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If Tesla cars can’t be sold without a dealership, what about Costco and Sam’s Club?

Molly Parker
StarNews

The Tesla Model S. www.teslamotors.com

Q. In a recent StarNews article, it was reported that North Carolina residents would not be allowed to purchase cars made by Tesla Motors if proposed legislation passes that would allow purchase of new cars only from franchise dealers. Wholesale stores like Sam’s and Costco sell new cars. How would they get around this law?

A. Actually, Sam’s Club and Costco operate within the dealer franchise laws of North Carolina. According to a Costco manager, the company runs a program whereby dealers opt to participate in the company’s creation of a lead.

“In return for that, dealers agree to offer pre-arranged pricing and pretty significant discounts,” said Dan Martinez, Costco’s manager of services.

Sam Club’s program works similarly. The Auto Buying Program for Sam’s Club members selects participating new car dealers in every market that has a Sam’s Club.

“These dealers have been selected for their willingness to give a low, no-hassle, no-haggle price to Sam’s Club members. When you use the program, you are referred to the special ‘Sam’s Club Contact Person’ at the dealership that has the make of vehicle you want,” a Sam’s Club spokesperson said via email.

The cars are not purchased directly from a Sam’s Club or Costco. They are purchased in accordance with the law from a licensed dealership in the state.

RELATED LINKS:

Did Wilmington ever have a new car auto show?

Does the movie studio rent old cars in good shape for background?

User-contributed question by:
J Taylor

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