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FTC Approves Tesla's Direct Sales Model

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the sell-how-you-want dept.

Transportation 328

cartechboy (2660665) writes "We've all read about Tesla and the ongoing battles its having with different dealer associations. Basically, dealer associations aren't too pleased about the Silicon Valley startup's direct sales model. Today the FTC has had made a statement on the matter and it's actually in favor of Tesla's direct sales model. 'In this case and others, many state and local regulators have eliminated the direct purchasing option for consumers, by taking steps to protect existing middlemen from new competition. We believe this is bad policy for a number of reasons,' wrote Andy Gavil, Debbie Feinstein, and Marty Gaynor in the FTC's 'Who decides how consumers should shop?' posting to the Competition Matters blog. The FTC appears to take issue not with those laws, but with how they're being used, and with the direct-sales bans being passed in several states. Now the only real question is how long will it be before Tesla prevails in all states?"

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banana republic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46838943)

Andy who?

FTA commented, not approved (5, Informative)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 5 months ago | (#46838951)

To be clear, FTA staff wrote a blog posting in which they approve of new ways in which consumers can shop for goods. They have not approved any new regulations related to Tesla. The summary is accurate, but the headline is a little off.

Re:FTA commented, not approved (2, Interesting)

flyneye (84093) | about 5 months ago | (#46839533)

To be clear, once the FTC would approve this, it would knock over the first domino to this in ANY state. Last time I looked, the Fed is Constitutionally required to regulate trade between the states. This isnt going to be a matter of states rights and wont be their decision.

Re:FTA commented, not approved (3, Insightful)

Talderas (1212466) | about 5 months ago | (#46839625)

The Fed isn't required to do anything. They're only given permission to do so.

Re:FTA commented, not approved (1, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#46839875)

"The Fed" is slang for the Federal Reserve Bank. As in "the Fed raised interest rates today".

"The Feds" (note the 's') is slang for the Federal Government. Which has power to regulate Interstate Commerce.

And yes, they have the power, but not the obligation - if they choose to ignore the issue, not much anyone can do about it.

Re:FTA commented, not approved (3, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#46840247)

But states are explicitly denied the power for that regulation, by the de facto interpretation of the 10th amendment.

Re:FTA commented, not approved (0)

Noxal (816780) | about 5 months ago | (#46839823)

What on Earth does the Federal Reserve have to do with any of this?

Re:FTA commented, not approved (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#46839957)

Obviously, it's a reserve of federals to do whatever you need them to do at the moment, one from which you can draw them at any time.

Re:FTA commented, not approved (1)

iamgnat (1015755) | about 5 months ago | (#46840303)

Last time I looked, the Fed is Constitutionally required to regulate trade between the states. This isnt going to be a matter of states rights and wont be their decision.

There is no such requirement. They are just granted the power to do so.

Furthermore this is about trade/sales within the state. None of these laws prevent you from buying a Tesla in another state and then taking it back to and registering it in your home state. This is about how the cars can be sold within a given state. So yes it does have a State's rights aspect and is in the State's rights to pass such laws as they see fit until such a time as it is contested and ruled on by the state's supreme court and/or SCOTUS.

Cheap Japanese study (-1, Offtopic)

hientham91 (3630857) | about 5 months ago | (#46838965)

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Re:Cheap Japanese study (0)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 5 months ago | (#46839059)

You desire to expand knowledge?

How much expanding will I have to do to decipher your post?

What does it mean? (3, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#46838969)

So, this doesn't sound binding, nor explicit. If the statement was "state laws restricting interstate commerce are unconstitutional, and anyone enforcing those laws will be taken to court by the US government" then it might mean something, but "we think its bad policy" means nothing. Socks with sandals is bad policy, but that doesn't mean the FTC will do anything about it.

Socks with sandals is a bad policy? (4, Funny)

cbhacking (979169) | about 5 months ago | (#46838999)

I'm from Seattle, you insensitive clod!

Re:What does it mean? (4, Interesting)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about 5 months ago | (#46839023)

Per the US constitution the Federal Government has the power to regulate interstate commerce. If they said that laws preventing direct marketing of interstate goods were unenforceable because it falls within the Fed's purview then many more laws would probably be affected. If they don't then it looks like the FTC is favoring Tesla. The only thing it wouldn't apply to is Alcohol, because the 21st amendment specifically gave the states the right to stop it from coming in.

Re:What does it mean? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#46839711)

The only thing it wouldn't apply to is Alcohol, because the 21st amendment specifically gave the states the right to stop it from coming in.

It doesn't matter if it applies to Alcohol. The constitution gives the federal government the right to regulate commerce, and the 21st amendment is how it chose to handle alcohol. That is the federal government regulating interstate commerce of alcohol!

Re:What does it mean? (5, Interesting)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 5 months ago | (#46839077)

Think of it as a warning shot. They're letting state legislatures know that they don't approve of these bans, so the local governments will have a chance to decide now whether they will back down or fight. Any court battle with the feds would be un-winnable, since the constitution clearly gives the feds the authority to set policy in this matter. By changing their rules now, the can avoid new federal rules and maintain some level of control over car sales in their state.

