Arizona, Michigan, New Jersey, and Texas are sharing the spotlight as the last four states in America to actively block Tesla sales from within their boundaries. Tesla is known for its direct sales approach of luxury electric cars without working through conventional dealers. Through this sales model they can not only keep prices lower for the consumer but also make sure the customer service provided and Tesla experience is top-notch. Tesla has been faced with this problem since they began selling cars and these four states are the last hurdle for them to finally be able to sell their product directly to customers in all 50 states.
Since I live in Arizona it’s the one state of the four I’m most familiar with and I’m not too happy about it. There is a new bill here, as of last Wednesday, going through the hoops to try to change the way cars can be sold in Arizona. Unfortunately it is still being met with criticism by some of the people voting on it. Jay Lawrence, a Republican whose district of Scottsdale actually had a Tesla showroom, said, “I would like to think I’m a free market guy. There are points at which you must say, I believe in the status quo, particularly with the auto dealers. The auto dealers are such an important part of the community.” They’re basically saying, I really like the way Best Buy and Fry’s Electronics sell things. Why would we need an Apple or Microsoft store to do the same thing? This type of anti-capitalism thinking is detrimental to society and does not benefit the industry or the consumer in the long run.
With the auto industry bringing in an estimated $23 billion to the state’s economy in 2013 it is understandable that they don’t want to see that number dip. It’s no surprise that money is the best motivator in politics and I’m sure there are plenty of lobbyists working for the dealerships to prevent direct sales from passing in these last states. However, with Tesla averaging one sale a day in Arizona, I, as well as many others, don’t see any sign of impending doom being brought upon the dealerships any time soon.
Arizona residents can still go to the Tesla showroom located in Scottsdale to sit in a new P85D and act like they’re driving it, get information about the vehicle, and find out how to order one. If they do want to purchase one they are required to do so online through California since direct sales are still illegal in Arizona at this time. Other states, such as Texas, are even less accommodating to the consumer. Not only do they not allow test drives, they also cannot give pricing information to potential owners or even recommendations on where to purchase the Tesla out of state.
Arizona, albeit slowly, seems to be making progress towards allowing the direct sale of Teslas and hopefully the other three states will follow suit soon as well. It is an embarrassment to live somewhere where they are limiting the sale of items because they refuse to go through a third party system that causes consumers to pay higher prices. Last time I checked, in capitalism the trade and industry was controlled by private owners and not the state legislature. As far as those in the other 46 states that wish to purchase a new Tesla they get the luxury of not having to deal with car salesmen at a dealership; a luxury that one day maybe everyone can have.