About a year ago, we posted about the electric-car company Tesla, which wants to sell cars directly from its stores to consumers, and efforts by car dealers to interfere with Tesla's business model on, you guessed it, consumer-protection grounds. Our earlier post dealt in particular with Tesla's difficulties selling its cars in New Jersey.
Now, read Tesla, Dealer Franchise Laws, and the Politics of Crony Capitalism by law professor Daniel Crane. Here's the abstract:
Tesla Motors is fighting the car dealers' lobby, aided and abetted by the legacy Detroit manufacturers, on a state by state basis for the right to distribute its innovative electrical automobiles directly to consumers. The Tesla wars showcase the important relationship between product innovation and innovation in distribution methods. Incumbent technologies may block competition by new technologies by creating legal barriers to innovative distribution methods necessary to secure market acceptance of the new technologies. While judicial review of such special interest capture is generally weak in the post-Lochner era, the Tesla wars are creating new alliances in the political struggle against crony capitalism that could contribute to a significant re-telling of the conventional public choice story.