What are Direct Auto sales, and why are they not legal in WA, for now? A proposal by the WA State Transportation Electrification Strategy (TES) is considering a change.
The idea would allow direct factory to consumer sales, bypassing the car dealer
According to The Center Square, a meeting this week in Spokane with the state’s EV council heard from numerous car dealers, who said allowing direct factory-to-consumer sales would devastate the car dealer economy.
The EV council was hearing testimony on the TES draft proposal of how to improve EV sales, add more charging stations, and speed up the electrification of WA travel. Among the ideas are a “cash for clunkers” rebate program, other incentives, and allowing direct factory-to-consumer sales.
Shayne Goff of Wendle Ford in Spokane, who has numerous dealerships testified, and he is the President of the Washington State Auto Dealers Association. He said bypassing car dealers would have a huge negative impact on hundreds, if not thousands of workers, their families, and the state’s economy.
Why don’t most states allow direct sales?
Nearly every state has bans on factory direct-to-consumer car sales, requiring them to go through dealers. The primary reason is to protect the dealers from being ‘taken advantage’ of by the factories. Some states allow limited EV sales, but most states have total bans.
Is Tesla the only factory allowed to have direct sales in WA?
According to Geekwire, Tesla is the only EV or other automaker allowed to sell directly from the factory to consumers in WA State. The reason for the exception is surprising. Tesla was accidentally granted a vendor license by the Department of Transportation, which was contrary to the law at that time.
A 2021 House Bill, HB1388, would have allowed EV-only makers to directly sell to consumers in WA, but the bill did not make it out of committee.
According to The Center Square, Jan Carter, who represents Carter Motor Sales in WA state, told the council:
“the recommendation is shortsighted and ignores the significant negative impact this action would have on our small local businesses, employees, and communities.”
The EV council is taking input on the TES draft proposal until October 31st.
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