Has Elon Musk Picked an Unwinnable Fight with US Car Dealerships?

Has Elon Musk picked an unwinnable fight with US car dealerships?
Has Elon Musk picked an unwinnable fight with US car dealerships?

While there is no doubt the Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, is the man of the moment in the electric car industry, even he is finding it challenging with his latest battle. Tesla has for some time now been lobbying politicians across the U.S., asking them to consider changing current laws which do not allow car manufacturers to sell direct to the public. Instead, car manufacturers need to make use of the countrywide car dealership network which is predominantly gasoline led.

What exactly is Elon Musk looking for?

Quite simply, Elon Musk is looking for the ability to sell cars direct to the general public, as opposed to through dealerships which add a significant layer of cost. He also believes that the current dealership system in the U.S. is anti-electric vehicles and indeed is stifling competition and development of the industry. If there is one person you'd want fighting your battle in this particular instant it is Elon Musk, but has he bitten off more than even he can chew?

Politicians and car dealerships are a powerful mix!

Despite the fact there has been broad support amongst the general public for a change in laws which would allow car manufacturers to sell direct to the public, and through dealerships, politicians seem reluctant to push through any changes. Indeed an attempt to push through, or least debate, potential changes to the automobile industry in Texas never even made it to the floor of the house and literally fell by the wayside.

It is always a little galling to see politicians stating that they "know best" when there seems to be some support for this change amongst the general public. Perhaps we need to look a little bit deeper to see why politicians are reluctant to support the public and why it looks as though even the famous Elon Musk will fail with this particular challenge.

Quote from ElectricForum.com : "There are certainly some very different opinions with regards to government involvement in the EV market and whether indeed they should be doing more are doing less. Are governments around the world investing enough or are they investing too much money in the industry?"

Taxes and politicians

To many operating in the automobile industry both Tesla, and in particular Elon Musk, are upstarts who will not dictate the future of the industry. The dealerships are also supported by the larger car manufacturers in the U.S. who are indeed heavily aligned to the gasoline/oil industry. While Elon Musk has certainly got the best publicity machine in the industry, i.e. his name, even he is finding it very difficult to ride roughshod over the politicians.

It looks as though it will take a monumental effort by the motoring public to persuade their local politicians to at least contemplate a change. In reality, this is not going to happen because time and time again the politicians and the car dealership associations will revert back to safety aspects and after sales support. This is despite the fact that Tesla and other alternative vehicle manufacturer, have stated that they will categorically offer after sales support, which will be a legally binding agreement with their customers.


At this moment in time it looks highly unlikely that even the famous Elon Musk will be able to push through this major change in the way car dealerships operate. He has certainly come up against a brick wall in the shape of the car dealership companies and politicians, and unless there is a sudden crack in this obstacle he may well have to pull back in defeat with his tail between his legs.

While defeat is not a word commonly associated with Elon Musk, who continues to push boundaries in the EV industry, he will still live to fight another day.