Tesla Motors said that it will invest more heavily in Texas and it may even build its second automotive assembly plant in Texas if it gets granted an exemption. In an interview with Automotive News, CEO Elon Musk said that he hopes to be allowed by legislation to directly sell electric vehicles to consumers in Texas.
Tesla’s bid faces opposition from the Texas Automobile Dealers Association. Tesla hopes to amend existing state law, which says that only franchised dealers can sell new vehicles. Aside from investing "tens of millions of dollars" in additional stores and service centers, it’s possible that three years from today, it will begin to look for a place in Texas to put up a plant.
Musk said that Texas is the leading contender for when the company decides to construct a manufacturing plant outside of California. He added that putting up stores and service centers will give several hundred new jobs to those in Texas but there are bound to be thousands of jobs created if an assembly plant is built. For now, Tesla has two store locations and two service locations in Texas.
However, the law prevents staff members at the stores found in high-end shopping districts in Houston and Austin to participate in any sales activity. They’re not allowed to talk about pricing or suggest test drives. The service centers are unable to assess vehicles for warranty jobs. He said that if those restrictions are lifted, Texas would most probably be Tesla’s second-biggest market.
He predicted that if the exemption is given, Tesla is estimated to sell 1,500 to 2,000 vehicles in Texas in 2014. Musk said that if Tesla gets what it wants, it will make Texas on par with California when it comes to “emphasis." Musk added that he believes in localizing production in order to lessen logistics cost. In addition, a second plant can produce further models. He hinted at the idea of building a pickup truck in Texas.