Tag archives for msada

Dealers’ suit against Tesla dismissed in MA court





Tesla has been facing resistance from dealer associations with its factory-owned dealerships since the start-up automaker first started selling cars, but it won another big case in Massachusetts when a judge dismissed a lawsuit brought on by the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association (MSADA). According to Automotive News, the case was dismissed after the judge said the association “lacked standing to sue” despite the fact that MSADA executive vice president quotes the state law as saying, “A factory cannot own a store.”



The latest lawsuit follows a similar suit from back in October where the MSADA attempted to prevent Tesla from opening a store in a suburban Boston mall; the electric car maker received approval to open another store in Natick, MA, which brought on this second lawsuit. It’s unlikely this is the last we’ve heard about this issue in Massachusetts and in other states, but Tesla seems to be coming out victorious in each case so far. While laws pertaining to dealerships vary state to state, factory-owned dealers are usually noncompliant with state law – a lesson Chrysler learned back in 2011.

By Jeffrey N. Ross

Massachusetts dealers appeal ruling in Tesla store case





Massachusetts auto dealers are not taking “no” for an answer when it comes to Tesla Motors. On Tuesday, the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and other dealer plaintiffs filed an appeal after a court dismissed their lawsuit against Tesla’s factory-owned stores on December 31, 2012.



The lawsuit was initially filed by MSADA in October, and by year’s end, Norfolk County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fishman ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue. This suit followed a similar lawsuit filed in October where the MSADA requested the court block an opening of a store by Tesla in a suburban Boston mall. Tesla won approval to open the store in Natick, MA, which fueled the second lawsuit.



Dealers are pointing to a 2002 Massachusetts statue that gives dealers and their association the right to sue to prevent manufacturer-owned stores, Robert O’Koniewski, executive vice president of the dealers association, told Automotive News in an email. “Tesla is spending considerable sums of money across the country in an effort to exploit what they see to be gaps in states’ franchise laws,” O’Koniewski wrote. “The law is the law. Follow it.”



Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment. Tesla previously has said that it’s being very careful about complying with state laws. The stores are there to educate the public, and when it comes time to selling the car, it’s all being done online.



“People will be walking down the mall and they’ll see a car and they’re drawn in by that…,” said George Blankenship, Tesla’s vice president of sales and ownership experience, in an interview with SmartPlanet. “We’re educating, not selling. It’s two different things.” So far, so good for Tesla Motors. But the jury – as it were – could still be out.

By Jon LeSage