Petition to allow Tesla to sell directly to consumers surpasses 100,000 signatures, earns White House response

By on July 2, 2013, 5:30 PM

An online petition urging the White House to allow Tesla Motors to sell their fleet of electric vehicles directly to the public has amassed more than 100,000 signatures. Having passed the 100,000 signature threshold within 30 days of creation (just narrowly as it was launched on June 5) means the White House must now issue an official response.

The petition, launched on June 5, was created by a Tesla fan by the name of Ken. He (or she?) doesn’t believe states should be able to prevent automotive companies from selling vehicles directly to consumers. The individual claims to not work for the electric car company but does own stock in it.

It’s all part of a larger battle between Tesla and specific states that are trying to protect local auto retailers by blocking direct vehicle sales. Truth be told, however, this isn’t the first time that high-end technology products have been in a similar sticky situation.

Back in the 1980s, computer stores created a thriving business by marking up PCs by a significant margin. Consumers at the time didn’t know much about computers which meant high profit margins for dealers. This practice ultimately fizzled out as the ‘90s rolled around when mail order upstarts like Dell Computer and Gateway 2000 took root.

The petition is part of the White House’s We the People platform that launched in October 2011. Originally the platform required a petition amass just 25,000 signatures to initiate a response but that figure was bumped to 100,000 not too long ago.




User Comments: 19

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VitalyT VitalyT said:

Let's see the White House response first, before getting all jittery about it. This will be a good indication of how much democracy is still left in the states, if any...

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I thought it was an open market? You mean if I wanted to buy a Tesla before, I couldn't walk in to a dealership and buy one?!

Puiu Puiu said:

I thought it was an open market? You mean if I wanted to buy a Tesla before, I couldn't walk in to a dealership and buy one?!

It meas that unlike Toyota or other companies, Tesla had to sell their cars through a third party. (similar to how microsoft is doing on the xbox with indie games - they have to find a publisher)

1 person liked this | Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Good first step but pretty disgraceful that it was a step needed.

JC713 JC713 said:

I think selling directly is better than through a 3rd party.

1 person liked this | Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

White House response..."haha I don't care" *throws it in box* This is the Obama administration we're talking about.

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

I am baffled that this is not the way things already where in the US, I really hope congress makes the right decision!

MilwaukeeMike said:

Good first step but pretty disgraceful that it was a step needed.

No kidding! Did we lose a war or something?

1 person liked this | Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

No kidding! Did we lose a war or something?

I wasn't really talking about the war even. For a "free country", and one trying to rid itself of dependence on fossil fuel, isn't it interesting that there are laws preventing progressive car fuel replacement tech? It's as if the fossil fuels industries and the government have shared interests and have introduced laws to prevent competition. It's pretty shameful that you would need to ask permission from the government to sell such a product in the same manner as the existing market - pretty blatant anti-competitive practice.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

I don't get why people are complaining. Has anybody EVER bought an automobile directly from the manufacturer? You always have to go through a dealer. Now, is that the way it should be? Probably not, but it seems to me that Tesla is the one asking for an unfair advantage to do something its competitors can't.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't get why people are complaining. Has anybody EVER bought an automobile directly from the manufacturer?

Actually, yes.

Julien Julien said:

I don't get why people are complaining. Has anybody EVER bought an automobile directly from the manufacturer? You always have to go through a dealer. Now, is that the way it should be? Probably not, but it seems to me that Tesla is the one asking for an unfair advantage to do something its competitors can't.

You have summarized the core argument right there.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

Actually, yes.

Do explain.

Guest said:

My god kids, read a history book! The reason rules like this are set in place is to protect people from companies becoming a monopoly. Law makers years ago were smart enough to realize that competition is the key to growth,advancement,and a better product. Imagine if there were ONE cell phone company,ONE internet provider,ONE car company. Nothing would ever change because there would be no competition. Puiu mentioned Microsoft in his comment. Microsoft has actually been sued by the US government for being in violation of monopoly laws. If not, Apple may have been nothing but a shadow of what it is now. Businesses in their nature are designed to eliminate all competition. These laws do what is necessary to protect us from this happening.

Should there be an incentive for small businesses who need a leg up on competition? Possibly. But there should be a clause that states that after a period of time, or after a certain amount of profit, Tesla would have to abide by the same rules as everyone else. If a better product is introduced in the future, you better believe Tesla will try to eliminate its competition. Remember that the more competition a market has, the greater the benefits to the end user are.

1 person liked this | Puiu Puiu said:

My god kids, read a history book! The reason rules like this are set in place is to protect people from companies becoming a monopoly. Law makers years ago were smart enough to realize that competition is the key to growth,advancement,and a better product. Imagine if there were ONE cell phone company,ONE internet provider,ONE car company. Nothing would ever change because there would be no competition. Puiu mentioned Microsoft in his comment. Microsoft has actually been sued by the US government for being in violation of monopoly laws. If not, Apple may have been nothing but a shadow of what it is now. Businesses in their nature are designed to eliminate all competition. These laws do what is necessary to protect us from this happening.

Should there be an incentive for small businesses who need a leg up on competition? Possibly. But there should be a clause that states that after a period of time, or after a certain amount of profit, Tesla would have to abide by the same rules as everyone else. If a better product is introduced in the future, you better believe Tesla will try to eliminate its competition. Remember that the more competition a market has, the greater the benefits to the end user are.

There is no monopoly in the car industry even with electric cars since there are a fair number that make them. (-->oligolpoly) You talk about laws protecting companies from becoming a monopoly, but I see no logic there. The laws that are in discussion here have nothing to do with protecting from a monopoly --> it actually stops smaller companies from entering the market because their products are sold at higher price than what they wanted them to be sold at. (that third party company must make a profit too and the end user pays for it)

We don't need to imagine one cell phone company, etc: we have many and the laws should reflect that. At the moment many laws actually protect the big companies, smaller ones just can't compete. (and this can be seen best in the car industry)

Guest said:

Didn't Henry ford have to prove the automobile could not be patented before he could sell the model a. in turn making J.P Morgan and Rockefeller richer & richer

maybe the government will work in this case.

side note I would have signed the petition if I would have known

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Do explain.

Manufacturers routinely sell cars directly to their employees without the need to go through a dealership. At least that's how BMW did things when I worked at their manufacturing plant in SC.

danwat1234 danwat1234 said:

It's October 24th 2013 and the White House still hasn't given a response to the petition? What's with that?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

How could you possibly or effectively eliminate, "the middleman", without the US economy collapsing? I thought the United States population was almost entirely made up of "middlemen". Mexicans harvest the food, and the the legal citizens spend their time happily, (and profitably), selling garbage manufactured in Asia to one another.

It's October 24th 2013 and the White House still hasn't given a response to the petition? What's with that?

Give the White House a break, it probably just fully reopened. Maybe the job of answering petitions, is the job of a person, (or persons), who are "nonessential employees".....

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