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Pennsylvania auto associations tussle over Tesla

 Tesla motor company dealership in the Dadeland Mall  in Miami, Florida.
Tesla motor company dealership in the Dadeland Mall in Miami, Florida.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers Automakers a Washington organization comprised of 12 vehicle manufacturers, has banded together to oppose proposed legislation in Pennsylvania that would permit Tesla Motors to operate an unlimited number of factory-owned stores in that state, stating that the bill “creates an uneven playing field because it doesn’t cap the number of allowed sales outlets or the volume of vehicles that could be sold directly.”

“It really gives them an advantage in the marketplace,” said Gloria Bergquist, vice president of communications and public affairs for the alliance. “We really believe a cap is needed to maintain a competitive industry. Without a very narrow restriction on either the number of showrooms or number of vehicles sold, any exemption to direct factory sales made for Tesla should be available to all manufacturers.”
Tesla does not belong to the association.

Despite this, the Pennsylvania Automotive Association (which represents the state’s dealerships) supports the new legislation, which is similar to compromises reached elsewhere including in New York and Ohio that limits the number of cars Tesla can sell there, as well as the amount of outlets they can operate.

“We are taking the views that this legislation is necessary to clear up ambiguity over whether Tesla’s direct-sales model is legal in the state, and agree it would be best to provide an exemption for Tesla in order to preserve overall franchise protections, stated Pennsylvania Automotive Association president John Devlin, who added that Tesla was able to open a store in King of Prussia, PA, with a second location planned for Devon, PA to avoid any problems with they’re marketing cars directly from the factory to consumers.