It has been a long and complicated battle when it comes to Tesla sales in the Garden State. The automaker was selling cars for several years, then all of the sudden they were shut down due a violation of franchise laws. Now New Jersey lawmakers are getting closer to a full scale approval of Tesla direct sales.
According to NJ.com, the state Senate Commerce Committee voted 6-0 yesterday to advance legislation that would allow Tesla to sell its electric cars directly to consumers and open up two more locations within the state. However, the bill must pass a full senate vote in order to go to Gov. Christie for final approval.
Currently, Tesla has two "galleries" in the state where the automaker can show cars, but not sell them. Buyers must go to New York to actually make a purchase. In April the automaker was banned from selling their cars in the state because they violated dealership franchise laws, according to the Motor Vehicle Commission. Gov. Christie has said that he has no problem with Tesla operating within the state, but it would be up to the legislature to change the law. In June a bill was introduced that would lift the ban on direct sales. Now there are just two small steps to once again allow New Jersey car buyers to purchase a Tesla without having to go elsewhere.
"We support the bill because we are a free market advocate, and we believe when you lift restrictions on free market trade, it really helps business, it helps the consumer," said Tony Russo, vice president for government affairs of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey.
While the dealership lobby is still very strong in New Jersey, it seems that the tide is changing to the point where it is politically unpopular to oppose Tesla's direct sales model.
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