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Elon Musk Addresses New Jersey's Tesla Store Ban

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the let's-argue-about-regulations dept.

Transportation 229

An anonymous reader writes "On Tuesday, we discussed news that New Jersey is trying to ban Tesla stores, which would force the company to sell through car dealerships instead. Now, Elon Musk has prepared a response: 'The reason that we did not choose to do this is that the auto dealers have a fundamental conflict of interest between promoting gasoline cars, which constitute virtually all of their revenue, and electric cars, which constitute virtually none. Moreover, it is much harder to sell a new technology car from a new company when people are so used to the old. Inevitably, they revert to selling what's easy and it is game over for the new company. The evidence is clear: when has an American startup auto company ever succeeded by selling through auto dealers? The last successful American car company was Chrysler, which was founded almost a century ago, and even they went bankrupt a few years ago, along with General Motors. Since the founding of Chrysler, there have been dozens of failures, Tucker and DeLorean being simply the most well-known. In recent years, electric car startups, such as Fisker, Coda, and many others, attempted to use auto dealers and all failed.'"

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Bada boom bada bing (4, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 months ago | (#46486981)

They'll make you an offer you can't refuse.

Chris Christy isn't the only one with machinations.

Re:Bada boom bada bing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487005)

Can I stick my rock-hard, 15-inch, throbbing cock up your ass?

Re:Bada boom bada bing (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487085)

Can I stick my rock-hard, 15-inch, throbbing cock up your ass?

In my experience, most dealership negotiations start with this very question...

Re:Bada boom bada bing (2)

amiga3D (567632) | about 9 months ago | (#46487647)

Damn straight. They're out to fuck you blind. Of course they buy up politicians by the bunches which explains the rush to defend the dealerships from competition by a new paradigm.

Re:Bada boom bada bing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487281)

only if it really is 15 inches and throbbing.

Re:Bada boom bada bing (5, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 9 months ago | (#46487747)

You can, but beware, my donkey kicks like a mule.

Re:Bada boom bada bing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487985)

Don't worry; my cock has a vicious beak.

Re:Bada boom bada bing (5, Funny)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 9 months ago | (#46487095)

They'll make you an offer you can't refuse.

Chris Christy isn't the only one with machinations.

What, you don't think it's coincidence that the NJ State Flag has a severed horse's head at the top, do you?

Re:machinations (1)

macraig (621737) | about 9 months ago | (#46487193)

Are you saying that Chris Christy is machinima? Move over Max Headroom, that's really good shit! Where's the Kickstarter for their next digital marionette?

Is it wrong that I'm smiling? (3, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 9 months ago | (#46487685)

You can't be serious, making an insinuation like that on a good man.

Governor Christie is just concerned about the changes in traffic patterns that would be triggered by allowing electric cars to enter the state's vehicle markets unimpeded. Christie has a vision for the future of New Jersey and it is deeply important to him that municipal leaders across the state share his enthusiasm and goals. Enforcement along these lines would be impeded. Specifically, if the governor were to block off lanes to a bridge within a mayor's district, and everyone was driving electric cars, the smog wouldn't be as good for intimidating or disciplining the mayor. Clearly the traffic issues need more study.

so much for a "free" market (1, Insightful)

dlt074 (548126) | about 9 months ago | (#46487017)

when will we learn?

Re:so much for a "free" market (5, Insightful)

Dak_Peoples (591544) | about 9 months ago | (#46487109)

“We need to talk about the fact that we are for a free-market society that allows your effort and ingenuity to determine your success, not the cold, hard hand of the government.” -Chris Christie

Re:so much for a "free" market (5, Interesting)

pezpunk (205653) | about 9 months ago | (#46487135)

In New Jersey, you still aren't even allowed to pump your own gas, due to a successful lobby by gas station owners ... in 1949. it's all "full service". never underestimate the power of crappy special interest lobbies in New Jersey.

Re:so much for a "free" market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487233)

never underestimate the corruptibility of government in New Jesery

FTFY

Re:so much for a "free" market (4, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#46487287)

And yet the gas is cheaper than in next-door PA, where you have to get out in the cold. If you end up in NJ frequently, you even time your gas purchases for when you are on the Jersey side.

self service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487359)

Oregon too. Other states also, I imagine.

My wife loves it. I (usually) hate it. Well, yesterday the man actually washed my windshield. And I have to say, that the pumpers have stopped doing that deal where they squeeze in another 25 cents worth after your car's auto-shutoff has turned off the pump. Now they actually ask you, "does 7.5 gallons sound about right?"

So, what do the service stations in New Jersey do? You have to pay them "protection" or else they pump from the tank that has molasses in it instead of gasoline?

