Tesla has filed with the State of Texas for a $2.5 million project that will transform 500 E. St. Elmo Road into an almost 30,000 square-foot showroom, Culture Map Austin reported. Construction is planned to start on June 15 and be completed by September 15 of this year. Unfortunately, Texas state law prohibits Tesla from selling vehicles directly to consumers in Texas, but it does allow Tesla to show its vehicles in showrooms. Tesla has two showrooms in Austin already — the Domain in North Austin and at the intersection of Pond Springs Road and Research Boulevard in Northwest Austin.
Tesla won’t be allowed to talk to customers about pricing, since traditional auto dealerships don’t like that — a situation in several states that have banned Tesla from selling directly to consumers because local dealerships have lobbied their state legislatures to prevent Tesla from selling directly to its customers. In many cases, Tesla owners have to travel out of state just to take delivery of their car or even to have it serviced — senseless, if you ask me.
Culture Map noted that Tesla is expected to once again push for direct sales of is vehicles during the 2021 Texas legislative session. I think Tesla has a good case — it’s bringing jobs to Texas, so Texans should be allowed to buy cars from Tesla directly instead of only online. The Texas Automobile Dealers Association will probably fight this effort, as it has done before. Its spokeswoman, Jennifer Stevens, shared her thoughts with Teslarati:
“Tesla has long used an online model for the sale of their vehicles, and nothing in Texas law prevents a Texas consumer from purchasing a Tesla online and having it delivered to them in the state,” she said.
While this is true, it’s a hassle. Under current state law, Tesla would even have to ship its made-in-Texas vehicles out of state before they could be sold to Texas customers. This is senseless.
Again, Tesla is bringing jobs to Texas and helping the state fight its dirty image of being nothing more than an oil state. Many may not realize it, but Tesla is more than just an automaker and more than a tech company. It’s also a clean energy company and its mission is focused on sustainability. I would think Texas could show its appreciation by allowing Tesla to sell to its customers within the state.
However, I’ve said this before regarding dealers — they don’t realize that it’s not about them or even about Tesla. It’s about the consumers. Tesla puts its customers first. Dealerships are middlemen collecting extra money for simply being in that lucky position. They need to adapt and evolve. That’s the only way they will survive, in my opinion.