Gov. Rick Perry: Texas Should Revisit Regulations That Cut Out Tesla

Mar 25, 2014 12:29 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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Tesla Motors appears to have an ally in an unexpected corner.

As the electric car startup looks at locations for its planned billion-dollar "Gigafactory," Texas Gov. Rick Perry has said the state should rethink regulations that ban Tesla dealerships, Jalopnik reported via The Dallas Morning News.

"Tesla's a big project," Perry told Maria Bartiromo of FOX Business. "The cachet of being able to say we put that manufacturing facility in your state is hard to pass up."

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla has two galleries in the Lone Star state and a third in the works, but Texas law prohibits the company from letting customers test-drive the car or even look at pricing options.

Perry believes it's in the "best interest" of the state to take another look at those regulations, saying "some would say [these] are antiquated protections ... for the car dealers. The people of Texas will say, 'We don't need to be protected. We like to be able to negotiate straight away.'"

The governor's comments come at an interesting time for Tesla, which recently clashed with New Jersey officials over company dealerships when the state joined Arizona and Texas to ban Tesla's direct sales method.

A dealership CEO recently wondered if Tesla could bargain with Texas regulators to win showroom rights in exchange for building the largest-ever battery factory in the state, bringing in 6,500 jobs and $4 billion.

AutoNation Chairman and CEO Mike Jackson told CNBC that Tesla should be allowed to market its popular Model S directly to customers even though company showrooms cut out dealerships.

Gov. Rick Perry seems to be thinking along a similar vein, telling Fox News, "I think it's time for Texans to have an open conversation about this, the pros and the cons. I'm gonna think the pros of allowing this to happen outweigh the cons."

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