It was going to happen sooner or later, but Tesla is taking the state of Michigan to federal court over its ban on direct sales to consumers. According to the suit, Tesla is seeking “to vindicate its rights under the United States Constitution to sell and service its critically-acclaimed, all-electric vehicles at Tesla-owned facilities in the State of Michigan”.
This suit comes after the Michigan's Secretary of State office denied Tesla a dealership license earlier in the month.
“The license was denied because state law explicitly requires a dealer to have a bona fide contract with an auto manufacturer to sell its vehicles. Tesla has told the department it does not have one, and cannot comply with that requirement,” said Michigan Department of State Communications Director Gisgie Dávila Gendreau in an email to The Detroit News at the time.
The law in question was signed back in 2014 by current Governor Rick Snyder which made it illegal for an auto manufacturer to sell vehicles directly to consumers. The law also prohibits a manufacturer from performing service on their vehicles.
“For the last two years, Tesla has pursued legislation in Michigan that is fair to everyone and that would benefit Michigan consumers. Giving auto dealers a monopoly on car sales benefits them, but harms consumers,” said a Tesla spokeswoman to Automotive News in a statement.
The lawsuit names Synder, attorney General Bill Schuette, and Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson as defendants. Tesla has also requested for a jury trial.
Tesla is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent officials in the state to enforce the relevant part of the law. This would force the state to give Tesla a dealer license.
We'll be watching closely to see if Tesla can make any headway.