Published on April 24th, 2013 | by James Ayre11
Poll: Texans Support Tesla Motors’ Right To Sell Directly To Consumers
April 24th, 2013 by James Ayre
Update: tweet from Elon Musk on April 24:
A recent poll from the Austin Business Journal is showing just how popular the idea of Tesla Motors selling directly to consumers in Texas is, and perhaps how popular Tesla’s EVs have the potential to be in the state. Over 86% of respondents to the new poll said that Tesla should be able to sell its cars directly and bypass the unnecessary dealership model. A further 2% stated that they were unsure. Only 12% answered no when asked the question: “Tesla wants to sell electric cars directly to consumers. Should it be allowed to bypass Texas dealership regulations?”
While polls can certainly be worded in a way as to get a certain desired response, this question doesn’t seem to lead respondents in any specific direction.
“This survey confirms that Texans, who take pride in their free enterprise philosophy, do not believe that there should be an arbitrary exception in the automotive marketplace. For the Auto Dealer Association to claim that restricting competition is in the best interests of the public is wrong and defies obvious common sense,” stated Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors.
“We hope that legislators will consider the overwhelming support shown in this poll and vote yes on House Bill 3351/Senate Bill 1659, which would allow manufacturers of electric cars to sell directly to consumers in Texas. This amendment takes care to ensure that the long held franchise rights of auto dealers to sell their existing brands are still protected, which was the original intention of the law.”
Beyond the simple fact that car dealerships are an outdated concept, and that all car companies should probably have the option to sell directly to consumers, there is a clear conflict of interest for dealerships with regards to EVs. Auto dealers have little incentive to push EVs when their sales/livelihood are almost entirely dependent upon gasoline-powered cars. To push EVs based on their superior qualities undermines their own business. Which is perhaps one of the reasons why there has been such a backlash from car dealerships against Tesla — Tesla is selling a superior product, while also being a completely independent competitor from them.
As Tesla has often noted, the ability to sell EVs directly to consumers is probably an important factor if EVs are going to be adopted on a rapid time frame, which is what’s needed if we are going to avoid the worst effects of climate change, including catastrophic changes to our water and agricultural systems.
Following the successful passage of this bill, “Tesla is committed to create several hundred new jobs in Texas at its stores and service centers. Texas would also be a leading candidate for the location of a future Tesla auto manufacturing plant.”
To my ears, that sounds like a much stronger incentive to the people of Texas than simply wanting to preserve the outdated and competition-killing car dealership model.