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Tesla and Michigan to settle in direct-to-consumer sales lawsuit

The settlement should see the number of Tesla service centers and galleries skyrocket, but it's still not a perfect situation for customers.

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Good news if your a Tesla fan in Michigan, it's about to get a lot easier to buy that Model 3 you're dreaming of.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

If you've ever been to Michigan and seen the sheer number of rare, obscure and very rusty domestic vehicles prowling the local highways and byways, then it's pretty apparent that the Big Three (Ford, FCA and GM) rule their home state with an iron fist.

Their vast influence on local politics has made it incredibly difficult (read: near-impossible) for Tesla to employ its direct-to-customer sales strategy there. That's not just bad news for the Big T, but it's even worse news for Tesla owners who have had to take (or in the worst-case scenario, tow) their electric cars to Ohio to get serviced -- until now.

See, Tesla and the state-that-most-looks-like-a-mitten have settled a federal lawsuit challenging the ban of direct-to-consumer sales there that's been going on for years. But, according to a report published Tuesday by Bloomberg, the long-standing stalemate between Tesla and the state of Michigan is over, with the official notice slated to be released on Wednesday, Jan. 22. 

This settlement will allow Tesla to set up service centers in Michigan through a subsidiary, and where previously, the lone Tesla gallery in the state couldn't discuss trade-ins, payments or anything beyond showing interested parties the car, now they can, according to a source close the subject. 

The one hitch is that, when buying your new Tesla in Michigan, you'll have to title the vehicle in another state and then transfer it to Michigan during a quick visit to your friendly local Secretary of State's office, per the settlement. The final win for consumers is that Tesla can now deliver that car you bought to you in Michigan, whether that's at your home or one of the new service centers.

Tesla is fighting this battle not just in the state that brought you both Little Caesar's pizza and Kid Rock, but also in places like Texas and Connecticut. Tesla has a company store presence in only around half of the states in the US, something it's lobbying aggressively to change.

Neither Tesla nor the Michigan Attorney General's office responded immediately to Roadshow's request for comment.

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