HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association, along with General Motors and Alliance Auto Manufacturers, held a joint press conference on Tuesday to speak out against proposed legislation that would allow electric carmakers to circumvent state franchise laws and sell directly to consumers.
A public hearing was scheduled for today to discuss Senate Bill 3, which was introduced by state Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff last month. The measure, which is currently being considered by the state's Transportation Committee, mirrors legislation passed late last year by the state's House of Representatives. However, the proposal was passed too late in the legislative session and died because of Senate inaction.
If the current measure is approved by the Connecticut General Assembly, it would allow electric vehicle makers to sell directly to consumers at up to three locations as long as they don't have a franchise agreement with any existing dealer. Currently, the only manufacturer that qualifies is Tesla Motors.
“What we want to make sure we have is one set of regulations for everybody who’s going to compete in this marketplace,” said Landon Fulmer, vice president of state affairs for the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers in an op-ed piece published in The Connecticut Mirror. “We don’t need carve-outs, we don’t need loopholes. We need to make sure everybody plays by the same rules.”
Dealerships in the state are required to apply for a dealer's licenses in order to sell vehicles in the state; manufacturers are barred from unfairly competing with a dealer and selling directly to a consumer.
“The franchise system works,” Fleming said. “It’s efficient. It’s competitive. It understands the local market.”