DETROIT -- Tesla Motors Inc. has yet to make a case for selling cars directly to Michigan consumers, according to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.
Snyder, who formerly served as an executive at Gateway, a personal computer company that relied on a direct-to-consumer sales model until 2008, said in an interview with Automotive News on Wednesday that the electric automaker hasn’t presented a viable argument to state government officials and lawmakers for selling its vehicles directly to consumers.
“I’m always open to having that discussion, it’s just that Tesla and the other people who want to do that need to present their case to the Legislature and see if they get people interested in moving on something like that,” Snyder said.
“I’ve sold a lot of computers, I know that model pretty well."
At a conference in metro Detroit today, Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s vice president of business development, responded to Snyder’s comments, saying the offer to help the automaker was an “empty gesture,” and that Snyder’s attitude toward Tesla given his history with Gateway was a “personal irony.”
“This is a model that’s non-controversial in communist China and socialist France,” O’Connell said. “Why should governments be dictating the models by which a manufacturer has access to the market.”