Tesla vs. dealerships dispute heightens in Georgia image

Tesla Motors Inc., which has previously fought U.S. dealers over direct sales of its electric cars, has to face a new issue in Georgia. There, auto retailers want the state to forbid distribution of sedans from the company’s store.

The Georgia Automobile Dealers Association said in a petition filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue that Tesla vehicle sales are in violation of the state’s rules which limit the annual volume of cars a brand can sell directly to the public.

The group that represents 500 dealerships asked Tesla’s license to be revoked and for sales of Tesla’s Model S sedan to be blocked at its shop in Marietta, near Atlanta. Tesla sold 173 sedans from October to June at its suburban Atlanta outlet, which is its only store in the state.

This new dispute follows similar arguments this year with dealers in Missouri, New Jersey, New York,Ohio and Pennsylvania. Elon Musk, Tesla’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said the unique nature of the Model S, priced from $71,000, and electric cars in general, are best sold through the company’s stores and staff.

Liz Jarvis-Shean, a spokeswoman for Tesla, declined to comment on the petition, whereas Nick Genesi, a spokesman for the Georgia agency, confirmed the petition was filed last Friday, without elaborating on the topic.

By Gabriela Florea