesla's attorneys to attempt to demonstrate that they really would not be willing to run a dealership subject to the conditions Tesla would impose.
     
  9. Wayneb

    Wayneb Member

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    I have a short list of owner e-mails to which I'll send a reminder for Monday. If the 10 who were there last time return along with Trons and friends we should have a crowd. I wonder if the dealers will ask the clients they show in their TV ads to come out. So far no non Tesla owner I've asked has been willing to come out to support the dealers. In fact I can't repeat in mixed company most of the responses I got beyond the laughs.
    I didn't wear Tesla logo wear last time but will this time. Unfortunately Tesla offers a narrow choice of nice shirts, so we'll all look like employees in our black polo shirts.
     
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  10. chickensevil

    chickensevil Active Member

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    As I said in the main thread, I am requesting off work to try and make this, since I have enough notice. Looks like I'll be leaving at 6AM to make it down there in time, lol! At least I'll have a reverse commute through NoVa so that should be nice.

    Is there anyone we should talk with if we were to make a statement or some such? I would be happy to state why I was extremely happy Tesla opened their location in Tyson's and why being company owned has been a joy rather than a chore to own a car. From the buying experience to the service experience.
     
  11. bhzmark

    bhzmark Active Member

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    Based on the settlement agreement that Bonnie posted in another threat and the key parts of the law below, this hearing appears to be about what is in the interests of the public.

    The key point at the hearing to focus on how there are no independent dealers who could sell and service Teslas "in a manner consistent with the public interest"

    That is two part issue:
    1) are there any dealers who could sell and service Teslas?
    2) if there are some who would dare to try, would they do so in a manner consistent with the public interest? (as opposed to say, their own dealer interests!)

    The relevant law is:

    " It shall be unlawful for any motor vehicle manufacturer . . . to own, operate, or control any motor vehicle dealership in the Commonwealth.However, this section shall not prohibit:
    . . .
    4. The ownership, operation, or control of a dealership by a manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or subsidiary thereof if the Commissioner determines, after a hearing at the request of any party, that there is no dealer independent of the manufacturer or distributor, factory branch or distributor branch, or subsidiary thereof available in the community or trade area to own and operate the franchise in a manner consistent with the public interest;" § 46.2-1572. Operation of dealership by manufacturer

    "It shall be unlawful for any motor vehicle manufacturer . . . to own, operate, or control, either directly or indirectly, any motor vehicle warranty or service facility located in the Commonwealth." § 46.2-1572.1. Ownership of service facilities

    So the point is, don't just go to the hearing and rant about how great Teslas are. Try to focus on giving testimony that the public interest requires a Tesla owned sales/service location and that inserting a dealer in the process will benefit no one except the dealer and will harm the Virginia customers.

    PS I think what lead up to this hearing was that to open the Tysons location Tesla asked for a hearing like this one that it now has. Tesla was denied a hearing and then Tesla appealed (since they are obviously entitled to a hearing under the statute!). To settle the lawsuit, they agreed with DMV that Tesla could open the Tysons location on the terms indicated in the settlement agreement. Those terms specifically mention that the settlement doesn't apply to any other sales/service locations. So Tesla is now availing itself of the (stupid) procedure under the statute to have a hearing to be able to open a mfr owned sales/service location. The statute says that if at a hearing the Commissioner of the DMV determines that there is no independent dealer who operate a franchise in a manner consistent with the public interest, then Tesla can open another location.

    Focus on that issue. I can't make the hearing, but this is my contribution to the effort.
     
  12. Hodginator

    Hodginator Member

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    Now that I have read the related documentation (Virginia Dealer Association suing Tesla to prevent new store openings) I have gone from being angry at the VADA for obstructing the free market to wondering how this entire thing wasn't just thrown out in the first place. I know these have been discussed, but I guess I want to vent a little and make sure I have my facts straight when I stare angrily at the VADA lawyers on Monday....

    VADA Statement 1 (A message from VADA about our lawsuit with Tesla - Virginia Automobile Dealers Association - Driving Virginia Since 1943):

    “VADA was flexible and agreed to terms in the settlement to permit Tesla to operate one dealership in Virginia for 30 months and that dealership would be in the Northern Virginia area,” said Donald L. Hall, President and CEO of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association.

    Wrong. In the settlement, the VADA clearly agreed to allow Tesla to operate one dealership in the specified counties. Nowhere did it say the entire State. In fact, it explicitly said in paragraph 9 that it would not impact their ability to seek authority for another dealership in Virginia.

    VADA Statement 2 (A message from VADA about our lawsuit with Tesla - Virginia Automobile Dealers Association - Driving Virginia Since 1943):

    After the expiration of the 30-month experimental period, Tesla agreed to seek a dealer for the dealership or show why a dealer was not available. The Northern Virginia Tesla dealership opened in February 2015.

    Wrong. There is nothing in the settlement that supports this. It says "At the conclusion of that 30-month period, Tesla may continue to own and operate said dealership unless a person or entity with standing to bring an action pursuant Va. Code 46.2-1572(4) brings such action and makes the requisite statutory showing..." This clearly states that someone else has to come to them with the case. I realize the VADA feels they are doing this now but their statement is a complete lie.

    On a side note: The settlement says that the 30-month period starts when Tesla receives its dealer's license from MVDB. Does anyone know when they received their license? It sounds to me like they may not have even reached the 30-month period which throws out pretty much all of the VADA complaint when referencing the ridiculous time frame.

