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NJ assemblyman looks to overturn state ban on Tesla store sales

Tesla Model S cars at the Tesla Factory in 2012.
Tesla Model S cars at the Tesla Factory in 2012.

New Jersey Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-38th legislative district*) has introduced a bill to countermand legislation banning Tesla Motors Inc. from bypassing traditional dealerships and selling its electric cars directly to consumers, passed March 11 by the state’s 8-member Motor Vehicle Commission, (which consists of members of Gov. Chris Christie’s cabinet and other gubernatorial appointees).

"Because of this new rule, an interested buyer looking for more fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly vehicle options can go look and ask questions about an electric car in New Jersey, but will have to go to Pennsylvania or New York if he or she actually wants to buy the car," Eustace stated. "How does sending business to other states help New Jersey's economy?"

Dealers, on the other hand, contend, “Tesla should never have been given licenses in the first place, and that the Commission was just acting to bring regulations in line with long-standing state law that requires franchised dealerships.”

Although two of Tesla’s stores in New Jersey will be forbidden from selling cars as of April 1st (when their licenses expire), they will be allowed to remain open as “galleries” exhibiting Tesla vehicles, employees won’t be able to give out any information regarding pricing or complete sales, which must be done via the automaker’s website.

Even if Eustace’s bill should pass the legislature, there is some doubt that Christie would still sign it into law given the aforementioned action.

*NJ's 38th District encompasses Bergenfield, Fair Lawn, Glen Rock, Hasbrouck Heights, Hawthorne, Lodi, Maywood, New Milford, Oradell, Paramus, River Edge, Rochelle Park, and Saddle Brook.

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