We had an incredible surge to exceed 100,000 votes in the whitehouse petition to allow Tesla to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states. This was a great success, but let's not let it end there. The White House is now required to respond to this petition, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything significant will come from it.
The issue: The national association of auto dealers (NADA) is leading a fight to block Tesla from selling directly to consumers. They are trying to use existing laws to prevent Tesla from selling to consumers. These laws were created to protect dealers from manufacturers, and DO NOT apply to Tesla since they do not own or operate any dealerships in any state. They are also trying to pass new laws in several states to specifically prevent Tesla from selling to consumers. These protectionist actions work against the ideas of free market capitalism, and are damaging to consumers. (This has been discussed on many threads, including: http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/democracy-and-capitalism and http://www.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/100000-signatures-reached-white-...)
When asked about NADA's actions in the shareholder meeting (49:07 to 54:20 into video at http://www.teslamotors.com/2013shareholdermeeting), Elon said "the auto dealers are very strong and very influential at the state level among the legislators ... we're fighting the giant one's that have the big money to spend ... They're crowing about the fact that they were able to defeat us in Texas, and that they're making so much progress in NC and stopping us in VA. I think it's outrageous that [auto dealers associations] would crow about a perversion of democracy - that's just wrong. I think they're making a big mistake ... I think customers are going to lead a revolt on this front, because if I was in a customer's position I would be like, 'this organization [NADA] was so happy about being able to spend lots of money and pervert democracy in a bad direction, I would fight really hard to sell that company's product', and I think that is what's going to happen."
I completely agree with Elon, and I think he clearly lays out our next step. We need to continue to pressure lawmakers not to allow any bills that would block Tesla from selling directly to consumers in any state. Tesla will keep fighting, but the momentum needs to come from us customers and citizens.
If you signed the petition and recruited others, please consider taking the next step to make our voice heard. If you know of a state lawmaker who is sympathetic to NADA, please post their contact info here (phone numbers, e-mail, etc). If you have 5-15 minutes to spare, please call or write to one of these lawmakers (you do not need to be a resident of the state to call the state senators!). The petition surge proved that we are a powerful group. It may feel small, but any contact you can make with these lawmakers' offices will make a difference. It can be a very quick call or email - just make sure they hear the message that the voters want the right to buy cars directly from Tesla. When they hear it enough times from enough of us, the message will get through.
Some talking points:
- Tesla does not own or operate any dealerships or franchises in any state
- Tesla sells directly to consumers via the internet, and any attempt to block these sales would be a violation of free market capitalism
- More than 100,000 people signed a whitehouse petition to allow Tesla to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states
- Polls consistently show overwhelming public support for Tesla to sell directly to consumers (http://www.teslamotors.com/about/press/releases/poll-austin-business-jou...)
- Please don't sign any bill that would block Tesla from selling directly to consumers!
Some other interesting reading material posted recently by others:
- from @sblank: http://steveblank.com/2013/06/24/tesla-versus-rent-seekers/
- from @Sudre_: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherman_Antitrust_Act
- (I had several more in mind, but can't find them in the sea of threads on this site!)
If you can contribute any more info to aid in this fight, please add it here.
If you make contact with a legislators office, please post about it here.
If you make contact with any news outlets to raise awareness of this issue, please post about here.
Let's keep up the momentum, and lead the peoples' revolt against NADA!