Tesla Skirts Ban, Opens Direct Selling Showroom In New Mexico
It needed an assist thanks to Native Americans, though
For as long as Tesla has been a company, it has railed against the idea of dealerships, preferring to sell their iconic electric cars straight to the customer without needing a middleman. The auto dealers of America don't like that and has tried stopping Tesla at every turn. This time, Tesla wins the battle in New Mexico.
Two weeks ago, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported on a shrewd move by Tesla: the carmaker opened a sales, service and delivery centre on Native American territory in Namble Pueblo, which is exempt from any state law that bans direct sales of cars.
And to hear Nambe Pueblo Gov. Phillip Perez say it, it's a pretty huge deal. “We are proud to be the first tribe to have Tesla on Indian lands," he says. "This is really great that we are able to pave the way for New Mexico with renewable energy.”
It's not just the tribe, too. The 1,846 Tesla owners in New Mexico have had to go out to Colorado, Texas and/or Arizona to service their cars, so Brian Dear, president and founder of NM's Tesla owners club, is quite elated to have a direct store in the state.
“The comparison up until now is to get your car fixed, you had to think of hotel reservations and possibly a multiday stay,” Dear said. Now, not only is it "going to help improve electric vehicle sales,” according to Dear, it'd also open opportunities that were once thought impossible.
“People can go and get test drives, which has never happened here. It’s a gigantic thing for New Mexico. It’s such a significant milestone.”
Senators Martin Heinrich and Jerry Ortiz y Pino, the latter of whom actually put forward a bill to allow direct sales for Tesla (a bill that was met with great opposition), both agree that this is huge, with Heinrich calling it a "really positive development" and Ortiz y Pino going as far as calling it a "clever idea".