I have been born and raised in Connecticut my entire life, and though I could complain about the state of my state for hours and hours, it’s still home for better or worse. And right now, the world is getting to see some of the worst Connecticut has to offer with an awful anti-Tesla website that uses content from our very own network to argue against the Tesla direct sales model.
I debated even writing this post, as this website marks a new low in car dealer’s battle against the Tesla direct sales model just as Tesla pushes to legalize sales in the Nutmeg State. I mean let’s be honest, nobody expected car dealers to just let Elon Musk walk all over their long-established monopoly on automotive ownership. The National Automobile Dealership Associations “Get the Facts” campaign may stretch thin the facts in its bid to convince consumers that middle-manning car sales is somehow a good thing, but there are some legitimate concerns that are at least worth discussing. I love Tesla and Elon Musk, but I’m also willing to listen to a well-reasoned argument that maybe we shouldn’t rush into things.
But the “TeslaCrash” website, posted with images and stories (including this story from sister site CleanTechnica) of busted Teslas? That’s just belly-of-the-snake low-down lying for no good reason other than to scare consumers away from the Model S. Save for a single lawsuit that was responded to by the official Tesla blog, there have been no concerns regarding the cost or expense of warranty repairs to the Model S. Tesla was JUST rated by Consumer Reports as having the highest repair satisfaction in the industry, beating out both independent repair shops and dealerships, leaving these accusations with no legs to stand on.
Is the Tesla Model S expensive to repair? Yeah, almost ridiculously so…but it’s also a high-priced luxury car, and guess what? Sometimes, fixing a car that can cost over $140,000 is pricey. What’s more, the President of the CT Auto Dealers Association Jim Fleming can’t even get basic facts straight, stating there are just a “handful” of Tesla owners in Connecticut, when in fact there are over 500. Where I come from, 500 is a lot more than a handful, and he then goes on to compare Tesla to Yugo. Yes, yes he did. He also says consumer protections would be lost. What consumer protections Jim? Specifics here, because so far in my experience, going to a car dealership is nothing but negative. If I never have to buy a car from a dealer again, I’ll die a happy man.
But maybe I am being unfair to Connecticut car dealers? I mean, if they’re serious about selling plug-in cars, surely they’ve help craft the sorts of laws proven to encourage EV ownership? They sure did…for themselves! Yes, the car dealer lobby convinced legislators to award the automaker that sells the most plug-in cars, instead of offering consumers a rebate or tax credit like so many other states do. Our charging infrastructure is pretty pathetic too, consisting mostly of singular Level 2 charging stations located on college or government campuses. So what exactly are the benefits for plug-in car buyers in Connecticut? From the state’s own website;
Benefits of Having an EV in Connecticut
Electric vehicles have an annual registration fee of $19, a savings of $47 over the registration of a conventional vehicle!
And that’s it. That’s the environment car dealers have created for plug-in vehicles in Connecticut. What a bunch of clowns.
You know Jim, maybe if Connecticut’s car dealers had done more than create an award for themselves, I’d be inclined to say hey, maybe we should let them sell Tesla vehicles the way they want to sell them. It most certainly can be done, and some car dealers have gone out of their way to get customers driving plug-in cars over conventional models. It’s not like I think car dealers are incapable of good act, but I need to see something other than self-serving showboating to convince me car dealers actually want to sell me a plug-in car. Frankly, I probably know more about most new car models than the people selling them, and it doesn’t take much more than a few minutes of Googling to get all the pertinent info needed to make an informed buying decision. Car dealers seem a bit outdated to me, but if they can stay with the times, I don’t see why they have to go.
But attempting to stifle competition in its crib reeks of desperation and cronyism, rather than trying to protect consumers from evil Elon Musk. I guess I just expected better from my home state. Foolish me.