It's one thing to try to cozy up to the federal government. It's another to mess with Texas. Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk is pondering the former after attempting to do the latter in an attempt to overturn the age-old laws banning automakers from operating their own car dealerships, Automotive News reports.
Musk has long argued that conventional, independent dealers do a substandard job selling unconventional vehicles like the Tesla Model S battery-electric luxury sedan. Musk and Tesla have taken on states such as Minnesota, Virginia and North Carolina over the issue. New York and Massachusetts have attempted to shut down Tesla retail stores, but it's Texas where the most formidable challenge lies because state laws banning automaker-owned dealerships there are the most ironclad.
Musk may be in the process of trying to gain favor with Washington, D.C. legislators and could lobby Congress or file a federal claim alleging that the state laws banning carmaker-owned dealerships are unconstitutional. Tesla loyalists have also joined the fight, with one petition sent to the White House gaining over 100,000 signatures supporting the company in the dealer issue.
Dealer advocates have long argued that the separation of automaker and dealer ensures better customer pricing while protecting the consumer in case an automaker goes under. Such advocates have also argued that letting Tesla operate its own dealerships could set a dangerous precedent both in the US and in overseas markets such as China.