New Jersey's self / full / obese services (2)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | about 9 months ago | (#46487923)

If you approach a gas station in New Jersey and the guy standing next to the pump is 300 lbs overweight, be careful- it could be an ex-governor. Make sure to pull in slowly, give him some clearance, and fill up with 93. He may give you a strange piece of metal as a "gift". If it doesn't enter your skull at high velocity, take it (WTC steel, baby!). Then hand him a nice tip. Otherwise you might have to put the gas cap back on yourself a few blocks up the road- i.e. "self-service".

Re:so much for a "free" market (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487591)

Free as in the monopoly in charge of a market is free to do what it damn well pleases thank-you very much!

Name an auto manufacturer that hasn't failed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487045)

And then, gee, they used GASOLINE, so maybe Tesla shouldn't be making electric cars? nah...

Re:Name an auto manufacturer that hasn't failed? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 9 months ago | (#46487455)

The first US cars were electric ones, actually.

Later they used steam.

Gasoline came third.

Re:Name an auto manufacturer that hasn't failed? (2)

confused one (671304) | about 9 months ago | (#46487689)

Fun fact, Ford initially intended the model T to run on readily available alcohol. It could also run on kerosene apparently.

Re:Name an auto manufacturer that hasn't failed? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 9 months ago | (#46487769)

Kerosene - we used to use that a lot when I was a kid. Part of the distillation tower column.

Blowjob! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487055)

Sounds like a manufacturing guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487057)

And not from a silicon valley company :)
- Products do not break
- Never charge for servicing
- Big company software / hardware alliance agreements are bad for startups

Car dealerships (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487063)

Car dealerships are an anachronism. They offer no real added value. If it weren't for state laws protecting them, they would have been gone years ago - especially with the creation of the Internet.

The sales people are a nuisance, the parts section is to be avoided at all cost - and it really pisses me off when there are parts that are dealer only on rare occasions.

Warranty work? That could be streamlined too by having a tech of your choice do it.

I was hoping the Elon would take his billions and his cult of personality and crush the industry, but I guess that was a dream. I have the same dream for the elimination of Real Estate agents- another pointless middleman that just adds unnecessary costs to the consumer.

Re:Car dealerships (1, Insightful)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 9 months ago | (#46487081)

I feel the same about realtors and opticians (or whatever title in your area for the incredibly skilled people that put a thin metal frame on your face and charge 400$ for 5$ worth of plastic lenses that could be CNC fitted in-store in half an hour by a monkey.).

Zenni (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487169)

I used to feel the same way about opticians, then I found http://zennioptical.com . I was able to get a pair or progressive glasses for less than the optician wanted to drill holes in their lens to use my frame.

Re:Zenni (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 9 months ago | (#46487267)

That's the point: at least Zenni is allowed to exist, unlike Tesla direct sales!

Yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487243)

I feel the same about realtors and opticians (or whatever title in your area for the incredibly skilled people that put a thin metal frame on your face and charge 400$ for 5$ worth of plastic lenses that could be CNC fitted in-store in half an hour by a monkey.).

Oh yeah, eyeglasses! Talk about a markup!! Just because there's some old guy's name on the side - even though the design has been around for years and years? Just look at old NASA pictures during the Moon shots. All the techs had those horned rimmed glasses back then and now, with some designer name on them they go for a couple of hundred dollars when they're made in China for less $2.

Even the shit at Walmart is too expensive.

Online can be good like ZenniOptical, but if there's a problem, then it's shipping back and forth (at your own expense).

Re:Yes! (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 9 months ago | (#46487417)

There's a BBC doc somewhere about the factories in China that make the "real" branded sunglasses. It's a bunch of Chinese workers in a nondescript white room operating injection molding machines. Some guy calls out "Switch!" in Cantonese, the workers swap out the dies, and it's Guccis for the next two hours.

Re:Car dealerships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487289)

EVERYONE (except the car dealers and realtors, etc) hates ALL of those things. It's gotten to the point where people just order $5 glasses from overseas (risking an inaccurate grind or incorrect PD value), buy used cars on CL (risking.. well at this point, death), and try to sell their homes "by owner" only to have the buyer's agent try to make them pay commission anyway. It's absolutely ridiculous and nobody will do anything about it because money from special interests trumps pissing off every single other citizen...

