Arizona Senate committee okays bill allowing Tesla’s direct sales model

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 24, 2014

The Commerce, Energy and Military Committee of the Arizona Senate has approved a bill, on a 3-2 vote, that would allow Tesla Motors Inc. to sell its cars directly to consumers in the state. The bill requires Tesla to have a service center in Arizona to handle repairs and warranty issues, according to a by the Associated Press.

The bill will be forwarded to another committee for review, and then to the full Senate. Arizona Senate Majority Leader John McComish dubbed the bill as a “pre-emptive strike” against future measures that would outlaw Tesla’s direct-sale model. “What has happened … is that in some states, they are moving to outlaw that kind of operation,” McComish told AP.

“But I think we should be about opportunities for innovation rather than stifling innovation.” A Tesla spokeswoman wrote in a statement that the carmaker is pleased with efforts in the Arizona Senate that could let customers buy EVs directly from Tesla and other carmakers in the state. “We look forward to working with both the Senate and Assembly to pass this legislation in support of the free market in Arizona.”

The measure was presented in January in the Arizona House, according to a blog posted on Phoenix New Times. It was passed as a bill that “absolutely had nothing to do with cars at all.” Due to Arizona’s strike-anything amendment that allows the text of a bill be substituted with new language, the measure is being revived as a pro-Tesla bill.

Tesla has been pressing for approval of its direct-sale model in several states, but has met opposition from dealers and associations representing them. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission this month voted to bar any form of direct automotive sales in the Garden State, thereby effectively forbidding Tesla’s direct-sale model in its territory. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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