In a bid to sell its electric cars directly to consumers, Elon Musk has taken Tesla’s business case to state legislatures across the U.S. While the electric automaker has suffered some notable setbacks in Virginia and Texas, North Carolina and New Hampshire have taken Tesla’s side, allowing the company to open showrooms and sell cars to customers without franchised dealerships.
A bill in North Carolina that would have banned Tesla from selling cars to customers died in the North Carolina House of Representatives, which downvoted the bill. North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCory was among the politicians who took a test drive in the Tesla Model S, which may have swayed their opinion against the dealership-backed bill (which did pass the Senate, I should mention).
Meanwhile, New Hampshire took a decidedly different approach, passing a law that strengthens local dealerships against automakers. The law forces automakers to pay more for warranty costs and prevents automakers from mandating showroom upgrades except every 15 years. But the bill also allows automakers that don’t already have franchised dealers, i.e. Tesla Motors, to open showrooms and sell cars directly to consumers.
While the war continues, the tide seems to be shifting in Tesla’s favor. Similar bills set to ban Tesla sales have failed in New York, Massachusetts, and Minnesota among others. There has even been a petition launched to get the Federal government to intervene on Tesla’s behalf, which could overturn the whole concept of how cars are bought and sold.
For now though, the war of Tesla vs. Dealership Associations continues.