JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Tesla got a temporary victory in its legal fight with the Missouri Automobile Dealers Association when the Kansas City Appeals Court granted a stay in their case, allowing their stores to remain in business – for now.
The Missouri Times reported Tuesday that Cole County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Green ruled in September that Tesla had violated Missouri’s franchise law by selling directly to consumers as a manufacturer. Tesla appealed the law, and the appeals court granted the stay on Green’s ruling.
However, Tesla’s license to sell its vehicles in Missouri expired New Year’s Eve, so for four days, Tesla had to temporarily close its doors at its three Missouri locations. Now, the company says it plans to re-open those stores until a final verdict is reached in the Appeals Court.
“Tesla appreciates the Court of Appeals’ decision to keep our Missouri stores operating,” a Tesla spokesman said. “We are now arranging to reopen our doors and will do so as soon as possible. Again, we regret this temporary inconvenience to our customers.”
Tesla has fought with auto dealer associations in other states, and the ruling from the appeals court could determine if Missouri joins most other states who have allowed Tesla to sell directly to dealers, or like Michigan and Texas, who have tried to ensure Tesla follows franchise rules and sells to dealers. The dealers argue the increased competition creates competition among dealers and helps the consumer, while Tesla argues its low-volume business model is not conducive to selling through dealerships.