The saga of the Tesla gallery in Greenwich is continuing, as Connecticut State Supreme Court will hear an appeal by the electric-vehicle manufacturer.
At issue is whether the operation at 340 Greenwich Ave., which was closed in March, was simply a “gallery” – which Tesla maintains allowed prospective buyers to look at, test drive and later order a Tesla over the phone or the internet – or a sales office, as other car dealers have alleged. While delivery of Teslas was supposed to take place outside of Connecticut, the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association (CARA) and others believe that has not always been the case.
Such practices are forbidden by the state’s Connecticut Franchise Act, which prevents the direct sale of automobiles from manufacturers to consumers.
Last December, Superior Court Judge Joseph Shortall ruled in favor of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles’ claim that Tesla had been illegally selling vehicles from its Greenwich gallery. Tesla sued the DMV in 2017 after it ordered the automaker to cease all operations in Greenwich. Tesla then filed an appeal with the Appellate Court, which has been transferred to the Supreme Court.
The closing of the Greenwich gallery was apparently driven by the Palo Alto, California-based company’s switch in strategy to sell its vehicles almost exclusively online.