A much-debated electric car dealership in Richmond, Virginia has been granted the go-ahead from the state.
The approval of the state’s second Tesla dealership happened Wednesday in the form of a 9-page statement from Virginia DMV Commission Richard D. Holcomb. The decision comes after a nearly year-long fight from the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association (VADA), a group representing new auto dealers in Virginia. CBS 6 in Richmond reports state officials held three public hearings on the matter, before an initial recommendation opposing the exemption was issued in September.
The battle stemmed from a Virginia law preventing direct ownership of dealerships by manufacturers. Tesla applied for a waiver to the law, insisting its business model works only when the company sells straight to the consumer. Right now, there are no independently owned Tesla dealerships in the world. The VADA argued it had found nearly a dozen independent dealers ready and able to operate the proposed Tesla dealership. The association released a statement Wednesday evening says it is considering an appeal.
Tesla plans to open the dealership in a 30,000 square-foot building that formerly housed a furniture store. After learning of the state’s decision to approve the dealership, the company released a statement Wednesday stating “We intend to swiftly begin construction to open our new store and service center at 9850 West Broad Street and look forward to joining Richmond’s business community.” Tesla began leasing the building in April, despite not yet having state approval for the dealership.
The automaker anticipates no issues in receiving approval from the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board, the final approval needed before opening the Richmond dealership.