N.J. Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Allow Tesla to Continue Selling Cars

By Jacob Brown | March 25, 2014
Nearing next month when Tesla is expected to lose its ability to sell cars directly to consumers in New Jersey, a lawmaker has proposed a bill that would keep the electric car maker in business in the Garden State. Assemblyman Tim Eustace has created the bill to make an exception for the automaker, stating that "Because of this new rule, an interested buyer looking for more fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly vehicle options can go look and ask questions about an electric car in New Jersey, but will have to go to Pennsylvania or New York if he or she actually wants to buy the car," Eustace said in a statement. "How does sending business to other states help New Jersey's economy?" The decision to discontinue Tesla's New Jersey license was made by an eight-person committee, including members from Gov. Chris Christie's staff. The line of reasoning given to the public was that dealerships protect consumer interests.
However, franchise laws were largely constructed to protect independent retailers from automakers undercutting them. Tesla has no independent retailers of its cars, thus no one to undercut. Seeing how in many cases dealerships are struggling to learn how to sell electric cars next to more profitable gas-powered cars, it may be in Tesla's best interests to keep a tight grip on the company's message. After April 1, Tesla will only be allowed to keep its galleries open in malls. It will not be allowed to tell customers how to order their vehicles or deliver them in New Jersey. Those looking to purchase a Model S will have to go to a nearby state. Tesla will continue to fight the good fight, having been disallowed from selling vehicles in a handful of states. That is, unless it decides to sell cars through an independent dealership franchise. Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)