Tesla doubles down on tribal land loophole to get around sale ban
Tesla has doubled down on its plan to build sales and service centers on tribal land as a loophole to get around New Mexico’s dumb direct-sale ban.
New Mexico, like a few other states, still has laws prohibiting direct sales of electric vehicles to the public without going through third-party dealerships.
These bans come from old laws that were meant to protect car dealers from their own automakers supplying the vehicles.
The idea is that automakers couldn’t open a company-owned store next to a third-party dealer after they have made the investment to sell their cars.
However, now car dealerships are using those old laws to prevent automakers that never had deals with third-party franchise dealers, like Tesla, from selling their vehicles to the public, even though it’s fair competition.
Tesla has been fighting those laws in many states with some success.
It hasn’t been the case in New Mexico where Tesla hasn’t been able to establish an official presence.
In 2019, Tesla tried to push a new law in the state with the help of some favorable legislators, but the local car dealer associations flexed their political muscle and it was dropped quickly.
Last year, we reported on Tesla finding an interesting loophole. Tesla managed to open its first store and service center in the state by opening inside an old casino north of Santa Fe, and it did it by partnering with the First Nation of Nambé Pueblo and opening the location on their tribal land.
The new Tesla Center now covers the Santa Fe area.
It sounds like the automaker has been happy with the arrangement since it has now doubled down on the loophole and decided to open its recent Tesla Center in New Mexico.
Tesla is again building on tribal land, this time thanks to a partnership with the Santa Ana Pueblo, which is located closer to Albuquerque –enabling Tesla to give the city some service coverage.
Ironically, legislators, who are the ones who could end the state’s direct-sale ban, are applauding Tesla for going to the tribal land to build the new location:
Now with Albuquerque and Santa Fe covered, Tesla has service stations covering two of the most populated centers in the state.
While there’s another big population center, around Las Cruces in the south of the state, it is somewhat covered by the service center in El Paso, Texas.
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