Tesla opens store on Native land - Indian Country Today

  
Via:  Kavika  •  2 months ago  •  53 comments

By:   Indian Country Today

Tesla opens store on Native land - Indian Country Today
The electric car company can only sell and service its vehicles freely in about a dozen states, while it faces restrictions in others. This time, it used a new approach

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The electric car company can only sell and service its vehicles freely in about a dozen states, while it faces restrictions in others. This time, it used a new approach Author: The Associated Press

Tesla owners, Tesla employees and local political leaders gather at the service bay doors during an event on Sept. 9, 2021, to celebrate a partnership between Tesla and the Nambe Pueblo after the electric car company repurposed a defunct casino into a sales, service and delivery center near Santa Fe, N.M. Tesla has opened a store on tribal land in New Mexico, sidestepping car dealership laws that prohibit car companies from selling directly to customers. (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

The electric car company can only sell and service its vehicles freely in about a dozen states, while it faces restrictions in others. This time, it used a new approach

Cedar Attanasio
Associated Press

NAMBE, N.M. — Carmaker Tesla has opened a store and repair shop on Native land for the first time, marking a new approach to its yearslong fight to sell cars directly to consumers and cut car dealerships out of the process.

The white-walled, silver-lettered Tesla store, which opened last week, sits in Nambe Pueblo, north of Santa Fe, on tribal land that's not subject to state laws.

The electric car company can only sell and service its vehicles freely in about a dozen states, while it faces restrictions in others. Some, like New Mexico, ban Tesla from offering sales or repairs without going through a dealership. In January, the company struck a deal with Michigan to resolve a 2016 lawsuit, a symbolic victory that allowed it to sell in the backyard of the nation's largest carmakers.

Supporters of Tesla say the shop in New Mexico marks the first time the company has partnered with a tribe to get around state laws, though the idea has been in the works for years.

From Oklahoma to Connecticut and other states, consumers can't buy Teslas because the company won't partner with dealerships and hasn't been successful in winning over the courts or lawmakers to allow its direct sales model.

"These states have lots of sovereign Native American nations in them that could be interested in Tesla," said Brian Dear, president of the Tesla Owners Club of New Mexico. "I don't believe at all that this will be the last."

Supporters say dealership laws protect middle-class jobs and force dealerships to compete, lowering prices. Critics say people can get information online and direct sales would lower costs.

New Mexico, Alabama, and Louisiana have the strictest bans, barring Tesla from both operating dealerships and repair shops. That makes repairing a Tesla more expensive and more of a hassle. Owners have to get their cars serviced in neighboring states or through traveling Tesla technicians who fix problems with what they have in a van.

The New Mexico Tesla shop, built on the site of a former casino, is nestled between two gas stations along a highway about an hour and a half north of Albuquerque, where most of the state's Tesla owners live, Dear said.

While sales are prohibited in neighboring Texas — where the company plans to make its pickup trucks next year — repair shops are allowed. New Mexico Tesla owners have been traveling to El Paso, Texas, or other out-of-state cities to get repairs.

To buy a Tesla, they have to drive hours to pick them up or pay thousands of dollars to have them shipped.

"We drove a gas car — Volvo station wagon — to Denver and then I was the 'lucky one' who got to drive the gas-powered car back," said Howard Coe, a filmmaker who works for a laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, about 30 minutes from Nambe and about five hours from the nearest Colorado Tesla store.

Coe drove his wife's Tesla sedan to the new store in Nambe on Tuesday to ask if an SUV he ordered can be delivered there. The store told him it's not accepting deliveries for the foreseeable future and won't do repairs until later this month.

Tribal officials who brokered the deal over a two-year period say it lines up with business interests and cultural values like caring for the environment.

The tribe "has the responsibility to the land where we have resided for over 1,000 years," said Carlos Vigil, president of the Nambe Pueblo Development Corporation, calling Tesla's service center "a renewable business that lines up with our belief system."

Car dealership advocates say they respect the tribe's decision but that they hope customers will buy electric cars from companies that follow state rules, arguing dealerships compete to lower prices and can service vehicles in more parts of the state.

"We have competition, we have the expertise, we're in your local communities," said Ken Ortiz, president of the New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association. "We contribute to the taxes."

New Mexico has tax treaties with the tribe for sales, gambling and gasoline taxes. But tribal and state officials say it's unclear if Tesla will have to pay vehicle sales taxes or how the revenue would be split between them.

Tesla, which dissolved its public relations department and generally doesn't answer media inquiries, did not respond to a request for comment.

