The latest good news for Tesla in its war with the auto dealers comes from an unexpected region. Texas currently bans the company’s direct sales model, and the Lone Star State’s legislature is generally considered a strong ally of the state dealer associations.
This week however, Governor Rick Perry, in an interview on Fox Business News, made it clear that he thinks the rules against direct sales are a relic of the past, which will eventually be reversed.
“These are old laws that have been put in place, and I am not going to argue whether they were right or wrong for then…but we live in a different world than we did 10 years ago.”
Perry said the public needs to ask whether it’s in the state’s best interest “to keep that old, and some would say antiquated, protection for the car dealers…and I think the people of Texas are going to say, we don’t need to be protected, we like being able to negotiate [directly with auto manufacturers].”
Like Arizona, which has also been making noises about allowing Tesla’s direct sales model, Texas is a possible site for the gargantuan Gigafactory. Could that be a reason for the sudden policy reversal? Moderator Maria Bartiromo came right out and asked: “Texas is one of the states that are now banning the direct sale of Teslas to consumers. However, you are also in the running for a new $5-billion Tesla factory, so you can’t have it both ways, right?”
“We are one of four states that is being seriously considered by Elon Musk and the Tesla folks, so hopefully the legislators and the officials in Texas will have a very open thoughtful conversation about [whether] we want to lead the country when it comes to manufacturing,” said Perry. “A lot of people are going to be getting jobs, and I think that the caché of being able to say we put that manufacturing facility in our state is one that is hard to pass up. I think that the pros of allowing this to happen are going to outweigh the cons.”