    VADA Statement 3 (A message from VADA about our lawsuit with Tesla - Virginia Automobile Dealers Association - Driving Virginia Since 1943):

    “Tesla agreed to those terms but is not keeping its word. Less than half-way through the 30-month experimental period, we learned recently that Tesla filed a request for a second company-owned Virginia dealership, in Richmond. Tesla has shown that it can not be trusted to keep its word, even when terms are clearly spelled out in a signed agreement. We had no choice but to ask the Court to make Tesla keep its word,”

    Wrong. Tesla actually followed the settlement to the letter as referenced in statement 2. Where did the "experimental period" come from? Oh I know the VADA used that to add to the lie from statement 2. Who can't be trusted here???

    VADA Statement 4 (A message from VADA about our lawsuit with Tesla - Virginia Automobile Dealers Association - Driving Virginia Since 1943):

    “Tesla never approached VADA to discuss whether the agreement could be amended. Tesla made no attempt to go to the General Assembly and change the law. Instead, Tesla went to great lengths to keep its intentions under wraps.”

    First, why would they discuss an amendment with VADA if they didn't have to and were clearly following the settlement stipulations? Second, why would they change the law, when they clearly didn't have to in order to request another dealership? Third, if they were keeping their "intentions under wraps" why did they publicly request a second dealership? So I guess that's one lie and two sentences of misdirection for the VADA on this one.

    I absolutely cannot stand politics. I'm an engineer so playing games like this drives me nuts. I will include some of this (in a much more PC manner) in my letter to Mr. Holcomb as well as my personal experience buying a Chevy Volt and a Tesla Model S. I bet you can imagine which one was a better buying experience.

    I also hope we will be asked for our views on Monday. And, if the VADA is reading this, don't waste your time with filibustering. If this gets extended again, all it will do for you is add more Tesla owners to the hearings.

    Does anyone have a copy of the VADA’s current complaint or is the ridiculousness on their website all we have?
     
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  13. bhzmark

    bhzmark Active Member

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    #13 bhzmark, Apr 20, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
    The VADA lawsuit is different from the hearing next week. The lawuit is being covered in this thread: Virginia Dealer Association suing Tesla to prevent new store openings


    Ignore the VADA statement for the hearing -- except perhaps to show that dealers and their representatives are constitutionally unable to tell the truth.

    The issue for the hearing is help the Commissioner follow the current law and find that no ind dealer can franchise a Tesla sales and service location in public interest.

    Consider going to dealers and try to buy a Volt or a ELR or a Leaf and note how knowledgeable they are about EVs, note if they try to steer you to something else. note if they try to sell you free oil changes with your EV. Have some testimony like that to report to the hearing to show that it isn't the public interest for existing dealers to sell Teslas when they can't even sell their own EVs.
     
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  14. Wayneb

    Wayneb Member

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    If the public interest is being served by the current franchise dealer requirement, specifically management of recalls and warranty issues, what happened to used cars? Anyone can sell used cars. How can the public be protected in case of recalls or warranty issues if a franchise dealer is not involved in assuring the used car meets safety standards? Imagine if the VADA tried to get the used car business shut down.
     
  15. chickensevil

    chickensevil Active Member

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    I will make it to the hearing Monday. I got approved to take off work. So I will see you guys there. I would potentially be willing to make a statement if that is something that can be done. It wasn't clear if we would be able to provide public opinion on the matter?

    Don't you currently take your car to the nearest dealer in the event of any kind of warranty work or recall issue? Granted the dealer in the case is Tesla themselves... but I'm not sure how this arguments helps? I might be missing something here. Appreciate the clarification!
     
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  16. chickensevil

    chickensevil Active Member

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    By the way, sent an email to Will (Tesla Government Relations Manager) asking for clarification on how we can potentially help with this hearing, and if they would like any of us to give statements (if offered). I will pass along any response I receive on this!
     
  17. Hodginator

    Hodginator Member

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    Do we have a count of who will be there tomorrow morning? I will definitely be there with my Volt vs Tesla purchase story in hand.
     
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  18. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I have a loose count, but Only Trons fired up a bunch more people outside of TMC. I'd guess there will be a lot of folks there.

    Your story speaks exactly as to why it is not in the public interest to sell through one of the dealerships lining up to say they'd sell Teslas. So glad you're going to be there.
     
  19. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    In case Will doesn't get back to you in time, speak to the dealership experience and how it is not in the public interest to force Tesla to sell through one of the ones speaking up. Wouldn't hurt to have a few Yelp reviews in hand, along with stories of people trying to get an EV through a dealership (plenty of those online). Stick to facts, remind the panel that the laws were originally to protect the manufacturer/franchisee relationship & never intended to become protectionist and keep out new competition.

    Also be prepared to speak about how dealerships have not protected consumers during recalls. Just look at GM for evidence, but plenty of others with other manufacturers to point to. Contrast that with how in two cases (seatbelt bolt on S and 3rd seat latch on X), Tesla found exactly one instance during their own testing and immediately recalled 100% of the cars. Nothing hidden, just putting customer safety first. To get a recall handled on my Jeep took several phone calls and authorization before the work could be done. Not true for Tesla.

    'Not in the public interest' is the key phrase. And it's not in the public interest. No one ever who has ever walked in a dealership believes they're protecting our interest.
     
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  20. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Hopefully the dealerships won't be allowed to drone on again and monopolize the time. I'd be prepared to give a statement and perhaps ask how much time will be set aside for that purpose.
     

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