This will become a Federal case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839219)

The car dealerships are going to do everything they can to preservie their business. They will lobby their state's legiislature, make campaign contributions (more that they do now), have some "public service" advertising stating how they are a "benefit" to the community and that Tesla is some greedy out of state Californian copmany that just doesn't understand "us" and lastly, look at all the jobs dealerships provide.

It is inevidtable - when the incumbant business becomes out of date, instead of adjusting, they fight tooth and nail.

This will go to the Federal level - probably the SCOTUS. It will happen.

Re:This will become a Federal case (1)

JRV31 (2962911) | about 5 months ago | (#46839781)

Sounds like 1948 and Tucker all over again. Go Tesla!

Re:What does it mean? (3, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 months ago | (#46839227)

From an amateur understanding, interstate commerce as originally meant in the constitution meant that states couldn't stop traffic, i.e. Virginia couldn't stop commerce traffic intended for Maryland from North Carolina by instituting a tax or some such aimed soley at these merchants. Exactly how it sound, interstate commerce, between states.

Now, interstate commerce has been twisted in past decades to mean some really weird shit, which is how the feds control drugs that can be grown in one state and will never necessarily leave it....

But I don't see how a state saying how things must be sold in itself is interfering in interstate commerce. That's solely intrastate commerce. It's not a law targeted at soley out of state manufacturers by design (even if that ends up being the case) and it applicable to all makers.

Let be clear that I don't support the law, but this reading of the constition is strange and what allows the Feds to overstep all bounds.

Re:What does it mean? (4, Insightful)

ElBeano (570883) | about 5 months ago | (#46839239)

Where are Teslas made? How is prohibiting direct sales NOT interfering in interstate commerce in states where they are attempting sales?

Re:What does it mean? (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 5 months ago | (#46840207)

How? By not prohibiting the sale itself, only who is making the sale. Tesla can sell all the cars they want, as long as they use local dealers to do so. Therefore interstate commerce is not prohibited. Still a dumb law, but I don't see anything here that makes it unconstitutional or federal.

Controlled substances can only be sold through pharmacies by licensed pharmacists. And new cars can only be sold through local car dealerships. Now why only local car dealerships should be allowed to sell cars, or why we're equating new cars to controlled substances, I don't understand. But we are, and it's legal for the states to make dumb laws like this.

Re:What does it mean? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#46840217)

Where are Teslas made? How is prohibiting direct sales NOT interfering in interstate commerce in states where they are attempting sales?

Because saying "you have to sell that this way" isn't the same as saying "you can't sell that here," or "you have to pay a special tax if you want to transport goods through our state."

Otherwise, California would not be able to, say, restrict the sale of certain firearms that are legal in other states.

Re:What does it mean? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 months ago | (#46840353)

Effectively, they can't sell it. Their business model is afflicted by conflict of interest in that way, or by onerous requirements. It's like if you said they could only sell by direct line to God to relay prayer for a Tesla.

Re:What does it mean? (2)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 5 months ago | (#46839245)

The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." That doesn't sound like they're just talking about goods passing through states that aren't a party to the trade to me. To me it sounds like they're definitely saying the feds have the authority to make rules about how car made in California can be sold sold in New Jersey.

Re:What does it mean? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 months ago | (#46839479)

No, that doesn't make sense. Because you are saying that New Jersey cannot regulate sales of cars in their own state because of where they are made.

Or did the longstanding rules (much older than NJ rules) in several of these states become unconstitutional because they apply to Tesla where before they only applied to Detroit/Japan/etc?

Re:What does it mean? (1)

swb (14022) | about 5 months ago | (#46839517)

I think it's just extremely broad and could mean anything and I think the courts have generally sided with the Feds when they decided to invoke the commerce clause.

Re:What does it mean? (1)

ElBeano (570883) | about 5 months ago | (#46839541)

No, that doesn't make sense. Because you are saying that New Jersey cannot regulate sales of cars in their own state because of where they are made.

Or did the longstanding rules (much older than NJ rules) in several of these states become unconstitutional because they apply to Tesla where before they only applied to Detroit/Japan/etc?

Is there any sale more basic than a direct sale? How can banning such a sale, for vehicles made in another state, not be interfering with interstate commerce? Were Teslas actually made in NJ, the laws prohibiting direct sales would not be interfering. So, you are correct that the state of manufacture is relevant, but for opposite the reason your suggesting. As to cars made in another country? This is irrelevant to the matter at hand.

Protecting middlemen (2)

sjbe (173966) | about 5 months ago | (#46839787)

No, that doesn't make sense. Because you are saying that New Jersey cannot regulate sales of cars in their own state because of where they are made.

New Jersey should NOT have the right to restrict a citizen from purchasing a product made in another state (or even within New Jersey) in order to protect an unnecessary middleman in the transaction. That is what is happening here. The laws are not in place to protect citizens, they are in place to protect dealers and their frankly obsolete business model.

Re:Protecting middlemen (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#46840267)

No, that doesn't make sense. Because you are saying that New Jersey cannot regulate sales of cars in their own state because of where they are made.

New Jersey should NOT have the right to restrict a citizen from purchasing a product made in another state (or even within New Jersey) in order to protect an unnecessary middleman in the transaction. That is what is happening here. The laws are not in place to protect citizens, they are in place to protect dealers and their frankly obsolete business model.

By that logic, California shouldn't have the right to restrict a citizen from purchasing a firearm made in another state.

