In the latest chapter of an ongoing battle against traditional dealer networks, Tesla Motors Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk has taken his fight to Texas, telling lawmakers his company could sell as many as 2,000 cars next year if allowed to open its own stores.
Musk testified Monday before a committee of the Texas Legislature in support of HB 3351 and SB 1659, bills that would allow U.S.-based manufacturers of 100% electric- or battery-powered vehicles to sell directly to Texas consumers.
Musk reiterated his contention at a news conference Wednesday. “The ability to sell cars through Tesla-owned stores is important for sustainable transportation and is the best chance a new electric car company has of succeeding," he said.
Under current Texas law, Tesla can't sell vehicles directly to the public because it has no franchised dealer relationships there.
Tesla currently has galleries in Austin and Houston, where its employees are not allowed to discuss financing, leasing, or purchasing options. The galleries also can't offer test drives.
The push to allow Tesla the right to sell directly to consumers in Texas will rankle dealerships there as much as it has everywhere the automaker has tried the approach.