Tesla could sell cars directly to Michigan buyers under ballot proposal

Automakers like Tesla may soon be able to sell cars directly to buyers without going through a dealer, under a proposal which may appear on Michigan's ballot this November.

The proposal is being backed by a group called Eliminate (i), named for the subsection of the Motor Vehicle Code which the proposal would repeal. The subsection states that an auto manufacturer may not:

Sell any new motor vehicle directly to a retail customer other than through franchised dealers, unless the retail customer is a nonprofit organization or a federal, state, or local government or agency. This subdivision does not prohibit a manufacturer from providing information to a consumer for the purpose of marketing or facilitating the sale of new motor vehicles or from establishing a program to sell or offer to sell new motor vehicles through franchised new motor vehicle dealers that sell and service new motor vehicles produced by the manufacturer.

The initiative would "allow manufacturers to sell any new motor vehicle directly to a retail customer without having to go through a franchised dealer." This would essentially reverse an "anti-Tesla" law signed by Governor Snyder in 2014. Tesla skipped this year's North American International Auto Show as a result of the law.

In the event that the proposal makes it to the ballot, expect opposition from dealers, the Big Three, and possibly unions. Tesla workers have yet to unionize.

The Board of State Canvassers is expected to vote this Thursday on whether to allow the bill to proceed to the circulation phase.

It was also announced that a number of recall petitions have been filed against governor Snyder as well as against State Sen. Darwin Booher. They will be considered for factual accuracy at Thursday's meeting.

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