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Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Sees Conflict With Push Into Greenwich, CT

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While Greenwich’s zoning commission is not convinced to allow Tesla to open a store, the company officials are not willing to give up

Ahead of the public hearing regarding the direct sales bill on March 02, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) faces resistance from the Planning and Zoning Commission in Connecticut. Despite the company’s statement of no buying/selling activity at its much-awaited Greenwich store, it faces resistance from the authorities and the car retailers association.

Last week, Greenwich Times stated that the electric vehicle (EV) maker has launched its first Connecticut store at 340 Greenwich Avenue to offer test-drives and convince them to buy Model S or Model X through its website. The new facility is subjected to the Commission’s approval, as the zoning regulations categorize automakers as “group five,” which are prohibited in the region.

The automaker seeks to get around the town zoning rules by suggesting to operate a gallery, not a retail outlet, for educating consumers about Tesla and its offerings. However, the officials, who will vote on the matter shortly, are not convinced to give permission to the company. Nevertheless, Tesla representatives are not willing to give up on the matter.

The preliminary opinion of the government entity is that the EV maker would be considered as group five that would keep it away from the town in anyway. Commission officials seemed eager to welcome Tesla to the avenue but not how it wants to. Margarita Alban, a member of Planning and Zoning opposing Tesla’s direct sales model, was present during last week’s hearing. He applauded the commission’s Commission, highlighted car companies, such as Mercedes and Miller Motorcars, which are doing well in Greenwich Avenue; despite having no presence in the town. Another member, Richard Maitland, stated that he was concerned regarding the space Tesla gallery would utilize for educating customers.

James Fleming, President at Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association (CARA), that has been stand against Tesla and highlighted that it is also promoting a direct sales bill at the state capitol, apart from evading Greenwich’s zoning laws. The commission’s approval to operate Tesla store would create uncompetitive playing ground, Mr. Fleming said.

Currently, Tesla is not allowed to sell cars directly to Connecticuters under the regulations of the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, a direct sales bill has been set up in the General Assembly and CARA strongly opposes the bill. The franchise dealerships’ heavy criticism led to the direct sales bill kill in Senate, last year.  Next public hearing on the bill is scheduled for later this year.


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