It looks as though New Jersey is on its way to approving Tesla's direct sales business model.
Several US states have been quite problematic for EV automaker Tesla in recent months. To briefly summarize, Tesla wants the ability to sell its high-tech cars directly to customers. Powerful dealership franchises want the sales to go through them. Tesla counters in claiming that cars like its Model S are so advanced that a regular car dealer accustomed to selling conventional internal combustion and diesel-engined cars won’t know how to properly explain EVs to the customer.
It’s a fair argument, but dealerships don’t care. They don’t want a precedent to be set here. New Jersey is perhaps the best example of where the dealer vs. Tesla fight received the most publicity. Last March, the eight-member state Motor Vehicle Commission, consisting mostly of people appointed by Governor Chris Christie, voted to block Tesla’s direct sales business model. Tesla went up in arms about the decision and soon it became a national story. But it appears there will soon be a happy ending for the EV maker. The New Jersey Assembly just approved a bill that will allow consumers to buy cars directly from a manufacturer.
It now needs state Senate approval before going to the governor to be signed into law. This is quite the contrast from just a few months ago when it seemed that New Jersey Tesla customers would have to leave the state to buy their cars. Now it appears that Tesla is having the last laugh.