Tesla appears to have found an effective loophole that would enable it to operate in Connecticut, which has taken a stance against the electric vehicle maker over the years through initiatives designed to block it from establishing a presence in the state.
Mohegan Sun, an entertainment destination operated by the Mohegan Tribe, revealed plans to introduce a Tesla Electric Vehicle Showroom, expected to debut in the fall within The Shops at Mohegan Sun. Per a press release, both locals and visitors to the area will have the opportunity to purchase a variety of Tesla models at the site. Visitors can also explore Tesla’s solar and storage products at the facility.
The partnership between Mohegan Sun and Tesla to operate a sales and delivery center on sovereign tribal land is a significant milestone, the first collaboration of its kind in Connecticut.
Jeff Hamilton, president and general manager of Mohegan Sun, expressed his enthusiasm for the project.
“We’re really excited about this new Tesla EV Showroom opening this fall at Mohegan Sun," Hamilton said. "This endeavor with Tesla marks an electrifying milestone in Mohegan Sun’s commitment to fostering impactful relationships, promoting environmental sustainability, and offering cutting-edge experiences for our millions of annual guests, each of which are core goals of Mohegan Sun and the Mohegan Tribe."
As part of the collaboration, Tesla will work with Mohegan to integrate local talent into its workforce development programs. The initiative aims to provide opportunities for Mohegan Tribal members and Mohegan team members to acquire skills pertinent for the EV sector. Such initiatives could lead to career paths with Tesla.
The Tesla showroom will be located across from Todd English’s Tuscany, with deliveries taking place nearby at Sky Tower valet. Visitors will have the chance to test drive popular Tesla models around the resort as well.
The deal bodes well for Tesla, considering the challenges it has faced in Connecticut in the past. Over the years, Tesla has attempted to launch several initiatives to support its customers in the state, but the company has met strong opposition from the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association (CARA). Hayden Reynolds, chairman of CARA, issued a statement about Tesla’s deal with Mohegan Sun.
“It is essential to strike a balance between respecting tribal sovereignty and maintaining a level playing field for all car dealerships in Connecticut,” Reynolds said, adding that while the association respects the tribe’s sovereignty, “we strongly believe that this does not change the discussion about Tesla and other EV manufacturers with direct-to-consumer sales, and we continue to oppose that model. Connecticut’s dealer franchise laws benefit consumers and provide a competitive marketplace.”