New Jerseyans are now free to test drive and order a new Model S, after Governor Chris Christie signed a bill that legalizes direct sales by manufacturers of zero-emission vehicles. Tesla can now sell cars directly to consumers at its Paramus and Short Hills showrooms, and potentially open up to two more. The company will also be required to set up at least one service facility.
Tesla has sold more than 600 Model S sedans in New Jersey, but in April of 2014, the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission decided it was violating a state law that requires cars to be sold through dealers.
Tesla’s showrooms remained open, but they could only refer buyers to stores in Pennsylvania and New York. At the Short Hills showroom, Chris Lee, a driver for a transportation service that’s considering adding the Model S to its fleet, told Bloomberg he preferred having the option to buy the car in person rather than online. “The way it was before, I would’ve been apt not to buy it if there [were] hoops I had to jump through to get it.”
Happy: Tesla VP Diarmuid O’Connell. “We are proud to tell New Jersey that we are open for business.”
Says he’s happy: Governor Christie. “We’re pleased that manufacturers like Tesla will now have the opportunity to establish direct sales operations.”
Not happy: the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers. “The factory-store model advocated by Tesla generates jobs, tax revenue and economic benefits in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street, but not here in New Jersey,” said President James B. Appleton.