GM lobbies against Tesla direct sales

After supporting a successful anti-Tesla campaign in Michigan, GM reportedly deployed its lobbyists to Maryland.

General Motors has reportedly stepped up its lobbying campaign against Tesla Motors' direct-sales ambitions.

After supporting legislation that succeeded in blocking direct sales in its home state of Michigan, General Motors is said to have deployed its lobbyists to wage a last-minute fight against a Maryland bill that gave the California-based startup a thumbs up to open a handful of sales outlets in the state.

The Maryland bill's supporters reportedly worked with the local dealers association to draft a compromise, limiting the number of stores Tesla could open. The dealer group is said to have been collaborative, not wanting to be "seen as an obstacle," however GM lobbyists allegedly tried to derail the talks, Montgomery County Delegate Kirill Reznik said in in a video for Tesla Road Trip, as quoted by Green Car Congress.

"GM showed up, and as I like to put it, pulled the pin on the grenade and threw it in," he claims.

Despite the resistance, the legislation passed earlier this month -- with six minutes to spare before the end of the legislative session -- and is expected to be signed into law next month by Governor Larry Hogan.

GM believes that "all industry participants should operate under the same rules," an argument echoed by dealer associations in other battleground states, a spokeswoman said in a statement to AutoblogGreen. "GM plans to compete in the all-electric vehicle market. By enacting HB 235, multiple manufacturers may compete with similarly capable vehicles and similar price points, yet they would operate under a distinctly different set of rules, which is why we opposed HB 235."

The company has generally received public support in its state-by-state war over direct sales, and Federal Trade Commission officials have even criticized restrictive franchise laws as "bad policy" that is potentially bad for consumers.

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