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Government and Politics

Tesla gets a limited chance to sell directly to Ohio customers
Deal with Ohio lawmakers allows three shops in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati only

Karen Kasler
Tesla will have a limited opportunity to sell directly to customers in Ohio.
Courtesy of Tesla Motors
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There’s a compromise bill that could settle the battle between Ohio’s car dealers and the all-electric car company Tesla.  Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports.

LISTEN: Tesla's new deal

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The deal allows Tesla to keep selling its cars direct to customers at its stores in Columbus and Cincinnati, and allows for another store in Cleveland – but that’s it. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles had allowed Tesla to sell its cars in Ohio, but auto dealers pointed out that state law says a manufacturer can’t directly sell to customers but must work through dealerships. 

Joe Cannon is the vice president of government relations for the Ohio Auto Dealers Association.

“I think there’s acknowledgement on both fronts by the legislature, and we’re very appreciative that we think each party got a fair shot out of the deal. And we look forward to speedy passage of the legislation.”

The sponsor of the bill, Republican Sen. Tom Patton of Strongsville, wasn’t available to talk about it, but has said it was never the plan to shut down Tesla’s existing stores – which is what happened in New Jersey. A spokesperson for Tesla praised the deal in a statement that reads: 

“We look forward to continuing to provide our Ohio customers with the full Tesla experience and to further investing in the state by employing Ohioans both directly at our stores and service centers, and through our Ohio-based suppliers of parts and components.” 

The deal will likely be voted on sometime next week.


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