Elon Musk exploits loophole in New Mexico law to establish Tesla center on tribal land 


Elon Musk dodges ban on direct sales in New Mexico as Tesla sets up center in defunct casino on tribal land where customers can buy cars without going through third-party dealers

  • New Mexico law prohibits car manufacturers from selling directly to customers without going through third-party dealers 
  • Law has kept carmaker Tesla from doing official business in state for years
  • In an attempt to work around the laws, they have partnered with the Nambe Pueblo first nation tribe to open up a facility 
  • The building is currently a defunct casino on tribal land just north of Sante Fe 










Elon Musk has dodged a ban on direct car sales in New Mexico by setting up a Tesla showroom on tribal land in the state.   

New Mexico law prohibits car manufacturers from selling directly to customers without going through third-party dealers. 

The rules, which exist in a few other US states, are meant to protect dealers from their own automakers opening a company-owned store next to a third-party dealership. 

Electric carmakers like Tesla have no history of deals with third-party franchises meaning the firm has not done official business in the state for years. 

However, it has now been able to bypass those laws and open a sales and service center in a defunct casino on Nambe Pueblo land where customers can buy the cars direct from the manufacturer. 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk exploited a loophole to avoid following New Mexico laws while setting up a sales and service center with one of the tribal nations in the state

Tesla CEO Elon Musk exploited a loophole to avoid following New Mexico laws while setting up a sales and service center with one of the tribal nations in the state

In 2019, Tesla tried to push a new law in the state with the help of some favorable legislators, but local car dealer associations used their political influence to shut it down, according to Electrek.  

‘This location will not only create permanent jobs, it is also part of a longterm relationship with Tesla,’ said Nambe Pueblo Gov. Phillip Perez.

The building is currently a defunct casino on tribal land just north of Sante Fe. 

State law doesn’t apply on that land, making it legal for Tesla to start building. 

The facility opened Thursday with tribal leaders and state lawmakers in attendance.

They all saw it as a huge opportunity for the region.  

‘This location will not only create permanent jobs, it is also part of a longterm relationship with Tesla,’ said Nambe Pueblo Gov. Phillip Perez.

'This location will not only create permanent jobs, it is also part of a longterm relationship with Tesla,' said Nambe Pueblo Gov. Phillip Perez

‘This location will not only create permanent jobs, it is also part of a longterm relationship with Tesla,’ said Nambe Pueblo Gov. Phillip Perez

'This location will not only create permanent jobs, it is also part of a longterm relationship with Tesla,' said Nambe Pueblo Gov. Phillip Perez.

‘This location will not only create permanent jobs, it is also part of a longterm relationship with Tesla,’ said Nambe Pueblo Gov. Phillip Perez.

‘As the company is working with pueblo nambe to provide education and training opportunities for tribal members, as well as economic development,’ he added.

Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich called the deal a step toward greener energy for the nation’s transportation infrastructure, while adding that it gave the state more access to electric cars.  

‘We need to double down on this progress and expand uncapped consumer incentives for electric vehicles, make it easier to manufacture electric vehicles in the United States, and fund the rapid electrification of the federal fleet of vehicles,’ Heinrich said in a statement.

The Nambe Pueblo are one of the six Tewa-speaking pueblo tribes in the region, according to their website. 

The state of New Mexico and the federal government have repeatedly recognized the status of the pueblo tribes as sovereign nations.

The Nambe Pueblo are one of the six Tewa-speaking pueblo tribes in the region

The Nambe Pueblo are one of the six Tewa-speaking pueblo tribes in the region

Both local and national leaders appeared at the opening and praised it as an opportunity for the state

Both local and national leaders appeared at the opening and praised it as an opportunity for the state

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