In response to a Tweet complaining of wait times in the Northeast last month, CEO Elon Musk wrote, "Tesla will expedite service center openings."

The electric version of Ford's F-150 pickup has also turned heads.

The pickup, announced earlier this year, looks much like its wildly popular gas-powered version. Yet the resemblance is deceiving. With its new battery-powered truck, Ford is making a costly bet that buyers will embrace a vehicle that would help transform how the world drives.

Branded the F-150 Lightning, the pickup will be able to travel up to 300 miles per battery charge, thanks to a frame designed to safely hold a huge lithium-ion battery that can power your house should the electricity go out.


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Kavika
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Kavika     2 months ago

This will surely be a new battleground for Tesla and NA tribes vs states laws re auto sales.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
1.1  Jack_TX  replied to  Kavika @1    2 months ago

It's about time.  If car dealers weren't infamous for treating customers like shit, they wouldn't need their existence written into law.  

I hope Tesla and several other manufacturers open stores on dozens of reservations.  I'd happily drive the hour north to Choctaw to not have to deal with the car dealer bullshit.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Jack_TX @1.1    2 months ago

Not sure about the other dealers but it does seem that Telsa has found a way around some of the current laws in very restrictive states like NM.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
1.1.2  Jack_TX  replied to  Kavika @1.1.1    2 months ago

Texas is that restrictive.  

The absolute hilarity of the entire situation is that the justification for not allowing direct sales is that the dealers are a "protection" for the consumer.

When is the last time you went into a car dealership and felt "protected"?

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
1.1.3  Split Personality  replied to  Jack_TX @1.1.2    2 months ago
When is the last time you went into a car dealership and felt "protected"?

Tell them Clay sent you!

LMAO

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.4  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Jack_TX @1.1.2    2 months ago

If you want to purchase a Tesla in Texas you can do the old Texas Two Step. I wonder now that Telsa has announced they will be building a plant in Texas if Texas will change its laws like Nevada did when Telsa built a battery facility here. 

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
1.1.5  Jack_TX  replied to  Kavika @1.1.4    2 months ago

I doubt it.  Car dealers make a ton of money and own a ton of politicians.  

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
1.1.6  Split Personality  replied to  Jack_TX @1.1.5    2 months ago

Huffines?

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
1.1.7  Jack_TX  replied to  Split Personality @1.1.6    2 months ago

I haven't been there.

I was at a Toyota dealer in a northern suburb a couple of weeks ago looking for a Tacoma for my son.  They advertised the truck for something like $27k.  When you get there, the final sticker price is over $42k.  Bullshit dealer add ons, etc, and a $5k "market adjustment".  That doesn't include TT&L!!  

When my wife and I were newlyweds, we bought her a car at a local Ford dealer.  She wanted it in her name so she could build some credit history.  We already had really good credit, so we could get a low interest rate from our bank.  When the dealer guys were talking to ME...they said they'd match whatever rate we got elsewhere and we worked out the details.  When the business office saw a woman's name on the paperwork, the interest rate mysteriously doubled.   

I was at the old Steakly Chevrolet in Dallas years ago.  I test drove a truck, we agreed on the deal, good to go.  I come back the next day, sign the paperwork, and then they tried to give me a different truck.  Like I didn't remember the one I drove.  What...the...actual...fuck?  Really?

The sooner every one of these places goes out of business, the better.

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
1.1.8  Split Personality  replied to  Jack_TX @1.1.7    2 months ago

Oh the stories I could tell, lol

Clay Cooley dealerships ranked in the bottom 20% CSI 

too funny!

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
1.1.9  Split Personality  replied to  Split Personality @1.1.8    2 months ago

and apparenty Mr Huffines wants to be Governor Huffines

at least he;s more reputable than Clay Cooley

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
1.1.10  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Split Personality @1.1.9    2 months ago
and apparenty Mr Huffines wants to be Governor Huffines

Hold up...  Isn't the man like 110 years old by now?

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
1.1.11  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  Split Personality @1.1.3    2 months ago
Tell them Clay sent you!

Shop me first, 

Shop me last,

Either way,

Come see Clay!

Those stupid commercials make me jrSmiley_88_smiley_image.gif !

I've never purchased a car there, but have heard scads of heinous stories from people that have.  The one I hear the most is regarding new cars that break down within the first couple of days.  They don't particularly care if your brand new car is parked in their service lot 2 weeks out of every month.        

