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Tesla Is Selling Cars On Native American Lands In Order To Skirt Around State Laws

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Tesla has long been a controversial company. From its eccentric founder to its self-driving cars, people are becoming increasingly suspicious of the automotive giant. Recently, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported that Tesla opened up a car dealership and service center on Native American lands. And they did so to avoid having to follow local laws.

Tesla opened a dealership on Native American lands as a way to sidestep New Mexico laws that prevent car manufacturers from selling their own cars in the state.

New Mexico has a law that requires car manufacturers to sell their cars through car dealerships. The law is meant to protect middle-class jobs and allow for a competitive automobile marketplace. But Tesla does not franchise the selling or repairing of its cars to dealerships. Instead, they opt for a direct-to-consumer model that auto dealers oppose.

But since Native American lands are sovereign (meaning they follow their own set of laws instead of the state of federal government’s), Tesla realized that they could dodge New Mexico’s law by building a dealership on the land of the Nambé Pueblo people.

For the most part, the Nambé Pueblo people are excited at Tesla’s presence on their land.

“It was a cooperative effort between Tesla and the pueblo,” said Nambe Pueblo Gov. Phillip Perez to the New Mexican. “It didn’t take long to come to terms.”

Perez also expressed joy at the fact that Tesla doesn’t rely on fossil fuels to operate. “We are doing our part to protect Mother Earth,” he said. “We are proud to be the first tribe to have Tesla on Indian lands. This is really great that we are able to pave the way for New Mexico with renewable energy.”

Tesla repurposed a defunct casino for their new showroom, sales, service, and delivery center at Nambe Falls Travel Center.

Both the Nambé Pueblo people and locals are excited at what this development could do for the local economy. Just like the prevalence of casinos on Native American lands, Tesla dealerships could be an influx of much-needed cash to these underfunded communities.

“It changes everything for [Tesla] owners,” said Brian Dear, the president of the Tesla Owners Club of New Mexico, to the New Mexican. “It going to help improve electric vehicle sales. People can go and get test drives, which has never happened here. It’s a gigantic thing for New Mexico. It’s such a significant milestone.”

Sen. Ben Ray Luján, who is one of the Nambé Pueblo, was similarly effusive. “I had the honor of growing up with [pueblo] members who made this happen,” he told the New Mexican. “This is what happens when great minds come together.” For now, this could be the start of a beautiful partnership between Tesla and the Indigenous peoples of America.

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