Tesla Motors has not been taking its perceived persecution across the United States lying down; the automaker resolved toward the end of last year to campaign state by state to try and overturn any Tesla store-forbidding legislation, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.
Happily, we can report that Tesla Motors has at least a few victories under its belt. Just last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law a bill allowing Tesla Motors to open up to four stores in the state, provided that the automaker also commits to open a dedicated service station there (source: Road & Track). And even more recently, the folks at The Car Connection shared the news that the state of Georgia has also enacted a new bill allowing for five Tesla Motors outlets, and unlimited unit sales.
Previously, Tesla Motors had been restricted in Georgia to just three outlets, and 150 sales per year.
Unfortunately, as fate would have it, this is rather a case of two steps forward, one step back, as West Virginia has simultaneously closed its borders definitively to Tesla Motors’ outlet stores. While an amendment to an existing bill could have further clarified the roles of automakers and their franchised dealer networks in the Palo Alto electric carmaker’s favor, that amendment was recently rejected. As a result, TCC says that no automaker is permitted to show cars to the public unless through a franchise dealer.
Certainly it’s an issue that’s far from resolved; last year, the FTC sided with Tesla Motors, calling such state legislation “anticompetitive.” At the same time, with Tesla Motors’ planned rate of expansion, it wouldn’t be surprising if establishing a dealer franchise soon became a functional necessity.