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
1.1.12  Split Personality  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @1.1.11    2 months ago

google 'clay cooley complaints'

one page would be too many, but 112,000 hits?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.13  devangelical  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @1.1.11    2 months ago

I sold cars 30+ years ago. what a horrible way to starve to death.

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
1.1.14  Split Personality  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @1.1.10    2 months ago

Ray (80) owns the dealerships with one son (53)

Don Huffines runs Huffines Communities a real estate developer with his twin bother.

He started out changing oil at the dealerships

Don is 63 but looks older than Ray,

Don is a former TX senator who refused part time per diems, loves Trump

and has a reputation as being the most conservative legislator EVER elected in TX.

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
1.1.15  Split Personality  replied to  devangelical @1.1.13    2 months ago

40 plus years ago, weeknights and Saturdays.

ugh

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.16  devangelical  replied to  Split Personality @1.1.15    2 months ago

bell to bell on a floor flooded with salespersons. surrounded by drunks, coke freaks, crooks, and assholes.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
1.1.17  Jack_TX  replied to  Split Personality @1.1.9    2 months ago
and apparenty Mr Huffines wants to be Governor Huffines

When you mentioned him before, I totally forgot he's already been elected as something or other.

Isn't he the jackass that tried to throw a monkey wrench in all the highway development because you have to pay tolls to use TexPress?  Idiot somehow didn't understand that when I pay a toll to use a different highway, there is less traffic on the highway I didn't take.

 
 
 
squiggy
Sophomore Quiet
2  squiggy    2 months ago

"...caring for the environment."

That issue always seems glossed over. The end game will be looking for receptacles for 100,000,000 autos while not using all the fossils. The Nantucket NIMBYs and their ilk are going to have to yield to electrical generation progress.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  squiggy @2    2 months ago

LOL, yeah and it's not only the Nantucket NIMBYS.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
2.2  Raven Wing  replied to  squiggy @2    2 months ago

You should have been a comedian.....jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3  JohnRussell    2 months ago

I am all for anything that brings business and attention to Native American communities. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  JohnRussell @3    2 months ago

This seems that it could be a success and could lead to more Tesla facilities on Native land through out the US.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
3.1.1  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @3.1    2 months ago

it could lead to a lot of businesses moving to NA nations in search of tax relief.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.1.2  seeder  Kavika   replied to  devangelical @3.1.1    2 months ago

Yes it could, it will be interesting to say the least.

 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
3.1.3  mocowgirl  replied to  Kavika @3.1.2    2 months ago
Yes it could, it will be interesting to say the least.

Wonderful for the economic boost to NA nations.

Question:  Do the NA nations have their versions of an EPA agency to protect the environment of their lands?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.1.4  seeder  Kavika   replied to  mocowgirl @3.1.3    2 months ago
Do the NA nations have their versions of an EPA agency to protect the environment of their lands?

Yes, some nations do, especially the larger ones. The Nambe Pueblo does have one.

 
 
 
mocowgirl
Professor Quiet
3.1.5  mocowgirl  replied to  Kavika @3.1.4    2 months ago
Yes, some nations do, especially the larger ones. The Nambe Pueblo does have one.

Thank you for the info.  I sincerely hope that all nations have leadership that protects the lands that they have left under their jurisdiction.  

Years ago, I signed petitions to save Bear Butte from development.  I am embarrassed to admit that I haven't checked on what has happened to the area in many years.

Far too many people, who live in mega cities, don't understand why the wilderness and farmlands must be protected from urban sprawl.  And, commercial development must be highly regulated to prevent damage to all life that depend on these areas to survive.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
3.1.6  seeder  Kavika   replied to  mocowgirl @3.1.5    2 months ago

Native tribes bought a couple of hundred acres around Bear Butte stoping some of the planned development. Not sure what is happening at the moment.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
3.2  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  JohnRussell @3    2 months ago
I am all for anything that brings business and attention to Native American communities. 

Me, too!

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
4  Perrie Halpern R.A.    2 months ago

You just got to love Musk. He really thinks out of the box and brings both industry and sales to native lands is a boom for both Indians and the ecology. The tax relief is just a little extra for Tesla. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4    2 months ago

Musk does think out of the box.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
4.1.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Kavika @4.1    2 months ago

He might have his daddy's looks, but he got his beautiful mother's smarts.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
4.1.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @4.1    2 months ago

I feel sure that the Nembe Pueblo Tribe consulted with other Tribes that have/are working with Musk to confirm his trustworthiness in keeping his word in their agreement. He does have much to gain by doing so, like adding other Tribes to partner with.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
4.2  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @4    2 months ago

Will he lower the cost of products there if he is not stuck with taxes?