I'd bet dollars against pesos that at least some of the people arguing for Tesla's "right" to direct sales in other states would also argue against the firearms manufacturers "right" to direct sales in CA.

Re:Protecting middlemen (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 months ago | (#46840371)

That depends on if firearms are contraband in California or if you're simply not allowed to purchase out-of-state firearms.

Re:What does it mean? (1)

wolrahnaes (632574) | about 5 months ago | (#46840013)

Or did the longstanding rules (much older than NJ rules) in several of these states become unconstitutional because they apply to Tesla where before they only applied to Detroit/Japan/etc?

Just because it's longstanding doesn't mean it's constitutional or right. See the Pledge for example. Unconstitutional since 1954, but it remains because various courts keep finding ways to drop the cases on technicalities rather than actually making a decision on the issue.

Re:What does it mean? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 5 months ago | (#46840373)

How is the Pledge unconstitutional?

Re:What does it mean? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 5 months ago | (#46839537)

Yes, but has Congress passed any laws regulating this? That clause does NOT give the FTC any authority whatsoever, in as much as that clause gives authority to the federal government, it gives that authority to Congress. Until Congress passes a law on the subject, the FTC has no authority to make a rule.

Re: What does it mean? (1)

kenh (9056) | about 5 months ago | (#46839907)

Consider healthcare coverage (I'm sorry, but it is an easily accessible example) - by law health insurance can not be sold across state lines yet the federal government has in the last few years exerted tremendous regulatory control over this market.

Somehow it was argued that the individual that chooses not to buy health insurance coverage has as great, if not greater, impact on the healthcare market as the individual that actually participates in the healthcare market...

Re: What does it mean? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#46840287)

Consider healthcare coverage (I'm sorry, but it is an easily accessible example) - by law health insurance can not be sold across state lines yet the federal government has in the last few years exerted tremendous regulatory control over this market.

Somehow it was argued that the individual that chooses not to buy health insurance coverage has as great, if not greater, impact on the healthcare market as the individual that actually participates in the healthcare market...

You think that's an unreasonable application of the Commerce Clause? Go read the Wiki page for Wickard v Filburn. [wikipedia.org]

It'll blow your friggin' mind.

Re:What does it mean? (2)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 5 months ago | (#46839521)

The constitution gives Congress authority to set policy in this. Unless Congress has passed a law on this, the FTC has no authority on the subject. I am not familiar with all of the laws authorizing the FTC, but, considering that the laws requiring car sales through dealerships have been around for a long time, it is unlikely that Congress has passed any laws overriding those state laws.

Re:What does it mean? (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | about 5 months ago | (#46840065)

The creation of the FTC is the law Congress passed in order to deal with these issues.

So yes, the FTC DOES in fact have the authority, because Congress gave it to them back in 1914.
=Smidge=

Re:What does it mean? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 5 months ago | (#46839483)

That is because, while such laws are bad policy, they are not unconstitutional.

Re:What does it mean? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#46839639)

So the states are allowed to legislate interstate commerce, and the feds can't?

Re:What does it mean? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 5 months ago | (#46840061)

I did not say that Congress cannot pass a law on this. I said that these laws are not unconstitutional. If Congress passed a law on this subject, it would almost certainly supersede the state laws. However, as far as I am aware, Congress has passed no such law, which means the FTC has no authority to regulate this. The Constitution does give any authority to the FTC. The FTC only has whatever authority Congress has delegated to it and, as I said, at this point I am unaware of any law passed by Congress giving the FTC, or any other department, authority overthis.

Re:What does it mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46840011)

Socks with sandals is bad policy

Could you please explain this to the Germans?

Manufacturing & Marketing One's Product (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839051)

It is very unsettling to hear sales groups that are not part of a manufacturing process to be running to lawmakers demanding that Tesla not be able to sell its own highly efficient automobile. It is the only new automobile I will ever purchase, and I will not be looking for one being sold by those who would block Tesla's right to sell their own product. (.)

or (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839085)

Try adapting your outdated business model?

Re:or (4, Informative)

Sique (173459) | about 5 months ago | (#46839165)

You could actually read the blog post referenced in TFA, then you would know about the background. At first, car manufacturers were relying on local dealers to reach consumers, as 100 years ago, there were not much alternatives. But the manufacturer as the sole source of the product, the dealer was selling had much leverage in pressuring the car dealers to act in ways that benefitted the manufacturer but not the dealer (e.g. pressuring him to list certain cars for specified prices, unlist others, offer certain services etc.pp.), by threatening e.g. to open another car dealership in the vincinity, giving better conditions to dealers that agreed to the conditions etc.pp.

Thus several laws were passed to protect the car dealer from to much pressurer by the manufacturer, and one important detail was forbidding car manufacturers to operate their own dealerships in competition to the independent dealer. But Tesla Motors doesn't even sell via independent car dealers, thus they aren't in competition to dealers of their own products. In this case, all the laws passed to protect independent dealerships from too much leverage of their own supplier don't make sense, as there is exactly zero pressure from Tesla to its dealerships, as as there are none.

Re:or (4, Insightful)

bhagwad (1426855) | about 5 months ago | (#46839359)

I'm not sure why this "pressure" that car manufacturers put on dealers is a bad thing. They manufacture the product, and if they have the leverage to dictate how it will be sold, good for them. I'm not sure what compelling state interest is served by artificially restricting the way manufacturers can sell their cars.

