The law grandfathers in an existing Tesla location, according to the Mississippi Automobile Dealers Association.
“It’s rewarding to know that Mississippi lawmakers recognized the importance of a strong dealership network that we have in our state,” said Marty Milstead, the association’s president.
“There’s one set of rules for all the manufacturers in Mississippi,” he added. “EV companies don’t get to have their own set of rules.”
Startup EV manufacturers such as Rivian and Lucid, which follow Tesla’s model of selling vehicles directly to consumers without a franchised dealership network, have advocated in recent years for exemptions to dealer franchise laws to accommodate their sales model.
“The passage and signing of HB 401 takes Mississippi in the wrong direction on consumer choice and is a loss for both Mississippi’s economy and residents,” Rivian said in a statement provided to Automotive News. “Blocking EV-only manufacturers from investing in the state creates unhelpful restrictions for car buyers and prevents investments that would create good-paying jobs in automotive technology.”