Automaker Tesla is suing officials in Michigan for the right to be allowed to sell its products directly to customers in the state.
Tesla has battled for years in several states to sell its line of all-electric vehicles through its own showrooms, rather than distributing them to a franchised dealerships for sale.
But a Michigan law says a dealer must have a contract with an auto manufacturer to sell vehicles. And days ago state officials denied Tesla’s application to open its own dealership.
Now Tesla has filed a federal lawsuit against Michigan’s Secretary of State, Attorney General and Governor, alleging that being forced to sell through a franchised dealership is, in effect, an unconstitutional monopoly.
The Michigan Automobile Dealers Association counters that the current selling method promotes competition, benefits consumers and creates both jobs and tax revenue.
Some states have approved Tesla selling directly to customers. Other states prohibit it or allow it only under certain circumstances.