Re:or (1)

Sique (173459) | about 5 months ago | (#46839435)

The fact that there have been numerous abuses of the monopoly power of the manufacturer. Per iure, the car dealerships were independent, but de facto, they had to agree to exclusive contracts, thus they were dependent on a single supplier and had to follow each of their whims without much recourse. Car dealerships which didn't agree to exclusive contracts got worse conditions, and the manufacturers were opening new or contracting with existant dealerships in the neighborhood with exclusive contracts and much better conditions.

Re:or (4, Insightful)

bhagwad (1426855) | about 5 months ago | (#46839531)

I don't think anyone has a god given right to be a dealer and sell someone else's cars. Sure, it sucks to be a dealer who has no choice but to agree to a car manufacturer's conditions...but so what? Life is tough...

Re:or (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 months ago | (#46840197)

The fact that there have been numerous abuses of the monopoly power of the manufacturer.

Car manufacturers were never a monopoly. There have always been lots of different manufacturers, in fact moreso in the past than now. I'm pretty sure there were dozens of brands in the first half of the 20th century.

Per iure, the car dealerships were independent, but de facto, they had to agree to exclusive contracts, thus they were dependent on a single supplier and had to follow each of their whims without much recourse.

Too bad, so sad. That's the deal when you become a franchisee. If you don't like it, don't open a franchise. Franchises are generally very stupid investments anyway (when there aren't protectionist laws in place). Just look at the terms and conditions and costs to open a McDonald's franchise.

Re:or (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | about 5 months ago | (#46840245)

Dealers don't sell cars on behalf of the manufacturer, they buy the cars from the manufacturer and re-sell them.

Part of the abuses was manufacturers forcing dealers to buy cars. This enabled the manufacturers to continue making profits and claim sales numbers even though the cars never left the dealer's lots.

See also the "Automobile Dealer's Day in Court Act" - 1956.
=Smidge=

Re:or (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 months ago | (#46839391)

At first, car manufacturers were relying on local dealers to reach consumers, as 100 years ago, there were not much alternatives.

100 years ago wasn't the alternative a horse?

Re:or (2)

Tar-Alcarin (1325441) | about 5 months ago | (#46839557)

At first, car manufacturers were relying on local dealers to reach consumers, as 100 years ago, there were not much alternatives.

100 years ago wasn't the alternative a horse?

Not to say the horse wasn't an alternative (it still is, really), but the modern automobile dates from ca 1886. Mass production started as early as 1902. The first truly affordable model (Ford Model T) didn't come out until 1927, but since we're talking about Teslas, we're not really comparing to "affordable" cars. Yeah, I know, the economics behind an electric vehicle are a bit different, but it's still a fairly huge expenditure.

Thus to answer your question: Yes, 100 years back sounds about right.

Re:or (2)

JRV31 (2962911) | about 5 months ago | (#46839859)

The model T was introduced in1909, 1927 was the end of it's run.

Re:or (1)

Tar-Alcarin (1325441) | about 5 months ago | (#46840145)

I stand corrected.

Re: or (1)

kenh (9056) | about 5 months ago | (#46839929)

There were many, many different car manufacturers in 1914 (100 years ago) - just look here. [earlyameri...obiles.com]

Re:or (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 5 months ago | (#46839465)

There is that and the fact that Tesla's aren't going to need as much maintenance as a regular car. you don't need regular oil changes, etc.

Yes you will need brake repairs, and tire repairs, but for the most part things like that in cars only happen every 30k miles or more. you don't have the constant tiny repair jobs that keep dealerships going.

Re:or (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 5 months ago | (#46839967)

There is that and the fact that Tesla's aren't going to need as much maintenance as a regular car. you don't need regular oil changes, etc.

Well, I'm not so sure about that - the Tesla S apparently has a $600/year service schedule... which largely seems to be an inspection - sounds expensive for an inspection to me...

Re:or (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 5 months ago | (#46840249)

Only a complete moron would go to a dealership for new tires. Tire shops are everywhere these days. Any tire shop could replace the tires on a Tesla.

The other things in Teslas aren't really special either; the brakes are standard Brembo calipers IIRC, so any independent mechanic could change those easily. The brake system is a standard off-the-shelf ABS system, so anyone change the fluid easily, just like any other modern car. The A/C system is just like any other car's, and R-134a fittings are all standardized by federal law, so any automotive A/C service shop could handle refrigerant recharches. The shocks on normal models aren't anything special (the air struts are, but only some have those, but even so they're nothing a decent mechanic couldn't deal with). The wheel bearings and ball joints are just like any other car. The only thing that's really different and odd is the electric motor itself, and that's not likely to need any kind of service over its lifetime since it's a brushless induction motor.

Will not matter. (0)

will_die (586523) | about 5 months ago | (#46839137)

The reasons all these states have this law related to cars is because they are big purchase items and based on past problems they are requiring that the purchaser has some in state method of getting the product fix or for resolving problems. If I purchase a $59 game and the the only method of recorse is to take it to court in California it is not a major problem, however with a $80,000 car it is.

Why is there so much about tesla anyways this is a product designed for the 0.0001%.

Re:Will not matter. (5, Insightful)

davidhoude (1868300) | about 5 months ago | (#46839295)

this is a product designed for the 0.0001%.

