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Tesla's Fight With Car Dealers Could Help Decide the Next Presidential Election 282

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Marcus Wohlsen writes that the most recent ban against Tesla selling cars directly from the company instead of through third-party dealers was enacted in New Jersey with the support of Gov. Chris Christie, a possible contender for the GOP nomination. That prompted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Christie rival, to heartily defend Tesla's direct sales model. 'Customers should be allowed to buy products that fit their need,' says Rubio, 'especially a product that we know is safe and has consumer confidence beneath it.' Perhaps even more surprising is the love shown by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the once and possibly future presidential hopeful whose oil-rich state bars employees in Tesla's two showrooms from even telling potential customers how much the Model S costs. 'I think it's time for Texans to have an open conversation about this,' says Perry, 'the pros and the cons. I'm gonna think the pros of allowing this to happen outweigh the cons.' The sudden GOP embrace of an electric car company once reviled as a symbol of Northern California enivro-weenies might seem ironic says Wohlsen, but the real irony is that conservative politicians ever opposed Tesla at all.

'The widespread franchise rules giving car dealers virtual monopolies in their territories epitomize the government-controlled marketplace Republicans purportedly despise,' writes Wohlsen adding that possible presidential contenders realize there may be political capital to be gained in supporting Tesla. But the real winner is Tesla. If the company can manage to associate its brand with all the positive qualities Rubio and Perry hope rub off on them, few politicians will want to take the risk to stand against them. Mitt Romney called Tesla Motors a 'loser' company during his 2012 run for president. In 2016 running against Tesla might seem about as smart as running against Apple."
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Tesla's Fight With Car Dealers Could Help Decide the Next Presidential Election

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  • Re:To be fair (Score:5, Informative)

    by macpacheco ( 1764378 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @04:40PM (#46587459)

    The reality is electric cars are wayyyyy less profitable for "energy companies" than gasoline cars.
    Mainly because you can put this thing called solar panels on your roof and charge your cars with your own generated electricity (either directly, or sell your surplus to the grid during the day and buy it back in the wee hours when your car is home charging).
    Electric Vehicles + Solar panels are the kiss of death for all fossil fuel based energy companies.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @04:40PM (#46587461)

    people in NJ hate Christie

    Clearly, because we only elect people who are universally hated. [/sarcasm]

    and no President has ever lost his home state

    Would you care you try again using actual facts []?

  • by sudnshok ( 136477 ) * on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @05:03PM (#46587663)
    No one died as a result of this traffic jam. The media tried to claim that one person died to sensationalize the story and the family of that person came out and said that was untrue. Source []
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @05:13PM (#46587765) Journal

    And then he called them "consumers."

    Protip: That's the derogatory term economists use for the general public when they're feeling especially sociopathic.

    Manufacturer, Distributor, Wholesaler, Retailer, Customer, Consumer

    None of those terms are derogatory.
    All they do is describe different roles in the chain of commerce.

  • Re:Doubt it. (Score:5, Informative)

    by cbhacking ( 979169 ) <been_out_cruisin ... om ['hoo' in gap> on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @05:18PM (#46587817) Homepage Journal

    Repair? Tesla themselves, free of charge in many cases. They'll even come get the car for you if needed, most dealerships won't do that.
    Regular maintenance? *What* regular maintenance? Les Schwab or your preferred local alternative can rotate the tires and check the brakes for you. Not much else is needed... no oil, no spark plugs, no transmission (in the conventional sense), etc.

  • Re:Doubt it. (Score:4, Informative)

    by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @05:55PM (#46588191)

    In fact, you have to pay Tesla $600/yr for service. That includes roadside assistance and so on, and covers all of your service needs completely. It is a bit offensive though, and the news did lead to cancellations. It's a staggering amount of money compared even to a German car. On the other hand, I'd bet you a fairly large amount of money that it will simply have less failures in general than most other cars, simply by virtue of being an EV. On the gripping hand, there's no shortage of customers even with these terms.

    That $600/yr service is optional. It's recommended, and Tesla will cover all consumables except tires for it. And it's flat rate, too - it's just $600 a year for all the service you need.

    Most cars require a "major service" every couple of years, which can easily run into a couple thousand bucks, and service on German luxury vehicles can easily be $500 per visit, twice a year or more.

    Tesla, OTOH, charges $600 for it all inclusive. And it includes a loaner (for a few more bucks, they'll let you take out a Roadster instead) for the duration.

    It's a steal to get service for $600 all in, especially with all the perks. Dealers HATE Tesla because of it - they don't make much off selling new cars, the make it up selling service.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @07:17PM (#46588773)

    Or, there is an actual distinction between the two which is subtle but important.

    Customers and consumers are usually one and the same (someone buying something that they will use themselves). But there are a lot of times where they aren't the same person. A customer buying a gift for someone else for example. The customer paid for the good, but didn't actually consume it. The guy a company actually has to keep happy post-purchase is the consumer. The customer in this example is mostly concerned with the buying experience itself.

    Another example is a business sale for software. A company is the customer, but the workers at the company are the consumers. Although in this case, the consumers of the software can (and usually do) influence the decision of the company to continue being a customer or not.

    It doesn't help that the usage of consumer gets garbled by enough people that you get the same mess of how the word "theory" is used, and how it has different meanings depending on the context, and your personal views of what the word should mean in that context.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @07:54PM (#46589003) Journal

    No. Your chain-of-commerce should have ended at "customer". Any further actions do not qualify as commerce.

    1. There's more to commerce than the exchange of money.
    2. Your definition of consumer is a transparently biased straw man you've built up specifically so you can beat it down.

    For this conversation to be meaningful, we need a common definition.
    Heck, it'd probably help if you even read the fucking article

    "It's an established product," Rubio said. "Customers should be allowed to buy products that fit their need, especially a product that we know is safe and has consumer confidence beneath it."

    3. Rubio isn't even using "consumer" in the way that's got you Anonymous Cowards all hot and bothered.

    Is "consumer confidence" derogatory?
    Does it imply "mindless automatons?"
    Or maybe you ACs are just full of shit.

    Fuck. I don't even like Rubio's Tea Party politics,
    but I definitely dislike incorrect /. pedants even more.

Truth is free, but information costs.