I want to click a button! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487411)

[rant]
I want to click a button and get a new car delivered to my location of choice, with the ability to shop around for the best price and with fair single-state taxation (at most). Car showrooms can be for viewing and test-driving. You could even charge a membership fee to be able to go look at physical products at a place that ISN'T actively trying to rip you off buy selling them to you at the highest price they can trick you into paying.
I want to be able to refinance my mortgage without spending umpteen hours shuffling paperwork (often FAXes for craying out loud), sitting down at a notary, again at a title insurance company, pay hundreds for yet another useless "appraisal" where they usually don't even look at the actual house, signing 900 papers, and paying thousands for the privilege while every single person or group involved takes their own cut (even if they try to lie about how it's "free" because all the excessive fees are used to increase the balance of the loan). The worst part is, this applies even if I try to re-fi with the bank I already have the loan at. If I can log in to my bank and pay my mortgage and manage my account, I should be able to click through a few online forms and voila, I've got a new loan term with a lower interest rate. It's not really much (if any) additional risk to them; I already owe them the money and I'm the same person I was when the loan was originated...

[/rant]

realtors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487565)

Yeah I agree. Kinda. Sorta. Maybe.

As a seller, yes. THey will say+do just about anything to get your listing.

But as a buyer? Well, I guess your mileage will vary. For example, real estate markets across the country are all heavily based on local customs. Who pays for what, buyer or seller? So when you move to a new city, it can be very helpful to find someone who knows all that stuff. It happened that in my last real estate transaction, I found a really good agent who did some hardball negotiations on my behalf, got some major work done and paid for by the seller, plus she knew tons of people in town, inspectors, contractors, etc who do good work and who are not flakes. For those things, she absolutely performed an invaluable service to me, and I didn't pay for any of it. The seller paid her commission, which as you know is split between the two agents.

It's like anything else I suppose: you have to search around, check references, get testimonials, and do interviews to find someone who will do the job.

However, I do agree with your general sentiment, that buying+selling real estate should not be so utterly complicated that you need to inject a middle tier just to sort out the complexity. Yeah I can get on board with that thought.

Re:Car dealerships (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 9 months ago | (#46487681)

Check out the 60 Minutes story on Luxottica [youtube.com] . Oh man, what a racket.

Re:Car dealerships (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 9 months ago | (#46487171)

That said, I deal with a dealership that actually got my money based on quality of service and reputation. The added value there is that the sales person actually did homework to figure out which car would be right for my driving habits and future goals... on his own time. Told me to shop around while I waited for his quote and reasons -- so I did. Came back with his quote and said I felt it was a bit high, so he adjusted it, threw in some extras, and still beat what everyone else was offering. He ended up getting a lower commission, but this dealership gives the salespeople a percentage off of other business that derives from the cars they've sold -- so they keep good salespeople, and have a vested interest in providing quality service.

When I was considering a few accessories, they recommended a number of local shops that could provide the parts cheaper than they could. Because they want their customers coming back, and buying MORE stuff there, and telling their friends too.

Now I know that this isn't the "classic" dealership experience, but I'm hoping that with the growth of online reference info and review sites, it will become more common.

So I guess what I'm saying is that car dealerships don't have to be an anachronism unless they want to be. If they're run as a collection of federated services (sales, warranty, insurance, maintenance, repair, detailing, etc) but with the salesperson as the key point of contact, it breaks the old dealer model, but results in happier car owners and employees.

Re:Car dealerships (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#46487279)

Came back with his quote and said I felt it was a bit high, so he adjusted it, threw in some extras, and still beat what everyone else was offering.

This "make up a figure" pricing system and the need for purchasers to haggle down to the unknown real price is one of the things to hate car dealerships for.

For pretty much everything else consumers buy, other than real estate, there is an advertised genuine price, and different vendors compete openly on that price.

I welcome the fact that Tesla's lack of dealerships means honest pricing.

Re:Car dealerships (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 9 months ago | (#46487601)

True; MSRP/listing price shennanigans on cars are an anachronism that needs to die. I don't know that I'd say the same for the overall price though; that's standard commission sales, and is rampant in pretty much every industry -- even with computers (think government contracts).

Re:Car dealerships (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#46487773)

Note I said consumer. I don't have a problem with B2B and business to government negotiating on price. It's expecting consumers to be knowledgeable about what the true price should be, and expecting them to have the skills to haggle that is wrong. All it does is ensures that decent people get ripped off.

As to sales commissions, if they must compete, then let them compete on the number of sales they make, rather than competing on how much they can get people to overpay.

Re:Car dealerships (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487301)

very true

Having just bought a new car 2 days ago and having to deal with their shenanigans. Even using the internet cant help in some instances as they still weasel in their own fees.

