FTC to Host Public Workshop Examining the U.S. Auto Distribution System Workshop Will Explore Competition, State Regulations, and Emerging Trends in the Industry, Project No. P131202
I would like to register my support for the Tesla proposed model of direct sales to consumers. My wife and I purchased a Tesla Model S in 2014 and found the "mall store" showroom model and direct purchase mode to be extremely satisfying and easy to negotiate. My experience with franchised dealer purchases over the last 35 years have never been as easy or as comfortable as our purchase of the Tesla. At roughly the same time, I purchased a new automobile from BMW through a local franchised dealer. I found this to be more time consuming and less comfortable than the Tesla purchase, although I would not argue for restricting the franchise model either. I believe that the free enterprise system in this country functions best when there are multiple options available to the consumer. Battery Electric Vehicles are particularly suited to the direct purchase model, as their service needs are considerably smaller than those for Internal Combustion vehicles, including hybrids. Nevertheless, in our year and a half of Tesla ownership, we have been extremely satisfied with the Tesla service network and the performance of the Tesla service technicians. If anything, we have found the Tesla service superior to any we have received from franchised dealers over the years. My experience with franchised dealers over the years suggest they expect to make a far larger profit from service and parts subsequent to the initial purchase, so I believe this colors their behavior during the sales process. In addition, the direct sales model often (as with Tesla) eliminates the commission based sales model as well, and as a consumer I believe that this allows the Tesla representative to be less concerned with leveraging up the cost of the purchase. When we bought our car, our sales consultant actually talked us out of an expensive option that she didn't think we really needed. I have NEVER had a franchised dealer salesmen argue for anything other than increasing the ultimate cost of the vehicle. Restating my recommendation to the commission, it is my strong belief that the direct sales option should be universally available to consumers throughout the US.