Come on now...

Society worldwide is changing towards renewable energy. While Tesla's cars might not be perfect right now, they are a step in the right direction. It is so hard to go up against an established industry, especially when they have such large lobbying budgets. I hope you can understand that this isn't just about Tesla, it's about new businesses being able to compete.

And for the 0.0001% give me a break. These cars may be expensive and considered a luxury item, but it doesn't mean they cannot be afforded by middle to upper middle class. Also, new technology is expensive, that's how it works. If they don't sell any new cars due to archaic laws, how do you expect the price to drop?

This topic is very interesting to watch unfold, and I think many slashdotters would agree with me.

Re: Will not matter. (3, Insightful)

kenh (9056) | about 5 months ago | (#46839989)

"this is a product designed for the 0.0001%"

That's a pretty small market segment, 0.0001% of 330 million US citizens comes out to a few thousand Teslas.

BTW, the Tesla 'S' lists for just under $60K/year, it isn't that much more than a well-equipped Chevy Suburban or imported SUV (Mercedes, BMW, Land Rover). Based on combined sales volumes, that may put it squarely in the 10%er's price range...

Re:Will not matter. (1)

Barsteward (969998) | about 5 months ago | (#46839401)

Its taken 150 years for ICE to get to this level of fuel economy, cleaner exhaust fumes and power output. I bet in the early years of the ICE was only relevant to less than your estimate for electric cars.

"Why is there so much about tesla anyways" - because all the vested interests in ICE and fossil fuel are looking to the future and seeing a decline so they are putting as many stupid road blocks in the way of progress as possible. Maybe they are going to join forces with the RIAA soon

Re:Will not matter. (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#46839725)

The reasons all these states have this law related to cars is because they are big purchase items and based on past problems they are requiring that the purchaser has some in state method of getting the product fix or for resolving problems.

That is a typically stupid thing to say on slashdot. The reason that all these states have these laws is massive lobbying. If the goal were to protect the consumer, then all of these states would mandate that repair information down to every last OBD-II code or similar (all the info needed to reprogram and/or recode all the modules) would be available to the purchaser of the vehicle, and that they could freely redistribute it to anyone who was working on the vehicle. That's not the laws we have. Instead, we have protectionist laws which actually screw the customer, by preventing competition. The laws are actually for the opposite purpose that you think; they're there to make it harder to service your vehicle, so that its value depreciates more rapidly, and you are forced to buy another one before it can no longer be repaired because it can no longer practically be repaired.

Why is there so much about tesla anyways this is a product designed for the 0.0001%.

You must be new here.

Re:Will not matter. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 5 months ago | (#46839993)

Why is there so much about tesla anyways this is a product designed for the 0.0001%.

You have too many zeroes there - as of this past December, there were 25k+ Teslas on the road worldwide, which would make the Tesla "a product designed for the 0.001%".

Note that 20k+ Teslas have been sold in the US, making the Tesla "a product designed for the 0.01%"...

Note also that the Model T, in its first year, sold only 239 vehicles. Which would have made the Model T Ford "a product designed for the 0.0001%"....

Re:Will not matter. (1)

confused one (671304) | about 5 months ago | (#46840187)

the original reason for the laws requiring and protecting franchises has nothing to do with resolving problems. It had to do with protecting small dealerships from monopolistic behaviors of the big three back when this whole car thing was still new. After they got established, they wanted to eliminate the franchise dealers and open their own branded sales and service centers. They (the manufacturers) started doing underhanded things like refusing to sell parts to existing franchisees. Dealerships becoming the manufacturer's authorized service centers did fall out of this, as part of the deal.

In a lot of ways, these laws have outlived their usefulness.

As to targeting the top "0.0001%": Most automotive technology is introduced at the upper end of the product line. This has been true since the early 1900's, with rare exceptions. (Ford's innovations with the model T, most of which were in the manufacturing, are among the earliest examples of exceptions). Modern technologies like direct injection engines, heads up displays, rearview cameras, navigation and so on, show up in the $50-75k cars from most manufacturers before they filter down to the Civics, Focuses, and Sentras of the world market. By the time they do show up in the $15-25k bracket the tech is well tested and most of the bugs are usually worked out.

I'll grant you that Tesla's first target customers are the ones with lots of disposable income. He's pushing new technologies to the most profitable end of the market first, in order to get established. Tesla has repeatedly indicated they intend to put $50k and eventually $35k cars onto the market. Frankly, they're too small to go after the $15k-20k bracket, where the profit margins on cars get thin, and they clearly know that. They're partnering with other manufacturers like Daimler and Toyota to get their technology into other markets, markets outside of their current reach.

Re:Will not matter. (1)

jameshofo (1454841) | about 5 months ago | (#46840229)

Why is there so much about computers,

"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." Ken Olsen, co-founder of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977

Snopes [snopes.com]

Thank God (3, Interesting)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 5 months ago | (#46839161)

Frankly the stakes are so high that i would not be shocked to see murders in an effort to shut down Tesla. We all need Tesla to succeed big time. The powers that be would do far better to develop a cheaper, better, electric car in order to compete with Tesla than playing all kinds of negative games trying to do Tesla harm. Change is upon us all and there are times when change can sting us all a bit. That does not mean we should get all negative and perverted in our responses to change.

