Electric vehicle startups Rivian and Lucid Motors are being sued for their plans to sell vehicles directly to consumers in Illinois.
A lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court by the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association and other plaintiffs including many dealers, alleges that the two automakers and the state of Illinois are violating state laws that require new vehicles to be sold through franchised dealers.
“We have no choice but to file this lawsuit, both to protect consumers as well as the hundreds of franchised dealers across the state who contribute to the local economy,” president of the Illinois Automobile Dealers Association, Pete Sander, said in a statement. “Our franchised members already sell dozens of electric and hybrid vehicles. We ask that manufacturers sell them in Illinois according to state law. We’re not demanding they cease operations in the state, just that they franchise a dealer.”
The Illinois Automobile Dealers Association represents more than 700 automotive dealerships operating some 2,300 franchises across the state. It states that the direct sales models being pursued by Rivian and Lucid violate the Illinois Vehicle Code and the Illinois Motor Vehicle Franchise Act, the Chicago Tribute reports.
This isn’t the first time dealers in Illinois have expressed their concern over direct sales. Dealers previously challenged Tesla’s pursuit of a direct sales model in the state and ultimately reached an administrative consent order with Tesla and the Secretary of State to allow the car manufacturer to operate no more than 13 dealer licenses in Illinois.
Sander claims this agreement was made with an assurance from the Illinois Secretary of State that it “would not issue licenses authorizing direct sales to any additional manufacturers.”