To Cut Out Costs of Car Dealership Middlemen, Tesla Is Selling Direct from Indian Reservation Showrooms

(p. D6) Tesla is ramping up efforts to open showrooms on tribal lands where it can sell directly to consumers, circumventing laws in states that bar vehicle manufacturers from also being retailers in favor of the dealership model.

Mohegan Sun, a casino and entertainment complex in Connecticut owned by the federally recognized Mohegan Tribe, recently announced that the California-based electric automaker will open a showroom with a sales and delivery center this fall on its sovereign property, where the state’s law doesn’t apply.

The news comes after another new Tesla showroom was announced in June, set to open in 2025 on lands of the Oneida Indian Nation in upstate New York.

“I think it was a move that made complete sense,” said Lori Brown, executive director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, which lobbied for years to change Connecticut’s law.

. . .

Brown noted that lawmakers with car dealerships that are active in their districts, no matter their political affiliation, traditionally opposed bills allowing direct-to-consumer sales.

. . .

Over the years in numerous states, Tesla sought and was denied dealership licenses, pushed for law changes and challenged decisions in courts.

. . .

Tesla opened its first store as well as a repair shop on Native American land in 2021 in New Mexico. The facility, in Nambé Pueblo, north of Santa Fe, marked the first time the company partnered with a tribe to get around state laws, though the idea had been in the works for years.

For the full story, see:

SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press. “Tesla to Open Showrooms on Tribal Lands to Circumvent Laws.” Omaha World-Herald (Sunday, Aug. 13, 2023): D6.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Aug. 5, 2023, and has the title “Automaker Tesla is opening more showrooms on tribal lands to avoid state laws barring direct sales.”)

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