Re:Thank God (4, Informative)

NoZart (961808) | about 5 months ago | (#46839285)

Sadly, a big part of the population is very change-averse, because routine/conditioning is easier than adapting to new situations. Maybe this is evolutionary, because short term it's more "energy efficient".

Just look at the whole start-button thing with windows 8. While nearly everyone STILL argues around this little change and how bad it is because the old Startmenu is just the way how things were done for 20 years (which really is the only real argument, as all others are straw men), it really is an improvement in several ways IF one takes the time to adapt to work with it. Yet, even intellectually competent people bash it because it's just CHANGE.

And as this change-averseness (?) is not restricted to the "lower classes" but runs through the whole population, the stupid people will groan at the effort they have to make (and due to mass, loudly) and the intelligent ones will make the decisions to keep things the way they are....

Re:Thank God (1)

Barsteward (969998) | about 5 months ago | (#46839415)

"Just look at the whole start-button thing with windows 8. " - you could change your comment to "Just look at Windows".

Re:Thank God (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839441)

Just look at the whole start-button thing with windows 8. While nearly everyone STILL argues around this little change and how bad it is because the old Startmenu is just the way how things were done for 20 years (which really is the only real argument, as all others are straw men), it really is an improvement in several ways IF one takes the time to adapt to work with it. Yet, even intellectually competent people bash it because it's just CHANGE.

Computer-challenged tablet-only people might think Win 8 is wonderful. Even IF I had a touch screen Win 8 still wouldn't be an improvement.

Since you're either a troll or a fool, press the Windows key. Instead of a menu where I can type 'sublime', 'acrobat' or 'msconfig', now the big touch-oriented interface pops up. On any given day I will use Notepad, Wordpad, SublimeText, Acrobat Reader, Acrobat PRO, VLC, cmd, msconfig, antivirus (pick), chrome, firefox, MS-Word, MS-Access, Powerpoint and others.

No I don't want to configure or use the START-SCREEN or whatever they call it. The new interface mess up my workflow for NO BENEFIT. You my friend, are the stupid one. Change for the sake of change is foolish.

Switching to an electric car does NOT interfere with or change your normal usage of a car.

Re:Thank God (1)

NoZart (961808) | about 5 months ago | (#46839527)

blablabla. press windows and type, just as before works the same way, even better.

Nobody uses the Windows key (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 5 months ago | (#46839863)

press windows and type, just as before works the same way, even better.

I know almost no one who actually works with Windows that way. Seriously, barely anyone uses the windows key on their keyboard. They get their mouse and start clicking. Slower but that's how they do it.

Re:Thank God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839649)

You use Notepad?

Re:Thank God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839491)

which really is the only real argument, as all others are straw men

Absolutely untrue. The sheer amount of mouse movement needed to navigate the Metro interface is far, far more than is needed for the traditional Start menu to start any given program, plus the Metro menu is a mess when it comes to the way program menus are organized. There are plenty of other solid reasons for preferring the Start menu that have nothing to do with routine/conditioning.

Re:Thank God (1)

NoZart (961808) | about 5 months ago | (#46839555)

maybe it's just personal preference, but i find big mouse movements that need low precision to work faster/better for me. I nearly never used the start menue below win 8 because aiming at those small lines of text and navigating the cascading submenues that tended to appear way more demanding in concentration then having big targets where i just need to "fart in their general direction"

Re:Thank God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839499)

Just look at the whole start-button thing with windows 8. While nearly everyone STILL argues around this little change and how bad it is because the old Startmenu is just the way how things were done for 20 years (which really is the only real straw man, as all others are arguments).

ftfy

Consumer change aversion != scheming by lobby (4, Insightful)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 5 months ago | (#46839611)

Please do not conflate these two issues. On one hand consumers, or a section of consumers are change averse. On the other hand established interests are lobbying to preserve their stranglehold on the market by putting road blocks to competition. These two are not the same.

If there was a group that benefitted financially by the presence of start button, and it lobbied state governments to prevent Microsoft from taking it away then you would have the comparison right and you realize how ridiculous it is.

Re:Consumer change aversion != scheming by lobby (1)

NoZart (961808) | about 5 months ago | (#46839673)

I get your point. I just think putting up roadblocks for competition (in this particular context) is just another way to achieve the same thing: to keep things the way that they are. "established interests", "preserving hold" are words that (for me) sound exactly like something that is averse to change.

But maybe it's just me not being a native speaker ;)

Re:Thank God (5, Insightful)

rezme (1677208) | about 5 months ago | (#46839613)

I'd disagree with the comparison to Windows 8. If you must use the start button debate as a point of reference, a more apt analogy would be if Tesla were to change the pedal style accelerator (the standard interface to "go" in a car ever since cars started being built) with a trigger mounted to the steering wheel. Changing the guts under the hood in Windows wouldn't be a complaint for most people (barring major issues in how the OS performed as a result) but changing the interface that has been the standard for 20 years on a desktop computer is idiocy. It's not change for improvement's sake (as with Tesla's advancing powerplant technology) but rather change for the sake of change alone, without any appreciable improvement in efficiency in the operation of the product. Metro works fine for touch based devices, but not all desktop/laptops are touch, and to be frank touch interfaces are far less efficient than a mouse in a desktop environment. Who wants to sit at their desk with their hands on the keyboard and, when needing to interact with the GUI, have to reach up and touch the monitor rather than moving their hand over a few inches to move the mouse.

