Editor's note: An earlier version of this story used the incorrect photo for Don Hall.
The Virginia Automobile Dealers Association has called on state regulators to sanction Tesla Motors Inc. for what it calls "serious, systemic, and habitual violations" of state laws at its existing locations in the state, including offering illegal test drives at a shopping mall gallery.
In a 10-page letter to the Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Board dated May 31, VADA CEO Don Hall called for an investigation of Tesla's practices at its licensed dealership location in Tysons Corner and its unlicensed gallery at a nearby mall.
"VADA believes it has a duty to bring these repeated violations to the attention of the MVDB so that the MVDB may protect its credibility in the face of such reckless law-breaking," Hall wrote in the letter. He added in an email to Automotive News that the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board, the state agency charged with oversight of the auto dealer industry, has "100 percent authority to stop Tesla, thus our letter."
Hall said evidence of the alleged violations emerged in a Department of Motor Vehicles hearing on Tesla's bid for a second dealership license in the state. The dealers association is opposing that bid and filed a lawsuit against Tesla and the DMV in March to keep the second dealership from happening.
"Tesla Motors' gallery location at the Tysons Corner Mall is staffed with salespeople that meet with customers to configure and price out Tesla vehicles, as well as to provide demo rides to customers from that mall location," the letter alleges.
Virginia rules allow only unattended, static displays offsite from a dealer's licensed location.
Indeed, Gardner Britt of Ted Britt Ford was previously ordered by the state to shut down a display at a shopping mall because he had an employee stationed there, the letter noted.
A Tesla spokeswoman criticized the dealers association's actions. "The franchised dealer lobby in Virginia is taking every possible step, whether through lawsuits, PR campaigns or outright harassment, to try to prevent Virginians from being able to buy cars from Tesla," Khobi Brooklyn wrote in an email. "Each of these actions is legally wrongful and threatens to move Virginia backwards."
Among the other alleged violations the VADA accuses Tesla of in the letter: Failing to disclose online systems filing fees, taxes and government fees; and improper advertising.