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Government & Politics

Lordstown Motors Wants Change in Direct Auto Sales Law

photo of the Endurance pickup truck
Lordstown Motors
Startup electric vehicle maker Lordstown Motors unveiled its Endurance pickup truck in June 2020.

The electric truck manufacturer that took over the shuttered Lordstown General Motors plant near Youngstown wants a change in state law to help it sell vehicles in Ohio. But this could set up a clash with the state’s car dealerships.

Ohio law doesn’t allow direct sales of vehicles by manufacturers, a long-standing protection for auto dealers. But the new Lordstown Motors wants to sell its electric light duty Endurance pickup directly to commercial and fleet customers in Ohio. Republican Rep. Mike Loychik is a sponsor.

“The legislation that we propose today very specifically applies to sales of electric vehicles in [an] Ohio-headquartered EV manufacturer, who builds its product in Ohio. This bill will not impact sales at any auto dealer in the state,” Loychik said.

The bill would apply only to Lordstown Motors. But the Ohio Auto Dealers Association notes Honda and other vehicle makers, which also work in Ohio, aren’t asking for a carve out. The law on manufacturer-owned auto sales was last changed in 2014 to allow three Tesla stores in Ohio.