When Chris Christie became governor of New Jersey four years ago, he vowed to revive the private sector and hold back benefits for public workers. But his administrations’ recent spat with Tesla Motors Inc. has some people becoming more dismayed at how he handled things.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission voted March 11 to block Tesla from making direct sales to customers in the state. It appeased dealers, who see Tesla’s sales model as a threat to their bottom lines. But some were perturbed by the decision, including customers in the state who are looking to buy a Tesla Model S sedan online and direct from the carmaker.
One of such customers is Philip Blackwood of Lincroft, N.J. He purchased his Tesla Model S about a year ago, and he considers the biggest selling of the vehicle is it could be purchased directly, without having to worry about getting the short end of the stick that may happen inside a dealership.
For him, the latest move by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission protects dealers’ business interests, instead of consumers. “This was some sort of back-room politics,” said Blackwood told Bloomberg News.
Christie’s opponents say the Motor Vehicle Commission has become another as a weapon for the Governor to reward cronies and further his political goals. “This is a reversal of what all Republicans say they are about,”
Assemblyman Tim Eustace, a Democrat from Maywood, said of the ban on direct sales. “The car dealers put pressure on the powers-that-be and they tried to kill an industry. That’s antithetical to the idea of American free enterprise.”