Time to change the rules of the game. Again.
Car dealerships are beginning to feel a bit outdated, to say the least. Now, Rivian is looking to put another nail in the coffin by selling direct to consumers. The makers of the R1T and R1S electric trucks tried this last year, but Georgia's legal body handed down a big fat "no" to the electric truck manufacturer. If only Rivian had some sort of ace up its sleeve to change the tide.
Something like, say, a new $5 billion assembly plant that promises to bring money and jobs, and most importantly, Rivian production, to the state of Georgia. The reason for the spat is simple. Georgia has very dealer-friendly laws that ban factory direct-to-consumer sales, says Automotive News.
Rivian is hoping that the factory, one of the largest on the planet, can help turn the tide in their favor. It promises to bring in 7,500 workers and is the largest influx of cash in Georgia's history. Rivian has proposed House Bill 460, which sets out to put an end to the ban on direct-to-consumer sales. Rep. Chuck Martin, a sponsor of the bill, says that "they have a monopoly, and they want to keep it." Referring, of course, to dealers.
However, this isn't just some altruistic move by Rivian to allow any brand to sell directly to consumers. Instead, HB460 will only allow new EV manufacturers to tell directly in-state. Of course, Tesla also comes to mind, and it wouldn't be shocking to see Musk voice his support of the bill. Tesla was granted an exemption to the ban back in 2015, but the brand likely wants to make that a more permanent legislative change.
The passing of HB 460 could also set precedent for larger, transitioning EV manufacturers like GMC and Chevrolet in the future. While the bill has yet to pass, it could lead to an end to the dealership model, at least in one state.
It's part of a larger shift within the automotive space, with companies like Volvo and Ford also looking into their own direct-to-consumer solutions. Whether Rivian is once again the first in this regard, however, remains to be seen.
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