What most West Virginians do not know is the famed electric car company Tesla, almost made a rather large appearance here in the Appalachians nearly a year ago. Former Senate President William P. Cole III, also known as Bill Cole, alongside former Earl Ray Tomblin signed a bill to prevent Tesla’s entry into West Virginia.
Certainly a shock to many of the West Virginians that actually knew about it, that the (at the time) governor of their state turned away a company that could have came in and produced many jobs to serve customers in the surrounding states. The most interesting aspect is Bill Cole is rather well known in Kentucky and West Virginia, for you guessed it, automotive sales. Former Governor Tomblin said himself “I have a lot of friends who are car dealers, and maybe they would like to protect their turf, but at the same time, it’s just another business.” , raises a few questions doesn’t it? Many states have banned direct Tesla sales, therefore forcing you to go through a third party dealership. Many say it’s for quote “the consumers protection” when the only ones who it really protects is the owners of the car dealerships, a car manufacturer cutting out the third party and selling directly to the consumer is for the most part unheard of.
Are these laws simply protecting car dealerships? Tesla’s latest model unveiled on March 31, 2016, had reservations that could produce potential sales up to US $14 billion. To most of us it seems these laws are simply in place to protect any other car manufacturer from coming in and doing the same thing Tesla is doing, cutting out the middle man.
Metaphorically if every car manufacturer were to come in and do the same, it would indeed put many car dealerships out of business. The source of the issue is that the manufacturer can consistently undercut the dealerships’ set prices. But wait, wouldn’t that save the consumer money in purchasing a new vehicle? So is this ban to protect us, the consumer, or the large dealerships that mediate car sales?