The example in my scenario. Used truecar and kbb to find lowest possible price for a new car that was paid, truecar has participating dealerships and one accepted to sell at that price. I go in, get that price and my trade-in evaluated. However starting with the very first piece of paper they brought me I was lied to since they have no more negotiating power when agreeing to an internet price. They showed me on paper the price of the new car, my trade-in value, and right next to that the monthly payment amount at the agreed upon interest rate. However unbeknownst to me not having a car loan calculator on hand was that while the rest of the numbers were right the monthly payment price had 1500$ packed in to it that was listed nowhere. So from the beginning they led me to believe that the first monthly price shown was only car-tradein+taxes. Get to the end and they mysteriously managed to make some fees somewhere disappear in order to include a useless maintenance agreement for this magical 1500$.

In the end told them to remove the agreement, which at first they said would increase dealer fees 1500$, to which I said no because what would be the difference in me leaving with this packed into my loan and coming back within the 90 day cancellation period and getting a 1500$ refund, then no agreement and no extra fees. So eventually they had to back down and just remove it all together

So even in the internet age they keep trying to come up schemes to get their extra profit in there

Shooting themselves in the foot (3, Insightful)

twotacocombo (1529393) | about 9 months ago | (#46487073)

New Jersey isn't very large, and nobody is forcing Tesla to sell there. I'm sure a neighboring state would love to allow a showroom near it's border to collect all that tax revenue that NJ clearly has enough of, right?

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487101)

If you want to register a vehicle that you've purchased out of state in NJ, you have to pay sales tax on it, unless it was previously registered at your former address in the state where it was purchased. So basically, if you live in NJ and want a Tesla, you have to pay sales tax (and possibly registration fees) in the state you purchase it, and then pay sales tax AGAIN in order to register it in NJ.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (5, Interesting)

FreeUser (11483) | about 9 months ago | (#46487167)

If you want to register a vehicle that you've purchased out of state in NJ, you have to pay sales tax on it, unless it was previously registered at your former address in the state where it was purchased. So basically, if you live in NJ and want a Tesla, you have to pay sales tax (and possibly registration fees) in the state you purchase it, and then pay sales tax AGAIN in order to register it in NJ.

That's true in most states. I got lucky in that I'd bought my car ~7 months before moving from New York City to Chicago...had I bought it 2 months later, I would have been stuck with sales tax in both states.

That said, as egregious as this is, it is nothing compared to the bullshit New York City and New York State inflict upon their residents. When I moved out of the state, I had to pay a punitive tax for having the audacity of leaving New York state. I kid you not. At around $3k, it's enough to hurt, but just under the amount that would make a lawsuit overturning this doubtlessly unconsitituional tax financially worthwile. That said, after this experience I will never willingly live in New York state again.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (1)

cbeaudry (706335) | about 9 months ago | (#46487439)

Can you give details zbout this tax? Is it fir everyone(i doubt it), is it for home owners?

How do they apply it? How do they even know your leaving, until you dont file a tax return or renew your drivers license?

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 9 months ago | (#46487547)

Not that I didn't believe you, but I was curious to see what I could find out about that "Leaving NY" tax online. Sure I saw some stuff, but then *wham* I ran into something that will affect me eventually. It's HEROES EARNINGS ASSISTANCE AND RELIEF TAX ACT OF 2008, section 301 that says that if you emigrate FROM the US you have to pay capital gains tax on your possessions. I never even considered that I'd need financial planning in order to leave.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487219)

That's not correct. Unless there are some really weird laws in that region of the country you pay tax *only* in the state in which you register the car. Dealers typically collect this tax at purchase because they also take care of your registration paperwork but if you aren't registering in the same state then you don't pay tax at purchase time.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487241)

Not true. Having done this before, you pay no sales tax in the selling state. You pay the sales tax to NJ as a "Use Tax". It's some reciprocal agreement between the states. I know it works between NJ and PA. Not sure about NY, but I suspect it's more complicated since income taxes when working in NYC and living in NJ tend to be fairly complicated.

Anyway the bottom line is that it doesn't work the way you think it does anywhere I have been.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (1)

Altus (1034) | about 9 months ago | (#46487609)

City tax (the NYC income tax, or the Philly income tax) is a whole different animal and creates the worst tax headaches when you are a commuter or only work in the city part time.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (1)

twotacocombo (1529393) | about 9 months ago | (#46487327)

You forget that Tesla also has to pay taxes, and I doubt New Jersey is entitled to taxes due by a business operating in another state.

