Will other states follow?
This all began back in 2016 when Tesla sued former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and other state officials over a 2014 law (aimed solely at Tesla) that meant automakers could only sell vehicles through franchised dealerships. Tesla, however, doesn't sell cars like a regular automaker. Instead, it has a direct sales method, from company to customer with no third party. This didn't make it illegal for Michigan residents to own a Tesla, but if they wanted one they had to buy and pick up their vehicles from another state without a similar law in place. Another problem owners faced was a complete lack of Tesla service centers. Most owners traveled to neighboring Ohio for that.
It was a ridiculous and understandably frustrating situation, but according to the Associated Press, a deal has just been made between Tesla and the state of Michigan.
Exact terms of the deal haven't been made public yet, but the agreement will allow Tesla to deliver vehicles in Michigan. There does appear to be a catch: Tesla buyers will have to have their vehicles titled in another state and then transferred to Michigan. Furthermore, the vehicles will be serviced and sold by a Tesla subsidiary.
This agreement could also serve as an example for other states where direct Tesla sales are banned, which include: Alabama, Connecticut, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Tesla hasn't been completely absent from Michigan, home to America's Big Three automakers. In the Detroit suburb of Troy, there's a so-called "gallery" Tesla store at a local mall. Anyone can walk in and look around, but employees are forbidden from discussing pricing, leasing, or any other sales-related topics.
Tesla stated at the time of its lawsuit that it was fighting "for the rights of Michigan consumers to be able to choose how they buy cars in Michigan." Going up against major automakers, their dealerships, and highly-paid lobbyists were never going to be easy. The Michigan Automobile Dealers Association, which represents over 650 franchised dealerships, supported the previous law but is waiting to make an official statement on the new agreement until full details are announced.
Wolverine state residents who have had an eye on a new Tesla Model S or, perhaps, a Tesla Model 3, but were rightly concerned about the previous law's many inconveniences will hopefully be making that purchase fairly soon.