In its state-by-state, cause celebre crusade to win approval for direct sales of its electric vehicles, Tesla wins some and it loses some. Last week, it lost one.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill ensuring that Tesla can't sell cars directly to consumers in the state. But Snyder, who was once president of Gateway Inc., a PC manufacturer that sold directly to consumers, and who is seeking re-election this fall, did take heat for it.
Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert, founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, said: "To me, you have to have a philosophy, and you have to stick to it, and you can't let your personal circumstances compromise that."
As for auto dealers backing the legislation, Gilbert said: "Why don't you man up and compete like everybody else does?"
Tesla's factory-owned store model was already prohibited in Michigan, but the wording of its franchise law left an opening that the automaker could potentially exploit, as it has in Massachusetts.
In Michigan, the potential loophole is now closed.
"It wasn't the Tesla bill," Snyder told reporters after he signed the legislation. "It was a reaffirmation of strengthening existing Michigan law."