Six Texas Lawmakers Renew Push To Allow Tesla Stores

Feb 21, 2015 03:00 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma


Six lawmakers filed bills this week that would allow Tesla to sell its electric vehicles directly to customers in Texas.

The automaker would be able to open 12 stores if the measures from State Reps. Eddie Rodriguez, Charles Anderson, Jodie Laubenberg, Tan Parker and Rod Simmons and Sen. Kelly Hancock become law, Automotive News reported.

The legislators say that Tesla stores would promote a free market in Texas and give consumers more choices.

"Free market principles are the foundation of our strong Texas economy," said Hancock, as quoted by Automotive News. "[The bill] helps sustain a competitive marketplace and gives consumers more choices."

Laubenberg said, "Let's not be a protectionist state and kill innovation in the automotive industry, but instead allow the free market to decide the fate of new ideas."

Tesla has stuck to its direct-sales model despite opposition in various states.

Texas dealers think the Tesla store bills are a "very bad idea" because they diminish state community and Texas profits, said Bill Wolters, president of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, as quoted by Automotive News.

"When you buy a product from a retail outlet owned by a California corporation, 100 percent of proceeds from the sale go to California. Nothing goes to Texas. There's no real benefit for our state," Wolters said.

Dealers are also more invested in their local customers since they are "a part of the community. They focus on customers, employees and their town because they want to be there for generations," he said.

Many of the 1,257 franchised dealerships in Texas are sending their concerns about possible Tesla stores to the state's House and Senate, according to Wolters.

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