Tesla Motors’ bid to sell its electric vehicles directly to the public in Texas has suffered a major setback after the Legislature failed to vote on bills that provide exemption to existing state law limiting factory-owned dealerships. The bills failed to make it to the floor of the Texas House or Senate for voting as the Legislature's regular session ended Monday, May 27, 2013 and would not convene again in a regular session until 2015.
Tesla is supporting the legislation as it would allow the carmaker to sell its products directly to consumers without intermediation from independent dealers. The Texas Automobile Dealers Association, meanwhile, has opposed the legislation. "The Legislature did the right thing," Karen Phillips, general counsel for the association, remarked. The bills were introduced in March 2013.
Although Tesla operates retail stores in Houston and Austin, its staffers are prohibited from selling any vehicle. Tesla’s failed bid in Texas was in contrast to what occurred in Minnesota.
The carmaker likewise grabbed favorable court rulings in dealer lawsuits in Massachusetts and New York. Tesla, however, failed to get a dealership license in Virginia in April.
Tesla is also fighting legislation in North Carolina that that would prevent the carmaker to sell cars through the Internet. Musk remarked if Tesla continues to suffer from legislative losses on state-level, he might seek action on the national level, either through federal legislation in Congress or a federal lawsuit.