Tesla Inc. has filed suit to challenge a Louisiana law it says restricts its ability to sell electric vehicles directly to customers and violates its constitutional rights.
The lawsuit filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana is the latest action by Tesla
to try to open markets to its model of selling cars directly to consumers rather than using dealers as intermediaries. Tesla argues the state law, among other things, infringes on interstate commerce.
The electric vehicle maker is suing the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association, multiple officials on the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission and some dealerships in the state, which Tesla says conspired to bring the current laws and regulations into place.
“Louisiana consumers’ freedom is being unduly restricted by protectionist, anticompetitive, and inefficient state regulation and laws,” Tesla said in the lawsuit. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The state ban against selling vehicles directly to consumers went into effect in 2017. Such types of laws were first brought about in the 1950s to stop stores from being arbitrarily shut down by manufacturers. In recent years, they have been used by dealer lobbyists and some car makers who say all stores should be independently owned.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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