Connecticut Dealers Launch Anti-Tesla Website To Fight Direct Sales

Feb 27, 2015 02:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Tesla's unconventional direct-sales model continues to be an area of contention between the innovative carmaker and dealerships in various states.

Legislators like Connecticut state Sen. Art Linares are hoping to knock down regulations that bar Tesla from selling its Model S to customers in some states, Road and Track reported.

An electric car enthusiast, Linares recently purchased a Tesla Model S P85D but had to cross the Connecticut border to test-drive the car since the closest Tesla store was in White Plains, N.Y.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based automaker sells its cars online and features test-drives at its stores; depending on the strictness of the particular state, Tesla galleries may be the closest thing available. Galleries are not be able to provide test-drives or pricing.

If the state is Michigan, consumers can't even access a Tesla gallery--a dealership-backed measure that earned Gov. Rick Snyder a "Luddite Award" forbids Tesla from even displaying its vehicles.

Linares, 26, has introduced a legislative measure that would allow just Tesla to conduct its direct-sales model by creating a special loophole for the automaker.

None too happy about that idea, the Connecticut dealership association retaliated with a website called TeslaCrash.com that is essentially a home for articles about terrible things happening in Teslas. The tagline reads "Don't let Tesla crash into Connecticut's consumer laws."

Dealers are ready and willing to sell Tesla vehicles but don't want state laws circumvented, Jim Fleming, president of the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association, said in a statement published on the website.

"We currently offer many electric vehicles through our dealerships and we are strong supporters of growing that market," he said. "We additionally have worked with the State of Connecticut to expand electric charging stations and promote incentives.

"We hope that Tesla will reconsider legislation, if the company is truly serious in working with us."

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