It looks as though Tesla is once again aiming to confront the legal obstacles in Texas that prohibit it from selling directly to customers, challenging the influence of the auto dealers lobby there, according to CBS DFW.
Tesla executives will reportedly be looking to present their case to Texan politicians ahead of the upcoming legislative session.
Given the way that Texas presents itself as being all about open competition and the free market, you would think that the politicians there would support allowing Tesla to sell directly, wouldn’t you? It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds.
As of right now, Tesla does operate three show galleries in Texas, but the employees there are prohibited from discussing pricing, features, options, and/or offering test drives. All that they are legally allowed to do is direct potential customers to the company’s website. Humorously, the company also actually has to use nondescript, unmarked trucks when delivering in the state.
GAS2 provides some more information:
For a state that prides itself on being “open for business” Texas has shut the door tight on Tesla sales. Not that Tesla doesn’t have allies. Outgoing Texas governor Rick Perry cuddled up to Tesla in an attempt to bring the Gigafactory to his state, and at least one former Texas car dealer thinks the electric automaker should be allowed to operate its direct sales model. But the embedded dealership lobby still has a tight hold on the leashes of a lot of local politicians.
So how can Tesla turn the tides in their favor? That will most likely hinge on the promise of building future production facilities in Texas, perhaps the next Gigafactory or a second assembly plant for vehicles once production at the Fremont factory is maxed out. Toyota recently made the decision to move its US headquarters from California to Texas in part because of the more business-friendly laws, and though Tesla may remain “committed” to California, business is business and Musk has proven he can get what he wants from states when the chips are down.
Given that Texas is the second-biggest new car market in the US (after California), it is probably pretty important for Tesla to make some headway there, especially before the company releases its upcoming “affordable” model. Over 1.5 million new cars are expected to be sold in Texas in 2015 — how could a car manufacturer not want a piece of that?
Image Credit: Chris DeMorro | GAS2
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