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Paula Bartholomew @4.2    2 months ago

He will have to pay some taxes. The tribes all have compacts with the state to share revenue on casino revenue and I doubt it will be any different with Tesla and the tribes.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
4.2.2  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @4.2.1    2 months ago

it will reduce the length of the conduit in getting that money to where it's needed the most.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.2.3  seeder  Kavika   replied to  devangelical @4.2.2    2 months ago

Exactly and will provide employment as well.

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
4.2.4  Split Personality  replied to  Kavika @4.2.3    2 months ago

Well some employment, there just  isn't a lot to be done on a Tesla as far as maintenance goes.

Which is part of the reason Musk doesn't want a traditional service oriented dealership model.

Tesla Maintenance “As-Needed”

Like all major car brands, Tesla had a recommended maintenance schedule. That is, up until 2019. The schedule included yearly inspections to make sure everything was going right. But during 2019, the company switched from recommending yearly checkups to only recommending particular services on an as-needed basis. 

The website now says that Teslas do not require regular maintenance, and it instead lists a few items that should be changed periodically. This is the main reason why Tesla maintenance costs are on the affordable end. Here are the requirements:

  • Cabin air filter : The filter should be changed every two years or every three years if it’s a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. 
  • Tire rotation : Tesla recommends rotating the tires and balancing the alignment every 10,000 to 12,000 miles. 
  • Brake fluid test : Tesla owners should have the brake fluid tested every two years and replaced as needed.
  • Air conditioning service : Tesla recommends servicing the air conditioning every two to six years, depending on the model. 
  • Winter care : Drivers in cold-weather regions should clean and lubricate their car’s brake calipers every 12 months or 12,500 miles. 
 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.2.5  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Split Personality @4.2.4    2 months ago

All true, but there have to be people to accept and deliver the cars, maintain the facility etc.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
4.2.6  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @4.2.5    2 months ago

Is Tesla going to train members of the Tribe how to maintain and repair their cars in their store? Or are they going to bring in their own people to do those jobs? 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.2.7  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Raven Wing @4.2.6    2 months ago

I don't know RW. I couldn't find anything on that. SP comment above shows that there isn't going to be a lot of maintence on the cars.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
4.2.8  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @4.2.7    2 months ago

Yes, I read what SP posted about the maintainence. I was just curious as to who was going to cover tire rotations, changing out the filters, etc. Some things I am sure a good many people could do themselves, but, there could be some of the things Tesla recommends that might need to be done by the store.  

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.2.9  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Raven Wing @4.2.8    2 months ago

I'm not sure as I haven't read anything about that part of the deal. It would sure help if the Nambe Pueblo people manned the store.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
4.2.10  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @4.2.9    2 months ago

Indeed it would be a big help for the Nambe Pueblo people to man the store. There is likely going to be more of their own people participating there than outsiders, at least in the beginning, and they might feel more comfortable dealing with their own pople. And when those from other areas do come there, the Nambe Pueblo would be able to help them to understand any of the Tribal rules and laws that might come up. 

It would be a win-win for both sides.

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Senior Silent
4.2.11  SteevieGee  replied to  Split Personality @4.2.4    2 months ago

That sounds like they're pretty low maintainance.  When you don't have an engine or transmission you have way fewer moving parts to wear out.  Wait...  Don't you rotate the tires every time you drive it?

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
4.2.12  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @4.2.1    2 months ago

Whether or not taxes have to be paid, there will still be a win-win situation for Musk and for the Tribes. 

 
 
 
Steve Ott
Professor Quiet
5  Steve Ott    2 months ago

Just down the hill from where I used to live. Very cool and good for the pueblo. I do like the fact that the state can't mess with them, too much.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
5.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Steve Ott @5    2 months ago

I think that it's a great idea and hopefully, it will be successful.

 
 
 
Steve Ott
Professor Quiet
5.1.1  Steve Ott  replied to  Kavika @5.1    2 months ago

I hope it is too.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Guide
6  1stwarrior    2 months ago

Not sure why - can't put my finger on it "exactly" - but - for some reason I just don't feel comfortable with this "deal".

Please don't jump on me - just a "feeling".

 
 
 
Split Personality
PhD Principal
6.1  Split Personality  replied to  1stwarrior @6    2 months ago

No problem, just self preservation kicking in.

 
 
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