Do you hate haggling with car dealerships, waiting for the salesman to talk to his manager, drinking bad coffee while wondering if you are going home with a new car, then having to listen to yet another sales pitch about extended warranties? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just order your car from the manufacturer the same way you can buy a television or a new computer?
A new bill being introduced into the legislature may allow you to do that, at least for electric cars. Wisconsin Sen. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and Rep. Adam Neylon (R-Pewaukee) want Wisconsinites to be able to buy an electric car without going through a dealership.
“In the 21st Century, making purchases of all kinds online has become the norm and this trend will only keep growing in the future. This bill opens an important avenue of commerce currently denied to consumers by state law,” said Kooyenga in a statement Monday.
Under Wisconsin law, vehicle manufacturers are currently prohibited from operating or controlling a motor vehicle dealerships in the state or selling cars directly to consumers. The proposed change to Wisconsin law would allow Tesla, Fisker, Rivian, Lordstown, and Lucid to either sell cars direct online or through manufacturer-owned dealerships, eliminating the middle man.
As Kooyenga and Neylon note in their announcement, the rest of the country is moving in that direction. “According to one study, up to 33% of new car purchases, from browsing to buying, will be conducted online in the U.S. by 2035,” they note in their press release. “Today, more than 70% of consumers want to conduct at least some part of the car buying process online.”
Similar efforts supported by Senate President Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) have failed in the past. In 2019, Governor Tony Evers vetoed a similar provision from the state budget claiming it was a “payoff” to get Kapenga’s support. Kapenga denied the “payoff” criticism. The bill is opposed by car dealerships in Wisconsin who support the current protectionist system sparing them from online competition.
Neylon said the bill loosening the laws allowing internet sales of electronic vehicles is what consumers want.
“Electric vehicle sales have continued to rise in recent years across the country. As usual, consumer demand drives what happens in the marketplace, and because most EV manufacturers do not use a dealership business model to sell their vehicles, this bill responds to the increasing demand in the marketplace,” said Neylon.