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Tesla has made a groundbreaking agreement with the Oneida Indian Nation to establish its first showroom in upstate New York, cleverly navigating around the state law that restricts car manufacturers from directly selling vehicles to customers. According to Syracuse.com, the planned 25,000-square-foot facility will be situated on Oneida Indian Nation-owned land near Canastota in Madison County, opposite the International Boxing Hall of Fame at Thruway Exit 35. The showroom is scheduled to open its doors in 2025, with the nation constructing the building and then leasing it back to Tesla. The Oneida Indian Nation will utilize their existing project labor agreements with local building trade unions to hire workers for this venture.

In addition to the showroom, Tesla will inaugurate a delivery center next week at the Oneidas’ Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona. This center will enable customers to conveniently pick up their pre-ordered electric vehicles. This unique partnership between Tesla and the Oneidas is made feasible through a “settlement agreement” established between the nation and the state of New York in 2013. The agreement addressed various longstanding issues between the two parties, including land claims, law enforcement, and taxes. Consequently, the Oneidas possess the freedom to pursue responsible land use and economic development initiatives without interference from the state.

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By leveraging this agreement, Tesla successfully circumvents the state law that compels car manufacturers to sell vehicles through third-party dealers, rather than directly to customers. This strategic maneuver mirrors the approach taken by Tesla in opening a store and service center in New Mexico, where it collaborated with the First Nation of Nambe Pueblo. Notably, Tesla already operates four locations in New York State, including two in Westchester County, one in New York City, and another on Long Island. These existing locations were permitted to remain open following the enforcement of a state law in 2014, which imposed stricter regulations on vehicle sales through dealerships.

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