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Tesla pushes bill to bypass Texas auto dealers
AUSTIN — Backed with an army of lobbyists to storm the Capitol, Tesla Motors is asking state lawmakers to allow it to operate up to 12 dealerships in Texas.
State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, filed legislation Thursday to allow Tesla to bypass traditional dealerships and sell cars in Texas through its stores.
The legislation, House Bill 1653, calls for up to a dozen Tesla dealerships across the state, but a Rodriguez spokeswoman said the intent is to have six stores that sell vehicles and six service centers. The bill does no specify where in Texas those stores would be located, but the company current operates so-called “galleries” in Dallas, Austin and Houston, and says it would like to open in San Antonio.
Texas is one of five states with a ban on direct sales of new cars. For now, the only way to buy a Tesla in Texas is to order one online or contact a dealer in another state.
“Our current franchise dealership laws were created to prevent vehicle manufacturers from unfairly competing with their existing franchised dealerships, not to restrict competition,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
Rodriguez sponsored a bill last session to allow Tesla to sell directly to Texans but it stipulated that if the company sells more than 5,000 cars a year it would have to start to franchise its operation. At the urging of Tesla, the legislation has been tweaked this session to set a cap on the number of dealerships the company can operate statewide — a model that has worked in other statehouses.
Bill Wolters, president of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, which is opposing the legislation, said Thursday “no matter how many outlets they ask for it’s still a monopoly.”
“Tesla,” he said, “is a pure monopoly.”
You may read the full article here: http://blog.chron.com/texaspolitics/2015/02/tesla-pushes-bill-to-bypass-...