HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association (CARA) has launched a controversial website named “Tesla Crash,” opposing the electric automaker’s move to sell directly to consumers in the state.
Connecticut Republican state Senator Art Linares proposed a bill in January that would allow Tesla Motors to sell its vehicles directly to car buyers, rather than through independent franchise dealerships. Currently, 35 states allow the automaker to sell directly to residents.
“We want the public to know that local Connecticut dealers are ready and willing to sell Tesla immediately,” said CARA President Jim Fleming, in a statement on the homepage of Tesla Crash. “We currently offer many electric vehicles through our dealerships and we are strong supporters of growing that market. We additionally have worked with the State of Connecticut to expand electric charging stations and promote incentives.
“We don’t understand why Elon Musk wants to introduce legislation that would circumvent the auto laws and rules that we all follow, particularly since this past week Musk said at the Automotive News World Congress he is open to working with franchise dealers.”
The website contains a collection of new stories on Tesla accidents, lemon lawsuits and dealer opposition against the automaker. Its tagline, “Don’t let Tesla crash into Connecticut’s consumer laws,” is accompanied by photos of mangled cars.
On Feb. 6, Connecticut lawmakers held a public hearing, which included testimony from Tesla officials and dealers. “At a time when our country is trying to rid itself of dependence on foreign oil, we should welcome the sale of fully electric Teslas with open arms,” said Sen. Linares, a Tesla owner, during the hearing, according to CTNewsJunkie.com.
Fleming, who was also at the hearing, said the CARA supports allowing Tesla to operate in the state within the existing franchise model, NBC News reports. A vote on the proposed bill could be held in March.
“We hope that Tesla will reconsider legislation, if the company is truly serious in working with us,” Fleming’s online statement concluded. “We welcome a conversation with Tesla on how we can work together.”