Tesla failed to make it to the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this year, and it marks the second year running that the electric car company has given it a miss. Certainly, such a move would have raised plenty of questions for everyone. The NAIAS will run for a fortnight, and having a future forward company like Tesla to bail out on it does send signals into the industry, not to mention encourage a whole lot of whispers along the way. Tesla’s reason for skipping NAIAS this year? It seems that the company is busy with an existing court case stemming concerning a part of Michigan legislation which was introduced three years back. While Tesla did not release any official statement concerning the matter, apart from confirming their absence from the NAIAS.
Basically, after House Bill 5606 was passed in 2014, this banned Tesla from selling vehicles in Michigan. Such a measure enforced franchise auto dealer fees at first, and apparently the bill itself was initiated by the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association. The entire situation took a twist as a few days before the legislation was signed off by Gov. Rick Snyder, Republican Sen. Joe Hune decided to spice things up by including another clause to the legislation to complicate matters. In other words, auto companies are not allowed to work through a direct sales models which Tesla has been operating -- and this was seen to be an “anti-Tesla” legislation.
After all, Tesla has always been working through such a model, selling their very own products using its own dealerships and galleries. Not only that, folks who are interested in purchasing a Tesla will also have the option of doing so online, now how about that for being progressive? House Bill 5606 means car companies are only allowed to sell products via dealers with franchises, and not through any other measure. Certainly sounds like a recipe for a court case that will involve Tesla, and is a sound enough situation to excuse oneself from attending the NAIAS if you ask us.
Michigan is not the only state to have introduced such a measure, since Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland and Ohio too have implemented similar measures that will certainly prevent Tesla from going ahead with their existing sales model.
However, Tesla knows that they do not need to attend the Detroit Motor Show (another more popular name for the NAIAS) in order to make an announcement. Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced over Twitter that they would want to roll out the newest Autopilot software version, where it is tipped to positively affect 1,000 cars as part of their test fleet. This will be done in “shadow mode,” which apparently helps to improve Autopilot Hardware 1 and Hardware 2 while enabling the Ludicrous mode. Assuming everything goes according to plan, cars will then make the official switch from shadow to active mode before the week is over.
Last but not least, we do hope to see the Tesla Model 3 arrive sooner rather than later as the wait has been agonizingly long.