It appears there's no additional sales tax. (4, Informative)

MAXOMENOS (9802) | about 9 months ago | (#46487485)

According to the New Jersey MVC [state.nj.us] (PDF), if you purchased a vehicle in another state and paid sales tax on the vehicle, you provide MVC with the receipt. If you paid 7% or more sales tax in the other state, you pay no sales tax to New Jersey. If you paid less than 7%, you pay the difference to New Jersey. In practical terms, if the purchaser buys in the states neighboring New Jersey, there is no additional cost — New York State sales tax is 4%, Pennsylvania sales tax is 6%.

For example: Alice, who lives in Atlantic City, buys a Tesla in middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania (6% rate) for $60,000. Alice pays Pennsylvania sales tax on that vehicle in the amount of $3600. If she had purchased the vehicle in New Jersey, she would have to pay $4200 in sales tax. So when registers her vehicle with the MVC, she'll owe the difference ($600), plus title fee ($60) and registration fee ($59 assuming it weighs under 3,500 pounds, see here [state.nj.us] ), and possibly, if Christie is really an a-hole, a 0.4% Luxury Surcharge ($240). Keep in mind, if she purchased the vehicle in New Jersey, she'd pay the same sales tax, but all of it would go to New Jersey. If she purchased the vehicle in New York (4% sales tax), she would pay $2400 in tax to New York and $1800 in tax to New Jersey.

But, I could be missing something. If so, please let me know.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (4, Interesting)

kramerd (1227006) | about 9 months ago | (#46487957)

Actually, just like any out of state purchase, just tell the dealer you are going to register in another state, and they will give you a temporary tag instead of making you get one in the state you purchase. Then, you get 30 days to register in your state (and pay the sales taxes and registration fees). This usually helps negotiate a lower price on the car itself (in my experience anyway), because there is much less paperwork for the dealership to bother with.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487145)

Car sales tax is paid in the locality where you reside, not where you purchase.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (1)

ClayJar (126217) | about 9 months ago | (#46487155)

"Our stores will transition to being galleries, where you can see the car and ask questions of our staff, but we will not be able to discuss price or complete a sale in the store. However, that can still be done at our Manhattan store just over the river in Chelsea or our King of Prussia store near Philadelphia."

Sales over the border? Already ready. Collecting tax revenue? If NJ is anything like my state, they'll collect that when you register the vehicle in NJ. The state isn't going to be out much money, but the dealers are protected by the politicians who get their campaign contributions, and neither has to give a hoot about inconveniencing the people. (The people inconvenienced weren't going to buy from the dealers, so no money lost there, and they aren't numerous enough to make a dent in the elections, so that's all fine and dandy, too.)

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (2)

John.Banister (1291556) | about 9 months ago | (#46487333)

Don't think of it as inconvenience. Think of it as a nice excuse to spend a little time outside NJ.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487517)

Don't think of it as inconvenience. Think of it as a nice excuse to move to another state.

Fixed.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487199)

Unfortunately, if NJ is like most states they get the sales tax revenue no matter where you buy the car. At least in NC you have to pay it the first time you apply for plates.

Re:Shooting themselves in the foot (1)

Software (179033) | about 9 months ago | (#46487595)

Sales tax is collected when the vehicle is registered, not sold.

NJ isn't losing much, if any, tax revenue, because the existing showrooms are converting to "galleries" where you can do everything but negotiate a price or place an order.

In Soviet USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487113)

In Soviet style USA, corrupted governments decide who stays in business and who goes under.

Re:In Soviet USA (1, Informative)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | about 9 months ago | (#46487203)

That's a bit of a double-edged comment, though, considering the subsidies Tesla has taken in the form of loans. When you encourage government to pick winners and losers, you can't be too surprised when they insist on doing both.

That said, good on Elon Musk for calling bullshit on this particular issue.

Re:In Soviet USA (1)

Carnivore (103106) | about 9 months ago | (#46487339)

These loans [teslamotors.com] that they have paid back early? Do you not consider bailing out the Big 3 to be a form of subsidy?

Re:In Soviet USA (1, Flamebait)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#46487393)

Not just loans - every Tesla car is "subsidized" by thousands of dollars via a tax write-off for the buyer.

Re:In Soviet USA (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#46487443)

It's not "every Tesla", it's "every EV". The feds are not picking a company here. They are kick-starting a new technology, regardless who makes it.

The traditional car companies get exactly the same subsidy.

http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg... [fueleconomy.gov]

Re:In Soviet USA (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#46487755)

Since Tesla only sells EVs, it is correct to say "every Tesla". I understand that the government is not picking a company, but it doesn't make Tesla any less dependent on federal aid.

Re:In Soviet USA (3, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 9 months ago | (#46487821)

Since Tesla only sells EVs, it is correct to say "every Tesla".

It's pedantically correct, but disingenuous. The honest thing to say is "every EV".

