Anti-Tesla legislation in North Carolina killed by Model S

Article by Anita Panait, on November 29, 2013

On the verge of totally losing selling ground in North Carolina after the state Senate voted unanimously to block online auto sales, Tesla Motors Inc. turned to its greatest lobby weapon – the Model S. The carmaker parked a Model S at the capitol and invited lawmakers as well as Republican Gov. Pat McCrory for a test drive.

"When you accelerate it, it was the same sort of feeling I got when I test-drove a Mustang Boss back when I was probably 23 years old," House Speaker Thomas Tillis told the Raleigh News & Observer. The anti-Tesla legislation reached its cul-de-sac as Tillis's chamber never voted on it. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk wants to sell the Model directly to customers through the Internet or through its galleries.

However, this plan has met opposition in at least seven states from franchised dealers who view the carmaker’s marketing and sales models as threats. Tesla delivered about 5,500 Model S in the third quarter of 2013, over twice as many than in full year 2012.

The carmaker disclosed on Nov. 6 that it plans to deliver "slightly under 6,000" in the last quarter of 2013, with Musk saying demand exceeds supply.

The carmaker’s sales rely on access to customers, which are reached via a pattern after those of tech companies. The Tesla Model S is currently being investigated by US regulators following three fire incidents and an industrial incident where three workers were injured at its sole assembly plant.

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