Elon Musk 'Doesn't Get What It Takes To Do Business In New Jersey'

Illustration for article titled Elon Musk Doesnt Get What It Takes To Do Business In New Jersey

While embattled New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie skirted blame for the recent ban on direct car sales in the Garden State, the car dealers themselves had some pretty standard New Jersey responses: Play by our rules or fuhgettaboutit!


And by "our rules," I mean adhere to the state's proudest tradition: making sure everyone gets paid. When you read this story in The Verge, that's certainly what gets implied. Their story has some very telling responses from car dealers to the situation that led to an end of direct car sales, namely the Tesla Model S, starting April 1.


A little background: New Jersey had a law on the books banning direct sales from manufacturers, a law largely regarded as outdated. Tesla had a license from state's motor vehicle commission to operate its stores, but last week, the commission approved a measure that prevents auto manufacturers from selling cars without using franchised dealers.

Speaking to The Verge, dealers had little sympathy for Elon Musk and Tesla. (These quotes are best read in a thick Jon Stewart-style Jersey accent.) Emphasis added:

"He needs to stop and take a breath," said Jim Appleton, the president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automobile Retails, or NJ CAR. "If you're an internet billionaire, maybe you think the world revolves around you, and the world springs from your laptop. Well, I got news for him. This is not a new law, Tesla is operating illegally, and as of April 1st, they will be out of business unless they decide to open a franchise."

"Mr. Musk is a brilliant man, and Tesla is an innovative company. We can all respect that," says NJ CAR's Appleton. "But he doesn't get what it takes to do business in New Jersey. With all due respect, his legal opinions are about as sound as my programming abilities."


I got news for you, Elon! The world doesn't revolve around you! You don't get what it takes to do business in New Jersey. Whatever that's supposed to mean. (I think you know what it's supposed to mean.)

Then there's this guy:

"This Musk guy, he wants all the profits for himself," says Tom Dougherty, a 25-year veteran of the business who now works in sales at the BMW dealership in upscale Princeton, New Jersey. "They wanted to go direct, which means no sales force. That's cutting out a lot of people. No way that's gonna fly."


In a state whose entire existence seems to revolve around getting the right people paid, you're damn right it's not gonna fly.

But while this seems par for the course in New Jersey, it's the same story in Texas and everywhere else: newcomers with new ideas like Tesla are shit outta luck unless they ensure the existing powers that be, like the car dealers and the politicians they fund, get theirs too.


Hat tip to Santiago Iglesias!

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Eric Johnson

Why is it such a big deal to setup a franchise? Just put one in each of the states that have these rules. Buy a defunct dealership, spruce it up, hire a small sales staff and start selling. With Tesla stock at a market cap of $29B, they can spend $50M on some dealerships. They could even build their own dealerships and outfit them with solar panels, maybe a turbine, and a bunch of Superchargers. Sell swag in the showroom, and use the Parts and Service areas for installing upgrades like wheels, tires, bike racks, etc. Maybe use Service for performance upgrades like taking a P60 to a P85... oh, and firmware updates while you wait. Seems so simple and logical to me.