Startup electric vehicle manufacturers are pursuing legislation in multiple states that would allow them to sell directly to consumers.
Franchised auto dealers and traditional automakers generally oppose the bills, some form of which have been introduced in at least 11 states this year, according to an Automotive News analysis. The legislative effort is the latest round in a yearslong debate in statehouses across the country over whether vehicle manufacturers can bypass franchised dealerships to sell their products.
Some proponents and dealer advocates alike say it appears the direct-sales push is gaining steam. National Automobile Dealers Association CEO Mike Stanton told Automotive News last week that direct-to-consumer sales are among the top three issues the trade group is monitoring.
"It's like the heat has been turned up just a little bit," Stanton said, adding that NADA believes franchised dealers will be essential to the widespread deployment of EVs. "It's certainly nothing new, but it seems to be more of a hot topic right now."