Tesla Pushing For Direct Sales In Texas, Dealers Wanting A Shot To Sell

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
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tesla pushing for direct sales in texas dealers wanting a shot to sell

As Tesla gears up to tackle Texas’ direct-sales ban during the state’s 2015 legislative session, dealers are begging for a shot to sell the automaker’s EVs.

The Texas Tribune reports several Texas dealerships have approached Tesla about selling its wares, claiming they would take on the risk of selling a niche premium EV if given the chance. According to Texas Automobile Dealers Association president Bill Wolters, those dealers were rebuffed:

This is such a unique situation in which Elon Musk doesn’t want to have competition from other makes.

Currently, Tesla has galleries in Austin, Dallas and Houston, where customers can see the Model S, but cannot buy the car directly from the gallery, turning to the company’s website to complete the process as a result.

While dealers believe the direct-sales ban gives consumers a chance to buy the car they want anywhere within Texas — instead of having to drive to a few select cities where automakers would focus their efforts if given the opportunity — Tesla says the ban threatens to undermine its success in the state. CEO Elon Musk adds that franchise dealers would ultimately fail in selling his company’s EVs, citing the traditional model’s main source of revenue — maintenance — as where the struggle would occur.

Meanwhile, Tesla is spending between $625,000 and $1.18 million on 21 lobbyists to persuade lawmakers in Austin to consider legislation that would allow for direct sales. No bills have come up regarding the issue thus far this session, through Rep. Eddie Rodriguez of Austin is working on a proposal that would grant the automaker and other EV-only manufacturers the right to sell directly to Texas consumers; a similar proposal by Rodriguez was rejected last year.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • Shaker Shaker on Feb 20, 2015

    Made a deal on the Internet - looked good! Went to the dealer, spent 2 1/2 hours while the car was prepped - Then went to the "Hell Office" (where you have to refuse add-ons, extended warranties, etc by signing "opt-out" forms) Lost about $400 on my low-mileage trade vs KBB value Was presented the loan application to sign; noticed that there was a $300 "Documentation Fee" added to the loan. A notary would have charged $75 or less. Blinked a couple of times, signed the papers, and left in my new car Thinking: Nice Car - (nagging thought) "...but I could have done better on that deal..."

    • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Mar 12, 2015

      Ah but we're told that dealers represent competition and lower prices! No, no they don't. They represent gouging and misrepresentation. Outright lies sometimes. They are but a middle man between me and the factory. I'd be MUCH happier driving our old car to the new car factory and awaiting our new car at the factory office and then driving both home and either keeping the old car or selling it myself. I look forward to all the ways that tesla can disrupte the "free markets" we have here in the USA. "Land of the Free" I'm repeatedly told. Sometimes that rings about as true as some of the slogans I hear about from North Korea and the old USSR. We still have the best country in history I'm sure but there is alot of BS in what we are told about our great country.

  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Feb 20, 2015

    It's sad that even in rock solid red state TX, rent-seeking loser car dealers have more juice than consumers.

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