Home News Tesla Model S and X owners face discrimination at dealer-run auto show

Tesla Model S and X owners face discrimination at dealer-run auto show

Tesla Model S and X owners face discrimination at dealer-run auto show

A number of Tesla owners are calling foul on the organizers of the 2019 Kansas City Auto Show after the event’s organizers, the Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Kansas City (ADAKC), showed discrimination against a Model S and Model X by forcing the electric Automobiles out of the event.

The annual exhibition is being held in the Bartle Hall convention center, and since the auto show itself didn’t fill the whole venue, the ADAKC allocated the south end of the exhibit hall to the Kansas City Auto Museum. The museum achieved to the local auto enthusiast community to look for volunteers who wish to display their vehicles as part of their function. Quite a few locals answered the call, bringing their cars over to participate in the series. Among these vehicles were a Tesla Model S and Model X.

Tesla enthusiast James Ransom prepared the two electric cars for the auto show, dropping them off in the exhibition’s place. The following day, he received a call in the event’s organizers telling him that the Teslas aren’t welcome in the function. Ransom clarified the circumstances in a statement to The Drive.

“I was called on Wednesday evening and asked to eliminate the Teslas. I had been told that the cars were not allowed to remain because they were not part of the Dealers Association. Something about a higher-up in the institution who stated that the Teslas could not be in the show on account of the manufacturer not using dealerships for their earnings,” Ransom said.

(Photo: James Ransom/The Drive)

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Fellow Tesla owner and prominent Kansas-based automobile enthusiast Ken Smiley, whose 1956 Jaguar XK140 and 2016 Porsche GT4 are on display in the show, noted in an email to Teslarati that the ADAKC’s excuse for the elimination of the two electric cars was suspicious at best. Smiley mentioned in an email that there were several other vehicles on display from producers who were not part of their ADAKC, such as Noble, Pontiac, Ariel, and Lamborghini. All these vehicles were welcomed and permitted to remain.

To address the situation, Ken sent an email to the organizers, calling them out on the discriminatory practice. Below is the Tesla owner’s email in full.

Dear Larry and Natalie,

It has come to my attention that a particular make of automobile is being singled out for unfair discrimination in the KC Auto Show this year and that the owners of those cars were asked to remove them from Bartle Hall. The vehicles in question were two used Tesla automobiles owned by private individuals and put on display as part of the KC Auto Museum’s variety of automobiles display in the KC Auto Show. As an officer/member in multiple car clubs in Kansas City (Porsche, Jaguar, All British, Tesla) I find that this action reprehensible and encourage you to immediately reconsider your actions until something like this goes viral and brings negative publicity to the car show.

I understand that with respect to NEW automobiles that Tesla doesn’t have a dealer network and doesn’t participate in the Automobile Dealer Association of Greater Kansas City. I would understand if your institution told Tesla that they could not bring down new cars and could not be represented in the show unless they joined the business. However, this is NOT what is happening in this example. These two cars are privately owned used cars due to their enthusiastic owners to help support the KC Auto Museum display at the auto show. There were owners who attracted Pontiacs, a Noble, a couple of Ariel Atoms and Lamborghinis ALL of that are NOT members of the ADAKC. So if you will discriminate against non-members, then you will need to do it both and ask that ALL non-member cars leave the series, not simply single out Tesla.

Please allow me to know whether the Teslas are welcome to return or if the unfair discrimination against those owners and their vehicles is going to continue. Speaking of the owners, the people you are hurting are automotive enthusiasts, not the audience you need to hurt. These individuals took their time to clean up their cars and transport them down to Bartle Hall only to be informed a few hours later that they had to take out them. While I now have two cars on display in the show (1956 Jaguar XK140 and 2016 Porsche GT4) I am not certain that I will be inclined to support a show later on that unfairly discriminates against a specific 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 series. As I mentioned, this unfair discrimination isn’t damaging Tesla the car company, which the institution could have an issue with, but instead hurting individual automotive enthusiasts.



The automobile enthusiast notes that the ADAKC has not responded to his email yet. Due to the episode and the blatant act of discrimination, Ken notes that many car fans and Tesla owners are boycotting the event to show their frustration at the organizers. An ADAKC spokesperson did issue a statement to The Drive, but dependent on the organization’s stance, it seems that they are placing the blame on the offended Tesla enthusiasts.

“This is a non-story. Ken Smiley is only bringing this up because he seems to be angry and wants to stir the pot,” the spokesperson said, adding that the two Teslas do not match the “Classic Car” theme of the exhibition. When pressed by the publication why other modern vehicles from non-ADAKC members, such as Ariel Atoms and Lamborghini Huracans, were permitted to stay, the spokesperson was less certain, stating that they “needed to talk to the show’s manufacturer. ”

The 2019 Kansas City Auto Show was held from March 6-10, 2019.

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