Despite Tesla’s best efforts, the Texas legislature this week opted not to pass a bill which would have allowed the electric automaker to sell cars directly to consumers. Instead, if Tesla wants to sell its highly revered vehciles in the lone star state, it looks like it’s going to have to do it through local franchise dealers, something the company has no intention of doing.
Unfortunately, this is a story we’ve seen play time and time again in many states over the past few years. Tesla, which prefers (read: demands) to sell its cars directly to consumers, is forced to lawyer up and fight against powerful and influential auto dealer lobbyists who want to protect their cash cows.
Highlighting the outdated nature of franchise laws, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, following New Jersey issuing a similar ban against Tesla direct sales, penned an insightful letter on the topic to the “people of New Jersey.” Thankfully, New Jersey this past March took heed, wised up, and reversed its sales ban.
While it’d be nice if Texas did the same, it’s hard to be optimistic given how little some of the politicians down there actually know about the car industry, let alone about what Tesla actually does.
The following criticism from Texas state Representative Senfronia Thompson highlights the challenge Tesla is up against.
“It would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first,” Thompson said.
Yes, if only Mr. Tesla came back from the dead to sit down for a nice little tete-a-tete with car dealers, perhaps then they could have hammered out a mutually beneficial agreement.
The losers in all of this, per usual, are the citizens of Texas who continue to have to jump through hoops if they want to purchase what Car and Driver recently called the “Car of The Century.”