Tesla's efforts to open their own stores in Connecticut have been hampered yet again by a dealership-lobbied state legislature. It's the second time that Tesla has failed to win approve in the Connecticut legislature. They got further this time than last year when the bill was passed by the House and not even voted on by the Senate — this time the bill is up for a vote and looks doomed. Tesla is clear on who they blame: GM.
Tesla currently operates a Service Center in Milford, Connecticut and plans to open a "Gallery" location in Greenwich for educating potential customers, but no vehicle sales. Connecticuters looking to buy a Tesla, however, have to do it either on their own through the Tesla website or by traveling to Tesla Stores in neighboring New York or Massachusetts.
Despite polling that showed 75% of residents were receptive to corporate-owned Tesla Stores, the measure was voted down in the Connecticut legislature, even with the support of Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). Tesla's Diarmud O'Connell, laid the blame squarely at the feet of GM, telling The CT Mirror:
This is using state legislators and a legislative body to prosecute a business strategy whereby they are trying to shut us down at the same time they are bringing out a competitive product. The free market fairness question has to be asked: General Motors decided they were going to a franchise system in the 1920s and 30s. Good for them. Why wouldn't Tesla as a free-market actor get to make that same choice now?
Tesla had sought the option to open however many stores in Connecticut they wanted, but the version of the bill put forth to the Connecticut Senate limited them to just two (last year's attempt was limited to three stores). GM maintains a corporate regional office and 43 separate dealerships in Connecticut.