Tesla opened a new sales, service and delivery center in the US state of New Mexico last week, which may not sound particularly interesting, except New Mexico does not allow automakers to selling directly to customers, forcing Tesla to exploit a loophole by partnering with a Native American tribe.
The new Tesla concession was opened last week at a closed casino in the sovereign Pueblo of Nambé, the tribal lands of the Pueblo Native American people and, fortuitously for Tesla, a Native American tribe recognized by the federal government with sovereignty and exclusion from the laws of the ‘State.
Located at the Nambe Falls Travel Center in a former casino that vanished in 2017, Tesla’s new sales, service and delivery hub will not only mean that Tesla will be able to sell directly to the New Mexico public, but the current owners of Tesla. Tesla doesn’t need to get their car in Colorado or travel to Arizona or Texas for maintenance.
This is the first time that an automaker has signed an agreement with a sovereign Native American entity and sets a historic precedent for future cooperation.
“It was a cooperative effort between Tesla and the pueblo,” Nambe Pueblo Governor Phillip Perez said at the dedication ceremony last week, as covered by the Santa Fe New Mexican. “It didn’t take long to reconcile.”
“We are doing our part to protect Mother Earth. We are proud to be the first tribe to have Tesla on Indian lands. It’s really great that we can lead the way in New Mexico with renewable energy. “
New Mexico law prohibits automakers from selling directly to consumers or providing services in their own facilities. Instead, the state requires all auto manufacturers to work through franchised dealerships.
Conversely, Tesla does not franchise its sales, service and delivery centers as dealerships, all of which are owned by the company, creating a dead end for US states that prevent automakers from selling directly to the public. .
Legislation was passed in 2019 with the aim of breaking away from absurd restrictions imposed on automakers, which would have allowed manufacturers to set up their own sales and service dealerships if they met three key criteria…. that the company did not have franchised dealers in New Mexico; the automaker only sold and serviced vehicles that it manufactured; and that it only sold electric vehicles powered by batteries or fuel cells.
The bill was not passed due to significant opposition from existing state car dealers and remains in limbo. When the bill was first introduced, Charles Henson, president of the New Mexico Automobile Dealers Association, lambasted the bill, saying it opened the door for automakers to compete. the millions invested by local dealers.
The bill was introduced by State Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino, an Albuquerque Democrat, who told the Santa Fe New Mexican that he was happy to hear Tesla had found a way around the law. existing state.
“It’s a smart idea,” he said. “I think they found a way around it.”
Ortiz y Pino also explained that car dealers were “absolutely opposed” to the legislation he proposed in 2019, adding that the dealers “are licenses to print money”.
“If you have the Ford dealership in Santa Fe, Albuquerque or Las Cruces, you are guaranteed to live well because [customers] must come to you; they can’t go anywhere else, ”Ortiz y Pino told The New Mexican.
“It’s not exactly a monopoly as there might be two dealers in a community, but they limit the franchises so that they maintain very profitable relationships with their franchisors.”