Diverse Lobby Groups Support Tesla's Direct Sales-Model with Letter

Feb 18, 2015 11:15 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Tesla is apparently so appealing that it's uniting people who are usually thought to be on opposite sides of the political aisle.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based automaker has received support both from Sierra Club, an environmental group, and Americans for Prosperity, a conservative action group funded by the Koch brothers, Bloomberg reported.

The effort was led by Daniel Crane, associate dean for faculty and research at the University of Michigan Law School, according to Bloomberg.

Along with eight other interest groups, Sierra Club and Americans for Prosperity have signed a letter that supports Tesla in its long-time battle with auto dealerships. The electric carmaker has famously stuck to a direct-sales model that skirts the established franchised dealer system and has been directly banned or otherwise blocked in some states.

"Some of us frequently find ourselves on different sides of public policy debates," the letter noted. But the 10 groups found common ground in supporting carmakers who want to opt for a direct sales model and opposing legislation that would hinder them.

"Such laws are unnecessary for consumer protection, interfere with competition and efficient distribution, increase costs to consumers, and mount barriers to the introduction of innovative and beneficial new technologies," said the letter.

The interest groups believe that the "decades-old" laws regarding dealerships and carmakers are not keeping pace with the current auto market, which is "far more competitive today than it was in the 1950s."

The other signatories include American Antitrust Institute, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Action, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Environment America2, Institute for Justice, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation and Mackinac Center.

Tesla has fought to maintain its own stores in Michigan, New Jersey and Texas, among other states. The electric automaker has been hailed as a game-changer for industry-wide innovation and even recently opened up its patents to other companies for use. 

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