Tesla Service Center license revoked due to local dealership concerns over direct sales


Tesla has obtained a permit for a new service center from the Planning and Zoning Commission in East Hartford, Conn., after a local dealership raised concern about direct-to-consumer laws.

The East Hartford PZC voted to approve the Tesla Service Center, which would be located at 300 Connecticut Boulevard, last April. However, the ruling was eventually overturned after Hoffman Auto Group, a company with a series of local dealerships, argued that Tesla was trying to navigate its way through laws prohibiting automakers from selling directly to customers. Currently, 300 Connecticut Boulevard is a Volvo dealership.

The lawsuit, which was first reported by the Hartford Business Journal, names Tesla, East Hartford PZC and the company working with Tesla on the project as defendants. Hoffman Auto Group claims in its lawsuit against Tesla that the automaker was hiding its true intent — to sell vehicles directly to people, in violation of state laws — by filing claims that contained little or misleading information.

PZC Chairman John Ryan confirmed in the report that since Tesla’s license was revoked, the property is now under the control of its former owner. The property was previously owned by Gengras Motor Cars. Tesla never officially purchased the building or property at 300 Connecticut Blvd., according to property records.

After withdrawing Tesla’s license, Hoffman Auto Group said yesterday (via HBJ):

“We welcome East Hartford’s decision to revoke the city’s previously issued approval, thereby preventing Tesla from pursuing the 300 Connecticut Boulevard location in defiance of Connecticut law and local zoning restrictions. This supports our position. that the approval was wrongly obtained and that Connecticut law does not allow manufacturers to sell cars directly in Connecticut The Hoffman family of 10 car dealerships as well as more than 250 other dealerships statewide remain committed to defending this state’s pro-consumer franchise system that promotes healthy competition on a level playing field and will continue to prevent global manufacturers from illegally entering our state in a way that would deprive local consumers of good many of the protections they currently enjoy.

Tesla and other automakers with direct-to-consumer platforms have been battling with various state government agencies across the country to address the issue. Consumers have said for years that buying a vehicle from a dealership is one of life’s most stressful events. A 2016 study found that 34% of people would rather wait in line at the DMV than buy a car. 26% of people would rather do their taxes. 52% of Americans feel anxious or uncomfortable when at a car dealership.

Tesla currently operates two other locations in Connecticut: a service center in Milford and a showroom in Greenwich.

Tesla Service Center license revoked due to local dealership concerns over direct sales


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