- March 8, 2019 at 9:16 am #1527
Wednesday a group of automotive enthusiasts (myself included) brought random cars that we own to Bartle Hall in Kansas City to put on display at the annual Kansas City Auto Show (think LA or Detroit Auto Show but smaller, although Bartle Hall is huge). Since the auto show doesn’t fill the entire hall the group that runs the auto show (Automobile Dealer Association of Kansas City) granted the south end of the exhibit hall to the Kansas City Auto Museum to bring in cars of interest to attendees. The museum reached out to the local auto enthusiast community and were able to get volunteers like myself willing to bring our cars and leave them from 3/6-3/10 for the show. The cars would hopefully attract people at the show to the KC Auto Museum booth and in turn the museum itself.
Unfortunately two individuals brought Teslas, one Model S and one Model X and about an hour after bringing them, parking them and getting them display ready someone from the ADAKC came by and said that because Tesla isn’t a member of the ADAKC (basically meaning Tesla has no dealerships so therefore we don’t like Tesla) that the two Teslas on display would have to leave, they were not welcome at the show. The owners subsequently had to remove the cars that they are enthusiastic about. There were other cars on display whose manufacturers are also not part of the ADAKC, for example Noble, Pontiac, Ariel and Lamborghini to name a few, but those cars were not asked to leave. Since Tesla was being singled out I authored the following email to the two directors of the association: (I’m hoping this site can draw attention to this matter)
Dear Larry and Natalie,
It has come to my attention that a particular make of automobile is being singled out for unfair discrimination at the KC Auto Show this year and that the owners of these cars were asked to remove them from Bartle Hall. The cars in question were 2 used Tesla automobiles owned by private individuals and put on display as part of the KC Auto Museum’s variety of cars display at the KC Auto Show. As an officer/member in multiple car clubs in Kansas City (Porsche, Jaguar, All British, Tesla) I find this action reprehensible and urge you to immediately reconsider your actions before something like this goes viral and brings negative publicity to the car show.
I understand that with regard to NEW cars that Tesla does not have a dealer network and does not participate in the Automobile Dealer Association of Greater Kansas City. I would understand if your association told Tesla that they could not bring new cars down and could not be represented at the show unless they joined the organization. HOWEVER, this is NOT what is happening in this instance. These two cars are privately owned used cars brought by their enthusiastic owners to help support the KC Auto Museum display at the auto show. There were owners who brought Pontiacs, a Noble, a couple of Ariel Atoms and Lamborghinis ALL of which are NOT members of the ADAKC. So if you are going to discriminate against non-members then you need to do it equally and ask that ALL non member cars leave the show, not simply single out Tesla.
Please let me know whether or not the Teslas are welcome to come back or if the unfair discrimination against these owners and their vehicles is going to continue. Speaking of the owners, the people you are hurting are automotive enthusiasts, not the audience you want to hurt. These individuals took their time to clean up their cars and transport them down to Bartle Hall only to be told a few hours later that they had to take them back out. While I currently have 2 cars on display at the show (1956 Jaguar XK140 and 2016 Porsche GT4) I am not sure that I will be willing to support a show in the future that unfairly discriminates against a certain model car. I hesitate to think how Marion Battaglia would react if I told him that either my Jag or Porsche was being discriminated against and being asked to leave the show. As I mentioned this unfair discrimination isn’t hurting Tesla the car company which the association may have an issue with, but rather hurting individual automotive enthusiasts.
Some 24+ hours later I have not yet received any response to my email. As you can imagine, members of our local TOC are not happy and most are boycotting the show although I don’t know if that really does anything. As I mentioned above, happy to listen to ideas for how we can get the word out about this happening to a couple of our members.March 8, 2019 at 4:47 pm #1538
Picked up by national media here: http://www.thedrive.com/news/26855/tesla-owners-claim-dealer-association-forced-their-cars-out-of-kansas-city-auto-showMarch 21, 2019 at 8:52 pm #1557
It amazes me that people who have never been in, or driven, an EV are so anti-EV. My experience is that once they have gotten to ride in one, their minds are changed dramatically. I was LITERALLY just at the grocery store, and a guy was leaning on his car next to mine in the parking lot looking over my car when I came out, and I almost said “Hey – you got five minutes? I’ll give you a quick ride!” That would have been fun for the both of us.
After one test drive, I was sold. Really had no idea WHAT the cars would be like, but it only takes ONE test drive . . .
Had that been my Model S down there at the show, when I got back to move it, I would have been like “Oh man – wouldn’t you know it? I left a door open – the battery’s dead! I am going to have to have it towed outta here later tonight – I’m so stupid! This is a problem with these battery cars – they are always dying on you at the worst times.” Maybe Tesla needs a “dead-mode” button on the app, so it APPEARS dead – that could be handy!
The funny thing to me is that we are in a very short-lived anti-EV bubble right now. Within 5 years, there won’t be an auto manufacturer WITHOUT an EV, and the mindset of the general population will be changing very, very quickly.
But kudos Ken! I’m behind you brother!
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