Direct manufacturer sales are a hot-button topic in the auto industry. The idea of skipping over the traditional dealership model is attractive to some automakers and members of the general public, whereas others consider it an affront to how business is done. On Tuesday, proponents of both sides are in Washington to discuss it.
The goal of this meeting is to discuss the efficacy of direct sales, covering both current regulations and the companies that seek to disrupt them. Two of those companies, Tesla Motors and Elio Motors, will be speaking on the matter, alongside representatives from other corners of the industry, including AAA, Uber and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).
Many states have laws on the books banning the process outright, which is why you can't buy a Tesla in all 50 states. Other states have no problem with the idea of direct sales, even though dealership groups are hot and bothered about it. It continues to be a battle fought on the state level -- the feds have remained relatively quiet on the subject.
Even though the in-person discussion ends the same day it begins, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is requesting comments from the public for the next few weeks. The hoi polloi have until March 4 to post their comments to the FTC's site, where they will be made public and used for later discussion.