New Jersey Wants Tesla Back; Assembly Moves Bill for Direct Sales

Jun 17, 2014 11:08 AM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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Elon Musk's Tesla is a step closer to being allowed to sell cars in New Jersey after the state assembly approved a bill that would let the automaker conduct its direct sales model, Bloomberg News reported.

The proposed legislation will next head to the state Senate for approval, after which it would be sent to Gov. Chris Christie to be signed.

Supporters of the bill say that New Jersey needs to encourage Tesla's innovation and dedication to sustainability.

"Tesla is an innovative company that has produced a top-rated, environmentally conscious product," Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, a Voorhees Democrat, said in a statement quoted by Bloomberg News. "Their commitment to innovation, job-creation and customer satisfaction is precisely the kind of entrepreneurial spirit we should be encouraging in New Jersey. Unfortunately, the Motor Vehicle Commission's decision threatened to hamstring those efforts."

The Motor Vehicle Commission, which comprises members of Republican Governor Chris Christie's cabinet and other gubernatorial appointees, voted in March to block the electric car company from selling its product directly to consumers.

The Tesla direct sales model has also met with opposition in Texas, Arizona, Virginia and Maryland, according to Forbes. Auto dealers have fought Tesla since its direct sales skirt the dealership system. The recent Motor Vehicle Commission vote in New Jersey made selling cars through a dealer a requirement by law.

New York has been encouraging Tesla to continue its direct sales, Gov. Andrew Cuomo approving the carmaker's five current stores in the state on Monday, PCMag.com reported. The legislation additionally paves the way for Tesla to open more stores in New York state.

"New York's franchised auto dealers and manufacturers as well as innovative companies like Tesla are critical to our state's economy, and this bill ensures that both sides will thrive and be able to grow the market for cutting-edge zero-emission vehicles," Cuomo said in a statement quoted by PCMag.

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