Re:Thank God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839671)

> (the standard interface to "go" in a car ever since cars started being built)

Some of us remember a time before windows 95. thanks you very much

Re:Thank God (2)

rezme (1677208) | about 5 months ago | (#46839733)

As do I, thank you very much, but it was the most efficient interface for the scenario. There were early alternative interfaces for cars that didn't make the cut either. I'm not denigrating Win8 for its usage in tablet environments, that's a new hardware space and the interface makes sense for that scenario, I'm just saying that a unified interface like that is a stupid idea cross platform, because it's inefficient in the desktop space (which I note your response fails to rebut). The desktop computer is not going away, as much as Microsoft would love for it to. It will always have its place among power users. If you don't need to do anything beyond what a tablet can do, then great, I'm happy that the Win8 interface works for you, but putting others down for having an issue with having their workflow interrupted in order to foist more useless eye candy on them is rude and it shows your lack of understanding about the issue in the first place.

Re:Thank God (1)

NoZart (961808) | about 5 months ago | (#46839927)

(not the AC from above)
I think the Metro is inefficient when compared to how one worked with the start menu. But on it's own, it brings a few things that i personally find faster to work with:

- bigger targets: As I said before, moving the mouse faster with lower precision is easier than having to aim exactly (especially when it comes to cascading sub menues). I would compare it to how OSX puts the things for the focused window on top of the screen vs. at the top of the window - you just slam the mouse upwards and only have to navigate in one dimension.
- winkey + typing: the windows 8 interface provides me with direct links to every imaginable subsetting in some 3rd window that i would have to click through otherwise. For the most things, you wouldn't even need to finish typing to get the link. Also, it somehow manages to present you with results even if you type a different word to get to the same function: If i type "wlan" or "wifi", i get presented with a link to the "wireless" window (granted, this subfeature needs improvement)

I often read the argument that the start screen breaks "immersion" - i see no difference compared to the old start menu. When i open the start menu, my mental focus is there anyway, regardless if it's small and in the corner (needs more concentration but can see the desktop) or if the screen gets blocked by it (cant see the desktop, but due to higher selection speed i am back earlier)

Disclaimer: i use metro exclusively as the start and search function. The App part and settings part are completely stupid and ignorable (but thankfully, they don't mess with my traditional aspects of working on the desktop)

I was not trying to put down anyone. Sorry for my tone. "stupid" people and "lower classes" were used inappropriately but i didn't know how to express myself (not a native speaker)

Re:Thank God (2)

rezme (1677208) | about 5 months ago | (#46839981)

re: the tone, fair enough. It's often easy to stomp on toes when you're speaking in your non-native language. Re: efficiency, I do a lot of development work with VM environments for my job. As a result, I'm working out of a window for my environment, and recently I've had the misfortune of having to deal with Server 2012. Like Win8, they've forced the metro interface in that environment (I won't even go into my opinion regarding pushing this interface onto a server OS). One of my chief complaints is that in order to get to the control panel, or any other settings (or even to power down the system) I have to drag the mouse to the lower right corner of the "desktop" in order to pop up that settings icon to click on it. It only shows up when your mouse is in the furthest lower right corner of the screen, but since I'm in a VM environment, my mouse slips past that lowest point and out of the window frequently. It's a dumb way to provide access to that section of the OS, and it serves no purpose toward efficiency. It's a band-aid approach to provide functionality to the non-touch environment. I don't want an OS where the environment that I spend 90% of my computing time has a crowbarred work-around as the primary means of getting into the guts of the OS. Metro is great for what it is, the problem is that MS wants it to be great for everything, and that's just never going to happen. Tools should suit the job, rather than trying to wrap the job around the tool you have available.

Re:Thank God (1)

NoZart (961808) | about 5 months ago | (#46840123)

i am in a familiar situation, actually. Systems engineer. To make things worse, our VM solution doesn't forward shortcuts.

If your VM env provides shortcuts: win x for the hidden start menu, or win c for the sidebar (which hopefully will disappear soon anyway as it's completely redundant).
If it doesn't: winbutton, type "sett", enter (or instead of sett, just type the name of the setting you want to change)

yes, this is different to the old approach, but after some adjustment time to this win + typing ANYTHING approach, you will find you spend less time navigating 3-6 windows to get to its guts.

I get where you are coming from, and i had the same issues initially. The side band thingies are really some good work of stupidity. As i mentioned before, i exclusively use metro for starting programs and search for settings windows or files.

I am completely with you on how the unified interface is a bad approach.

Re:Thank God (5, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 5 months ago | (#46839719)

Did I just read a computer analogy in an article about cars?

Re:Thank God (1)

NoZart (961808) | about 5 months ago | (#46839729)

It's the new "in russia..." thing :)

Re:Thank God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839997)

On Slashdot? UnPOSSIBLE!

Re:Thank God (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46840049)

Did I just read a computer analogy in an article about cars?

In Soviet Russia, car analogy makes you!

Re:Thank God (1)

confused one (671304) | about 5 months ago | (#46840215)

OK, I'll give you credit that your basic premise is good; but, I take exception to the Windows 8 example. They made it easier to use in some cases, and harder in others. In my application, it often takes an extra step to reach what I want, without creating a bunch of extra tiles and desktop icons. Yeah, it's only one swipe or a mouse click more, but that's going in the wrong direction.

