Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a measure prohibiting most direct-to-consumer vehicle sales, but certain provisions will allow Tesla to continue to operate its franchiseless model.
It was thought by some the bill would be a threat to Tesla’s alternative method of online and retail location sales. However, the bill only prohibits automakers from selling directly if they have a franchise agreement in place.
Ted Smith, president of the Florida Automobile Dealers Association, said the provision will not encroach on digital innovation at stores but instead ensure legacy automakers cannot bypass dealerships.
“In doing that, we made a clear delineation between a manufacturer that has never had dealers and maybe never will, and those who have been heavily dependent upon their dealerships to be their marketing and sales presence in Florida,” Smith said.
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group in Washington, D.C., believes making this distinction “will cement an unequal regulatory system.”
The bill requires “some automakers to comply with restrictive, costly, and complex franchise laws (including this bill’s provisions discussed above) while exempting others,” Wayne Weikel, Alliance vice president of state government affairs, wrote in a letter to DeSantis.
The measure also requires dealerships be compensated at least 8 percent of the payment for any post-purchase electronic vehicle upgrades or activations sold within two years of a new-vehicle sale.