Gov. Rick Snyder became the 4th governor, all of them conservative Republicans who claim to love free markets and hate “big government” (Jan Brewer in Arizona, Rick Perry in Texas, Chris Christie in New Jersey) to ban the direct sales of Tesla automobiles because they don’t go through dealerships as middle men.
Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday signed a bill that strengthens a law banning automakers — including Tesla Motors Inc. — from selling vehicles directly to customers in Michigan.
Snyder said the bill, which also prohibits automakers from telling dealers how much to charge in documentation fees, “clarifies and strengthens” an already-existing law that prohibit direct sales in the Great Lakes state.
“This bill does not, as some have claimed, prevent auto manufacturers from selling automobiles directly to consumers at retail in Michigan — because this is already prohibited under Michigan law,” Snyder said in a letter to lawmakers that accompanies the signed bill.
Tesla has contended that Michigan law would allow it to sell directly in the state, since it doesn’t already have franchised dealers here. However, the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association, which told The Detroit News it had a hand in adding a direct sales amendment to the bill, says it believes Tesla cannot legally sell cars here now.
Language in the bill says a manufacturer can only sell new vehicles to consumers through its own network of franchised dealers.
Thank you, Gov. Snyder, for bravely protecting Michigan residents from the dangerous scourge of more energy efficient cars. But hey, whatever happened to all that rhetoric about the glory of free markets and competition? And how government shouldn’t pick winners and losers? I guess that only counts unless the big automakers and their dealers want to protect themselves from competition they can’t beat fair and square — and, of course, are willing to donate tons of money to Republican politicians to get it done.