Attention Dealers: Don’t Just Oppose Tesla’s Elon Musk – Learn How He Thinks!

by Jon LeSage, con­tribut­ing edi­tor, Deal­er Digest Dai­ly

• For those fol­low­ing elec­tric vehi­cles, Elon Musk would prob­a­bly lead the list of “celebri­ties” (right in front of Hen­rik Fisker and Bob Lutz). He gets a lot of media play and does a good job of milk­ing it, includ­ing send­ing out zingers through his Twit­ter account.

• Auto­mo­tive News has been cov­er­ing the bat­tle between state deal­er asso­ci­a­tions and Tes­la Motors in recent years, where state lob­by­ing efforts and law­suits have made for big deals espe­cial­ly in Mass­a­chu­setts and New York.

• Texas has seen the lat­est stage, where Musk made a splash tes­ti­fy­ing before state law­mak­ers on why Tes­la should be allowed to set up retail spaces in the state with­out com­ply­ing to long­time deal­er fran­chise laws.

• Here’s a few high­lights from the con­ver­sa­tion with Auto­mo­tive News’ Amy Wil­son:
• Tes­la want­ed to see deal­ers com­mit to set­ting up an exclu­sive Tes­la store and sell a cer­tain num­ber of the elec­tric lux­u­ry cars, and that com­mit­ment from deal­ers didn’t hap­pen. So they set up their own retail show­rooms.

• Tes­la would com­mit to work­ing with fran­chised deal­ers in Texas if Tes­la sales exceed­ed 5% of new car sales in the state per year, but they’re a mil­lion miles away from that.

• Musk has giv­en sev­er­al exam­ples of EV start­up com­pa­nies fail­ing after set­ting up fran­chised deal­er net­works, with Fisker being one of them. He does acknowl­edge there were oth­er fac­tors at play, espe­cial­ly Fisker’s bat­tery sup­ply strug­gle with A123 Sys­tems. But, unsold inven­to­ry at Fisker was the deter­min­ing fac­tor.

• Musk is also con­sid­er­ing bring­ing his SpaceX com­pa­ny over to Texas as well. It would be the world’s first orbital space port on the south coast of Texas near Brownsville, he said.

• A mes­sage to deal­ers: There’s bet­ter things to do than attack Tes­la. It’s a small com­pa­ny sell­ing a small num­ber of cars – try­ing not to be “yet anoth­er body in the grave­yard of car com­pa­ny star­tups.”





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