KLIF Wheels Ed Wallace & Southwest Ford Charlie Gilchrist Declare that Tesla's Texas Sales Process Is Illegal
2022 June 14

During the June 4, 2022 edition of KLIF Wheels with Ed Wallace show, Ed Wallace and that week's co-host sponsor Southwest Ford Dealer Principal Charlie Gilchrist repeatedly stated a self-serving accusation that the sales Tesla transacts in Texas are illegal.

KLIF Wheels with Ed Wallace – June 4, 2022
Claim: Tesla’s Texas Sales Activity Illegal




Ed Wallace

♫ Audio

“Technically, it is illegal for manufacturers to sell cars direct in Texas. OK...  But Tesla does that."

Charlie Gilchrist

♫ Audio

“What Tesla is doing in the state of Texas is not legal!”
“But what the reality is, is what he is doing is illegal."


In 2009, Charlie Gilchrist was named a director of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association (TADA).  Southwest Ford Dealer Operator Stephen Gilchrist is a current TADA director and the son of Charlie.  In 2014, Tesla advocated for changing Texas laws to once again allow car manufacturers to own dealerships.  To stop that effort, TADA successfully lobbied the Texas legislature to not make any such changes.  And as part of that public relations push, TADA released the following document to reassure the public that Tesla was not being banned from the state.

TADA: Nothing in state law prevents Tesla from continuing its current gallery model [Expand]

Texas Automobile Dealers Association: Myth vs. Fact - Tesla and the Texas Franchise Law:

”Nothing in state law is currently preventing Texans from ordering a Tesla online and having it delivered from California to Texas.”

”Nothing in state law prevents Tesla from continuing its current gallery model.”


TADA explicitly states that Tesla’s current sales process is legal.  Wallace knows this.  Gilchrist knows this.  Tesla follows the Texas laws for purchases made from an out-of-state dealership, as recently discussed in this article linked to by Inside Automotive on June 8, 2022.

As per WBAP Car Pro Jerry Reynolds: In 1999, TADA lobbied for and got enacted the franchise laws that block car manufacturers from owning dealerships.  The laws were passed to protect existing dealership owners at a time Ford was purchasing dealerships in Fort Worth.

Wallace used to assert that these franchise laws were enacted to protect consumers, but that pretense has become so transparent that neither Wallace nor Gilchrist pushed that argument much during the show.  And with the current supply shortages shifting new car purchases into an order-and-wait process, many customers have now experienced a transaction that resembles a direct sale from a manufacturer.  And the customers are fine with it.  So make no mistake; the recent statements by Ford CEO Jim Farley regarding the future movement of car manufacturers towards direct sales have middlemen like Gilchrist spooked. 

Ed Wallace claims that ♫ dealers do not care if Tesla sells cars in Texas as they do not sue to stop it.  Yet, car dealer Charlie Gilchrist is on his show ♫ moaning how Tesla will not franchise its sales and service operations.  And Gilchrist whines that ♫ Tesla “is not suppose to have any” service centers in Texas.  In 2019, TADA unsuccessfully lobbied for a law to close those manufacturer owned service centers.  So, Ed Wallace’s claim that dealers are nonchalant about Tesla is yet another one of his lies.  These new car dealers dare not sue, because such a lawsuit has no basis in law and would push public opinion further against them.  Instead, the dealers lobby the Texas state legislature to pass protectionist laws via TADA, which is less visible to the public and provides them a degree of separation.

And who funds TADA?  New car dealers in Texas fund TADA, along with the personal contributions of those such as KLIF Wheels sponsor Charlie Gilchrist, who donated $1,500 to TADA on 07/15/2020.

To dramatize the antics of these rent-seeking dunsels, Outside Automotive presents a sneak preview of a scene from the upcoming release of Dealership Space, a remake of the cult film favorite Office Space:

Squeals with Ed Wallace: Dealership Space with Southwest Ford Charlie Gilchrist

And for those puzzled by the above graphic because they are unfamiliar with the movie Office Space, the following is submitted for your approval:


Bonus exercise: Take note of the high percentage of the clip's dialog that transfers unaltered to the remake.