Tesla any less dependent on federal aid.

And there you go beyond what you can prove. At the price Teslas are selling, an extra $7.5K would be very unlikely kill their market.

And if you didn't mean that, but simply that they receive federal aid, again ALL car companies that sell EVs do.

Here's my idea (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 9 months ago | (#46487125)

Take the law to its logical conclusion: find out what the legal definition of a car is, remove the one part from the car that legally doesn't make it a car anymore. Sell the not-a-car for 5$. Across the street, open a store that sells the simple part for car price-5$, and there you go.

No one's selling a car here.

Re:Here's my idea (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 9 months ago | (#46487201)

Oops, I should have said my inspiration for this comes from the annoying stores selling electric scooters that are legal to ride on a bike path because they have pedals. Non-functional, turned inwards, and connected by the flimsiest drive train, but legally, it makes the scooter an assisted bicycle. Much to my chagrin.

Re:Here's my idea (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 9 months ago | (#46487705)

Oops, I should have said my inspiration for this comes from the annoying stores selling electric scooters that are legal to ride on a bike path because they have pedals. Non-functional, turned inwards, and connected by the flimsiest drive train, but legally, it makes the scooter an assisted bicycle. Much to my chagrin.

Actually, those things also have a max top speed - they can't go over something like 30mph or they're classified as a motorcycle which requires insurance, registration, helmet, license etc.

And apparently, removing the pedals is illegal too in some areas - that would change the classification to motorcycle, but because their top speed is too slow, they can't be put on the roads and cannot be registered. And because they're not bicycles anymore, they're not allowed as bicycle traffic, either, so they've got to be off the road.

Re:Here's my idea (2)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 9 months ago | (#46487309)

If it's really that simple a part, I think you could find it for a lot less than (car price - $5). You should probably switch those prices around.

Re:Here's my idea (1)

50000BTU_barbecue (588132) | about 9 months ago | (#46487445)

Heh, too right.

This what Elio is doing (1)

tekrat (242117) | about 9 months ago | (#46487751)

They are making a 3-wheeled car, which doesn't make it a car anymore, but a Motorcycle or "autocycle" -- which will exempt it from a lot of the legal wrangling that forces most car makers to give up trying to sell in the American Market.

Elio Motors. Google 'em.

Re:Here's my idea (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 9 months ago | (#46487823)

A car is whatever the judge damn well says it is.

Re:Here's my idea (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 9 months ago | (#46487977)

Sure, don't register it as a motor vehicle...

Saturn (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | about 9 months ago | (#46487177)

"when has an American startup auto company ever succeeded by selling through auto dealers?" I thought Saturn was doing okay for a while, but looking briefly at wikipedia, I guess as GM took more control, it was doomed.

Re:Saturn (4, Informative)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 9 months ago | (#46487335)

Saturn was never a "startup". It was always a subsidiary/brand of GM.

Re:Saturn (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#46487457)

And GM had the advantage of using their existing dealers. They leaned on them to build new showrooms, but most were existing dealers. It really and truly was just a re-branding effort. The new relationship with labor was interesting, but never really produced an exceptional car.

Re:Saturn (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 9 months ago | (#46487571)

Not true. All Saturn dealers were new and Saturn-only at the beginning. They had GM's money to invest, but it was pretty independent for a while.

Re:Saturn (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 9 months ago | (#46487727)

They approached existing dealers first. Only if existing dealers refused to build a dedicated facility would they offer up the territory to a new dealer. I'm sure you could find Saturn dealers who owned no other GM franchises, but I am under the impression that this was rare. I do know one Chevy/Cadillac/Oldsmobile/Pontiac/GMAC dealer who told them to go pound sand.

Dealership model is so broken. (4, Informative)

damacus (827187) | about 9 months ago | (#46487253)

Imagine if you wanted an Apple computer you had to buy it through Best Buy or Radio Shack, and dealing with their personnel. The companies that do business this way are maddening. Elsewhere, companies like Cisco choose not to sell directly to buyers, making them go through a partner or reseller. This may have been an acceptable model years ago, but these days it's tedious and I think people expect more; they don't want to deal with a third party whose interests are not wholly aligned with their own. At least when you're talking about tech vendors, you can opt to deal with someone else who does business differently. Government enforcement of a given model is quite wrong-headed and needs to be stopped. It smacks of protectionism to me.

Re:Dealership model is so broken. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487451)

Nope

Imagine having a store full of smartphones and nobody is buying them because they just order them online

What auto dealerships are trying to avoid is the same goddamn thing that happened to bookstores, music shops and video rental shops.

