NJ Assembly votes 77-0 to allow Tesla direct sales stores

NJ Assembly votes 77-0 to allow Tesla direct sales stores

A bill that would allow Tesla to have four retail stores in New Jersey passed the General Assembly 77-0. The measure moves next to the stateês Senate, and the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers (NJ CAR) is fighting it with an alternative bill that strengthens the franchise system.

When the state Motor Vehicle Commission stopped direct sales at Teslaês two stores in April, Tesla CEO Elon Musk vowed to take the fight to the legislature, and he did. The bill that passed the Assembly does not name Tesla but would let any company selling zero-emission vehicles set up as many as four stores. The company would be required to have at least one service facility.

General Motors and Toyota, among other automakers, have resisted Teslaês model –because once the factory comes in and starts to sell direct, like Tesla is trying to do, thatês going to make it more challenging [for other automakers] to maintain their foothold and protect their margins,” Alec Gutierrez, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told Bloomberg News.

The arguments on Teslaês side partly centered on making sure the state welcomes innovators and entrepreneurs. Curiously, the bill that passed was supported by the New Jersey Commerce and Industry Association.

In responding to the Assemblyês action, NJ CAR president Jim Appleton said in a statement to the Star-Ledger, –NJ CAR is committed to working with members of the Legislature who are exploring options that would allow a start-up electric car maker, like Tesla, a reasonable period of time to ramp up operations (or sales volume) before they conform their business operations to the franchise model.”

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