Elon Musk’s Tesla sues Swedish Transport Agency and Postnord over blockaded number plates

Image of the Tesla factory in Segeltorp, Sweden.

Image of the Tesla factory in Segeltorp, Sweden. Credit: Holger.Ellgaard/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

TESLA filed a lawsuit against the Swedish Transport Agency on Monday, November 27, at Norrköping District Court, in the region where the Agency is based. 

Similarly, Eon Musk’s electric vehicle manufacturer filed another case against the Nordic postal service Postnord, this time at Solna District Court.

The purpose of the lawsuits is to gain access to number plates for its vehicles that striking workers in Sweden have halted. ‘This behaviour constitutes a targeted, baseless and discriminatory attack on Tesla, its employees and customers’, said Tesla.

A court order was also made, requesting a so-called interim safety measure that the number plates can be collected directly from the plate manufacturer while the legal process is ongoing. This request was duly approved by Norrköping District Court.

The Swedish Transport Agency opposed the court’s decision

The court’s decision was immediately opposed by the Swedish Transport Agency which considered it to be a breach of the agreement with the supplier. They also cited security reasons as to why the plates may only be delivered by Postnord.

Anna Berggrund, the Director of the Vehicle Information Department at the Swedish Transport Agency explained: ‘Our mission is to provide licence plates through procured suppliers. We have fulfilled this by taking the plates to Postnord’.

According to Dagens Industri, one of Sweden’s leading business publications, the district court’s decision read: ‘The Swedish Transport Agency is ordered to agree, at the latest within seven days of notification of the district court’s decision – for the period thereafter until otherwise decided – at the risk of a fine of SEK 1,000,000, that Tesla can pick up licence plates for the vehicles that Tesla owns’.

It continued: ‘They are registered in accordance with the Ordinance (2019:383) on vehicle registration and use and which have been assigned a registration number by the Swedish Transport Agency, from the manufacturer of the licence plates Aktiebolaget Scandinavian Motorcenter (SMC)’.

‘According to the district court’s opinion, the security measure is proportionate’, the court added.

What can happen next after today’s court decision?

The Swedish Transport Agency now has 14 days to lodge an appeal, after which the district court would have to re-examine the matter.

Today’s decision was made without hearing the other party, something that the court insisted was related to its assessment of a risk of delay. The court also took into account that there was ‘considerable damage’ to Tesla and its customers every day.

In a short statement issued after the district court’s decision, the car manufacturer said: ‘It is gratifying that with this decision, Tesla can continue to deliver new cars to our customers’.

Tesla is a non-unionised company

Tesla operates globally as a non-unionised company, and with approximately 127,000 employees worldwide it has continually rejected calls for unions to be formed.

The number plate blockade started some days ago with IF Metall, the union representing the mechanics, but other Swedish unions have since introduced ‘sympathy measures’ in an attempt to force Tesla to sign a collective agreement.

Despite belonging to local unions in Sweden, the striking Tesla workers at IF Metall are excluded from sectoral collective agreements as a result of the company’s stance.

Due to the postal blockade that the postal union Seko placed against Tesla, the delivery of number plates for newly registered cars was blocked.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com