Tesla Outwits New Mexico's Direct Sales Ban

Electric Vehicles / 13 Comments

The solution was so simple and brilliant.

Tesla likes to break the so-called auto industry rules every chance it gets. It proved electric vehicle naysayers wrong almost a decade ago when the Tesla Model S debuted. It then went on to build a massive Supercharging Network. But what really got the dealership establishment's attention was Tesla's direct sales model. It owns all of its dealerships and service centers outright, as opposed to other OEMs who rely on privately-owned franchise dealers to sell their products.

That dealership lobby has grown very powerful over the decades and it's fought Tesla tooth and nail on the matter. But Tesla has refused to surrender and it's scored a few victories, such as last December's agreement in Michigan. But sometimes it needs to outsmart politicians in order to achieve its goals.

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That's exactly what's happened in New Mexico. According to The Hill, Tesla officials discovered a loophole in the state's laws and has opened a sales and service center on tribal land. Tesla teamed up with the first nation of Nambe Pueblo to build the facility on their land which will benefit owners in the Santa Fe region. What's interesting is that the new facility operates out of a shuttered casino.

Because regular state law does not apply to these tribal lands, there isn't anything politicians can do about it. Tesla is now free and clear of any possible legal problems. But not all state politicians are upset.


Governor Lujan Grisham is fully in favor of the partnership which is expected to bring well-paying jobs to the area. Only around 1,700 people live there but Tesla can't employ everyone looking for work. Fortunately, Tesla owners and buyers coming from both Santa Fe and Albuquerque are going to want to eat at restaurants and go shopping when in town. The tourism industry could also benefit.

Not every state has dedicated tribal lands, but this model might be replicated in the states that do, assuming a sales ban is already in place. But make no mistake about it; dealership lobbies and their political allies still have the upper hand nationwide. How much longer this will last given the rapid rise of Tesla and EVs, in general, is a whole other debate.

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Source Credits: The Hill

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