Tesla Sues Swedish Transport Agency Over Blocked License Plates

In a bold move, Tesla has filed a lawsuit against the Swedish Transport Agency after postal workers in Sweden began blocking deliveries of license plates for the company’s cars. This action has sparked a contentious battle between the American electric vehicle manufacturer and Swedish labor groups.

A Show of Solidarity

The conflict began when Swedish postal workers decided to block the distribution of Tesla license plates in a show of solidarity with striking workers. The Swedish unions have been pressuring Tesla with strikes and blockades due to the company’s refusal to sign a collective bargaining agreement with employees in its service division, including technicians and mechanics.

Legal Response

Tesla claims that the Swedish government has a “constitutional obligation to provide registration plates to vehicle owners,” and as a result, the company filed a lawsuit with the Norrk√∂ping district court on Monday. It also sued the postal service, according to Bloomberg. The filing highlighted the fact that Tesla had delivered 9,167 cars to Sweden in 2022, with the Model Y being the best-selling car in the country so far in 2023. The lawsuit argues that Tesla should be able to collect license plates directly “into Tesla’s possession” instead of receiving them by mail.

Tesla’s Reaction

In response to the situation, Tesla CEO Elon Musk expressed his disbelief by saying “This is insane,” in a post on X, the site he owns formerly known as Twitter. The company’s frustration was further articulated in the lawsuit filing, where Tesla described the seizure of license plates as a “discriminatory attack without any support in law.”

The Aftermath

As a result of the legal action, Tesla’s shares were down less than 1% on Monday. Despite this, a Tesla spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment. Representatives for the Swedish government also did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

The lawsuit and subsequent legal battle shed light on the challenges Tesla faces in navigating international labor relations. The company’s disagreement with Swedish labor groups presents a significant obstacle as it continues to expand its global operations and customer base. As the lawsuit unfolds, the outcome will undoubtedly have implications for Tesla’s business in Sweden and may influence its approach to labor negotiations in other countries.