Re:Dealership model is so broken. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487889)

Obsolescence? They're trying to avoid obsolescence by getting a law passed that forces people to pretend it's still 1965 forever?

That doesn't work, it's just a way to pour government money (ie your tax money) down the drain.

Nothing is forever. Today's car dealers are not the inheritors of a century's old tradition, the motor car was only popularised last century, it's like television. At the start of the 20th century there were no broadcast TV networks, and at the start of the 22nd century there will be no broadcast TV networks, the idea that we're going to have to protect something just because it's been around a few decades is craziness.

The grand-parent gave an example of Cisco. I have a funny story about that. Cisco wanted my university to test some of their new gear, as part of an EU project. The idea was that the university would fit the Computer Science building with Cisco gear, and the CS department would use the new features in a "live fire" environment with everything a CS department does, instead of just a few boring accountants or something trying it out somewhere. OK, sounds good. We'll write the cheque, you send the hardware. Nope. Can't do that, Cisco doesn't deal direct with customers. We have to call a Cisco dealer, and get them to quote for the gear. Try that, the dealers all say they can't get the gear. Back to Cisco. Cisco says they'll have a word. Dealers come back, wow, sorry, yes, you can have that new gear after all. Here's our quote. The quote is outrageous. We can't pay that, we're publicly funded. Back to Cisco. Cisco says they'll have another word. Dealers come back with a new price. We say "No" again, and go back to Cisco. "OK" says Cisco, "How much can you afford to pay, and then we'll ask a dealer to work out their cut, and we'll discount the price to them until they can quote that price". So we have to tell Cisco how much we want to pay, then Cisco knocks off the dealer's margin, and tells the dealer they'll discount to that price, and then the dealer quotes us back our original price.

All of this costs Cisco a whole bunch of money, and for what? For the pretence that Cisco isn't directly selling hardware, even though in fact they controlled the entire transaction. It's stupid and it should go away - not be encouraged by the government.

Re:Dealership model is so broken. (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 9 months ago | (#46487937)

Imagine if you wanted an Apple computer you had to buy it through Best Buy or Radio Shack, and dealing with their personnel.

That's actually how it was prior to about a decade ago when Apple retail stores started opening. And yes, it was miserable trying to talk to some of the Best Buy employees at the Apple store-in-a-store locations, since you didn't always get the guy who was trained in using/selling those products. These days, the guys working there are much better than they used to be, but the whole concept is still rather atrocious, and I'm glad companies are able to go directly to consumers with their products.

Also, Apple retail stores are widely credited as a large part of why the iPad was as successful as it was. Android smartphones had the benefit of being sold through the chain of carrier stores around the globe, but Android tablets did not. Having an established chain of high-profile stores gave the iPad a massive leg up in reaching everyday consumers. It's only as of last year that Android tablets began surpassing the iPad in market share, though sales of those units are still largely handled in places like Best Buy and its ilk.

What about Hummer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487255)

Don't know the particulars, but I thought they succeeded? Maybe they did not start with dealers but with the military.

Re:What about Hummer? (2)

stox (131684) | about 9 months ago | (#46487925)

Hummer (GM) : Renco Group : LTV Aerospace : AM General ( American Motors) : Kaiser : Willys-Overland : Overland Automotive : Standard Wheel Company

In other words, Hummer's roots go back further than many modern auto companies.

Zing! (3, Insightful)

Bigbutt (65939) | about 9 months ago | (#46487269)

The rationale given for the regulation change that requires auto companies to sell through dealers is that it ensures “consumer protection”. If you believe this, Gov. Christie has a bridge closure he wants to sell you! Unless they are referring to the mafia version of “protection”, this is obviously untrue. As anyone who has been through the conventional auto dealer purchase process knows, consumer protection is pretty much the furthest thing from the typical car dealer’s mind.

Ow, that's gotta hurt!

[John]

Re:Zing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487759)

How many of us bought cars before this consumer protection was enacted? If it's repealed the car companies are going to have to make their money back from all the dealerships they'll have to bankroll into setting up.

Are we really freaking out this much for an expensive luxury car that only the rich can afford, while we wait and hope and pray that we'll get the scraps in the form of a $30,000 sedan that only rich people can afford?

Should we just hate any company that marks up merchandise?

Already a White House Petition for this (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487375)

There's already a White House Petition for this. If this reaches it's target this will be the second time a pro Tesla petition has reached 100k plus signatures - https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/inform-new-jersey-markets-should-be-free-tesla-motors-and-everyone/ptHTHYMP

Open their own dealerships (2)

onkelonkel (560274) | about 9 months ago | (#46487423)

Forgive me if this is answered somewhere else, but why can't Tesla open their own Tesla dealerships? Have the incumbents rigged that too?