Re:Thank God (3, Insightful)

Blymie (231220) | about 5 months ago | (#46839299)

But they are developing their electric own cars. All car manufacturers are.

The lobbying is a tool they are using, the laws, to hold back Telsa until they have a suitably competitive product to sell.

Once that happens, it won't matter is a Telsa can sell direct ... the big boys can crush them with advertising and normal market pressure.

Re:Thank God (4, Interesting)

Smallpond (221300) | about 5 months ago | (#46839841)

The manufacturers are pretending to develop electric cars. They have an interest in preserving the status quo. When GM first developed an electric concept car, they named it the "Impact". It's hard to imagine a scarier name for a small, light-weight car. They cancelled the EV-1 despite the customers who loved it.

Conspiracy theory? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839403)

You realize they could just set up a local state dealer and sell through them? It puts the tax in the state which is what they're after.

Always Tesla takes the confrontational approach. Top Gear gives them a bad review because the car breaks down? So they sue Top Gear (and lose). NYT reviewer gives them a bad review because the car drains its power in the cold? Tesla attacks them on the micro-detail of the review instead of improving the cold weather performance. Here they could simply work within the State laws instead its a full on attack. Cars catches fire? Attack the press for reporting it...

Meanwhile everyone else makes electric cars without all the drama queen nonsense!

Re:Thank God (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839659)

The powers that be would do far better to develop a cheaper, better, electric car in order to compete with Tesla

If they intended to compete fairly, they wouldn't be "the powers that be". The problem isn't that such people exist; the problem is that power exists. Eliminate their ability to employ coercion as their means, and there will be no coercion.

mod Up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839169)

no maater how the accounting

Whitehouse Petition on Tesla Sales (1)

MrLogic17 (233498) | about 5 months ago | (#46839607)

It's symbolic, as has been shown with many other petitions that the president has ignored, but here goes:

https://petitions.whitehouse.g... [whitehouse.gov]

Tesla is a bad model (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839721)

Tesla is a bad automobile dealer model anyway. Everyone who knows about Tesla is aware that they lose money on Tesla cars. Its the carbon credits that Tesla makes money on to balance out the loses. The other scary thing nobody talks about is the expense of replacing the batteries when they wear out. That cost is estimated to be well above the used car value of the Tesla car when they need replacing. Thus making the car worthless to the owner. The direct purchase ideal was simply done as a financial need to Tesla and not really trying to change how cars are bought. I have no problem with a direct purchase model as I too believe the dealer network is just another way to stifle competition. But Tesla has far more issues like the battery costs going forward to challenge the dealer network program.
Unless they can find a way to manufacture batteries cheaply, their cars will be short lived and the business model not sustainable anyway. They need to sell far more cars then they are selling now to even think about making money on them alone.

Re: Tesla is a bad model (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46839961)

Yeah, Tesla should look in to building a big factory where they could build less expensive batteries or something. I wonder if that is something they're considering...

...In all states? (1)

kenh (9056) | about 5 months ago | (#46839795)

Now the only real question is how long will it be before Tesla prevails in all states?

I will admit to being just a casual observer of the trials and tribulations Tesla is going through with their direct sales model, but has Tesla actually won ANY of cases where state laws prohibit direct sales of cars?

More Consistent Laws (1)

runningduck (810975) | about 5 months ago | (#46839951)

I think the problem with the current situation is inconsistent laws. I understand why dealership laws exist. I even support a state's right to prevent direct selling of vehicles. But the Interstate Commerce Clause absolutely prevents states from barring the an out of state sale and the transport of the otherwise perfectly legal product back in state as if should.

I think that the missing law is one which prevents states from taxing purchases made in other states. Such Nevada, Texas, Arizona and Virginia can prevent me from purchasing a Tesla in their states. But why are they allowed to then tax my purchase? The underlying justification for a sales tax is to cover the cost incurred by state and local governments which provide countless services facilitating the sales and trading of goods. If they interfere with the sales and trading goods then they have no basis for levying a sales tax on those goods. And as long as those goods are otherwise legal I should be free to purchase these goods in other states and ship them to my home . . . free of any local sales tax.

Re:More Consistent Laws (1)

confused one (671304) | about 5 months ago | (#46840273)

So you're arguing that you should be able to use the "I bought it in another state" loophole to avoid sales taxes? Then why would anyone buy anything in their home state? You're arguing that we should all drive over the nearest border and pick up what we want tax free. Or order 100% of our goods from internet providers out of state, to avoid all sales taxes. If you do that, you eliminate a tax revenue stream. Lawmakers know this, and they write the law to prevent it.

There is a legitimate question (2)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#46840129)

I'm firmly on the side of allowing Tesla to try out an unconventional sales model, but what does happen, exactly, when your Tesla needs service? Are you supposed to handle in-warranty service using the standard electronics model - request an RMA, mail your car in to Moonachie, NJ, and then wait several weeks? Conventional dealerships are used by many buyers as a trusted service base, and this is especially going to be true for the early adopters who are buying Teslas now.

And since it will be years before regular garage mechanics will be able to work on Teslas, how does the company intend to handle road service and after-warranty service?

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