Tesla opens a showroom on Native American land in New Mexico, getting around the state’s ban on automakers selling vehicles straight to consumers

Tesla CEO Elon Musk wears a black and white bandana around his neck in front a light blue sky.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Tesla has opened a sales, service, and delivery center in New Mexico on Native American land, The Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

The move allows it to bypass legislation that bans automakers from selling their vehicles straight to consumers in the state, rather than through third-party dealers, the publication reported. Nambé Pueblo in Santa Fe County isn’t subject to the state law.

Potential customers can test Tesla vehicles at the center and Tesla owners can take their vehicles there for repairs, per the report.

This is the first Tesla sales, service, and delivery center in the state, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said.

Two Santa Fe residents told The New Mexican that in the past they’d had to take their Tesla Model Y Performance to El Paso when it broke down – a journey of around 300 miles (483km).

To make the center in New Mexico, Tesla repurposed a defunct casino in Nambé Pueblo, Gov. Grisham said.

Phillip Perez, governor of Nambé Pueblo, told the publication: “We are proud to be the first tribe to have Tesla on Indian lands.”

The Tesla Owners Club of New Mexico, which says it has more than 500 members, was set up in 2015 to campaign for the opening of a Tesla sales and service center in the state.

Brian Dear, founder and president of the club, told The New Mexican that the new Tesla center “changes everything for owners,” and would help boost electric vehicle sales.

“It’s a gigantic thing for New Mexico,” Dear said. “It’s such a significant milestone.”

Jerry Ortiz y Pino, a member of New Mexico’s state senate, has been pushing to overturn the law restricting who can sell vehicles in the state.

In 2019, he sponsored a bill allowing non-franchised car manufacturers, such as Tesla, to sell and service their vehicles in New Mexico. He told The New Mexican that the state’s auto dealers had “absolutely opposed” the legislation. The bill ultimately fell through.

Other states also ban direct vehicle sales – Insider previously reported that this meant Tesla had to ship Texas-made cars to other states before it can sell them to Texans.