On November 16, Tesla opened its first “new design” retail store in Toronto, Canada. It’s located in the Yorkdale Shopping Center and features large touchscreens on which customers can design their own Model S and then view it on a massive 85-inch video wall.
The same day that Tesla Motors was opening its 24th store in North America a Massachusetts Superior Court judge was denying a request by the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association and individual dealerships for a preliminary injunction against the automaker’s store in suburban Boston.
Tesla’s strategy of eschewing the traditional dealership model in favor of factory-owned stores located in shopping malls has been met with anger by dealers nationwide. They claim it violates state regulations and are manning their battle stations against Tesla setting a precedent that may render the current franchise model obsolete.
The association and dealers, who sued on October 16, claimed that the company was violating the state’s licensing, consumer protection and franchise law. To get an injunction, plaintiffs must show that they are likely to prevail in the case and will otherwise suffer irreparable harm, which as the ruling proves they failed to do so the case will go on trial.
“Tesla looks forward to continuing to focus on advancing the knowledge of EVs in a convenient, accessible environment”, company spokeswoman Shanna Hendricks told Automotive News in an email, adding that “we remain hopeful for a positive outcome of this case”.
Executive vice president of the Massachusetts association Robert O'Koniewski commented that the group is considering an appeal and other judicial remedies but still hasn't made a decision on its exact course of action.
"Dropping the lawsuit is not an option at this point", he said. "We feel very strongly that Tesla is operating a factory store outside parameters of our franchise law and our license law, and they are operating that store illegally."
By Andrew TsaousisStory References: Automotive News