May 24th, 2016 by James Ayre
Around 90% of the more than 8,000 state GOP convention delegates in Texas last week endorsed the idea that Tesla should be able to sell directly to customers in the state, according to recent reports.
Notable opposition to that majority reportedly came from US Representative Roger Williams and former Republican national committeeman Bill Crocker. Crocker is, of course, a lawyer who often represents car dealers, and Williams is himself a car dealer.
Texas being Texas, the efforts by Williams and Crocker to sway things against the majority seems to have backfired.
Teslarati provides more:
Williams personally called all five members of the platform subcommittee on the economy according to its chairman, Alan Arvello. When asked about the calls by the Dallas Morning News, a spokesperson for Williams said, “Like all Members of Congress, Representative Williams uses his spare time to help support his political party.” Uh huh.
…Arvello, chairman of the platform subcommittee and a physician assistant, said the pressure from Williams and Crocker seemed to backfire. “The more we were getting calls and having people try to influence us to vote against it, just some of that Texas emotion took over from my committee,” he said. “It was like, we’re going to do this!”
Interestingly, many of the delegates at the Dallas convention had been unaware of the barriers to “open competition” beforehand, according to Tesla’s Texas spokesman, David White.
“If Texas is truly ‘wide open’ for business, our elected officials should take the appropriate steps to end these frivolous regulations in 2017,” White noted.
Here’s some background on those barriers (as a reminder of the hoops that Tesla has to jump through there):
As things stand at the moment, customers can look at a Tesla car in one of the company’s three “galleries” in Dallas, Houston and Austin, but can’t test drive them without an appointment. They also can’t buy the cars onsite. A Tesla employee can discuss the technology but cannot discuss price, take orders, or direct the customer to the company’s website. Test drives are only permitted on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Even then, the company must get a test permit first.
The only way to buy a Tesla in Texas is to order online. The car will arrive registered in California, which means the customer has to re-register it in Texas. To have a Tesla worked on at one of the company’s four maintenance centers in Texas, service calls must be routed through the company’s California offices. Tesla says Texas is one of only five states with such a burdensome process.
Given the image that most Texans generally have of themselves as being no-nonsense people who believe in competition, the reality of the current dealership protection laws must be causing a bit of psychological dissonance — one would think….