Re:Open their own dealerships (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487557)

It is illegal for a car company to open its own dealerships. That is the point of the law, they are required to have a middleman.

Tesla could make a deal with John Smith to sell him cars wholesale, and have John Smith re-sell them to the public at a huge markup with hidden fees and sketchy high pressure sales tactics... That's what normal car companies do. Lots of people hate that system. I intend to buy a Tesla for my next car, because I've hated ever interaction I've ever had with a normal dealership -- even though Teslas are out of what I consider my normal price range for a car, even though the range limit is kind of a bummer, even though I don't really want an electric car, I'll accept those downsides just to avoid dealing with the scumbags that run car dealers around here. Apparently Elon Musk agrees that there's some kind of market value in selling to people liike me, which is why he is trying direct-to-customer sales.

Re:Open their own dealerships (1)

confused one (671304) | about 9 months ago | (#46487729)

The work around, in many instances, is to have a wholy owned but independent subsidiary that handles sales and marketing.

Re:Open their own dealerships (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487893)

That is the point of the law, they are required to have a middleman.

You've got to love the free market economics inherent in the United States of America.

Oh hey I wonder where Chris Christy stands on Obamacare?

Re:Open their own dealerships (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 9 months ago | (#46487999)

In other words: to be in the car business you have to be big from the start. Startups are locked out.

Re:Open their own dealerships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487633)

It's not just a salesroom, there's a large square-footage required, etc. etc. Typical barrier to market stuff that makes just getting started to expense to actually break into a market long enough to get the economies of scale that make things like huge part laden dealerships cost effective.

Re:Open their own dealerships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487829)

That's the entire point of the regulation. The "Ford dealer" isn't Ford itself just as the "Tesla dealer" couldn't be Tesla itself.

Re:Open their own dealerships (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487987)

Yes. Territories are basically given out like modern day feudalism, even with inheritance passed from parent to child.
During the bailout, the government shrank the number of dealerships and increased territory size. This caused dealerships to go from simple lords to dukes over multiple counties.

Oil, oil, oil. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487663)

Politics, oil, lobbying, oil, nuthin' changes. Sell it all now, when I'm dead who gives a fuck if it poisons the air, the water and the ground you stand on, it doesn't put dollars in my pocket today. Maybe electric isn't the answer, but if we don't make allowances now then technology AND marketing, that should embrace development, will never find a way out of this morass. Profit, as it has been ordained. All hail the mighty dollar.

It's a conspiracy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487707)

So, in Elon's mind every thing holding back the Tesla is just conspiracies.

The man's a very rich nutjob. Neither of his companies will succeed. He should have just stayed the paypal guy.

Hey look a car dealer AC! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46487909)

How quaint.

Funny thing is, it actually IS a conspiracy, factually and demonstrably so. They publicly claim to "protect" consumers while acting in ways that are unequivocally harmful to consumers.

conspiracy noun \kn-spir--s\
: a secret plan made by two or more people to do something that is harmful or illegal

Lack OF Qualified Complainent (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 9 months ago | (#46487711)

Is anyone actually dumb enough to believe that car dealerships would band together to protect the public from a new brand? Just what status do car dealerships have to complain about sales by another organisation? And why are our laws so useless that Tesla can not sue these dealers into the dark ages along with the state of New Jersey for using such tactics to try to sabotage a new company?

Nothing to do with electric power (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 9 months ago | (#46487809)

This is an issue of allowing car companies to sell their own cars, I don't see how it matters whether or not those cars are gas, electric or nuclear powered.

There is an established (quite possibly corrupt) system, and Tesla is trying (possibly reasonably) to break it. I'm sure the dealers are happy to sell whatever makes them a profit, and of course resist any rules changes that will reduce that profit.

Anyone know the motivation behind the original law? Presumably GM would also like to be allowed to sell its own cars.

Looking back at history ... (1)

garry_g (106621) | about 9 months ago | (#46487847)

... maybe he should have called his company "Edison" ... maybe that way, he'd be facing less problems ...
(check out the history of Edison and Tesla ... Edison was in part responsible for Tesla's failure in the end, even though Tesla had far more impressive inventions ... though many falsely aren't attributed to him ...)

States Committing Citizenicide (0)

BoRegardless (721219) | about 9 months ago | (#46488005)

California and New York have lost probably near 1.5 million people over the last 15 years.

New Jersey has lost probably about 0.5 million people who moved out with Michigan & Illinois a bit higher over the same time.

When are state governments going to realize they are killing the golden goose?

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