Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is letting New Jersey Governor Chris Christie know exactly how upset he is over the state’s recent decision to ban manufacturers from selling directly to consumers.
Musk took to the Tesla blog where he expressed his frustration with the sales ban being enacted by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission rather then being put up for a vote in the state legislature as had been promised by Christie.
Governor Christie had promised that this would be put to a vote of the elected state legislature, which is the appropriate way to change the law. When it became apparent to the auto dealer lobby that this approach would not succeed, they cut a backroom deal with the Governor to circumvent the legislative process and pass a regulation that is fundamentally contrary to the intent of the law.
Ouch. Musk goes on to give a brief history of the relationship between dealers and manufacturers, explaining how auto dealer franchise laws were originally enacted to protect dealers from unfair treatment by manufacturers. He insists these laws are now being twisted so as not to allow competition from companies like Tesla who sell directly to consumers and didn’t even exist when the laws were first passed.
Musk doesn’t stop there, but also questions the veracity of the claim that this is all in the interest of protecting consumers.
If you believe this, Gov. Christie has a bridge closure he wants to sell you! Unless they are referring to the mafia version of “protection”, this is obviously untrue. As anyone who has been through the conventional auto dealer purchase process knows, consumer protection is pretty much the furthest thing from the typical car dealer’s mind.
And as a parting jab, Musk notes that this doesn’t keep those residing in New Jersey from buying a Tesla Model S. They can still go just across the way to the Tesla store in Manhattan or the King of Prussia store near Philadelphia, spending their dollars outside the state of New Jersey.
Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. Nicole also writes for NerdApproved and GeekMom.