When the state of New Jersey became the third state in the U.S. to pass legislation banning direct-to-customer sales of vehicles by automakers, it essentially banned Tesla from selling its luxury Model S sedan to any New Jersey resident. At least, it did so via any conventional means, forcing New jersey Tesla fans to jump through hoops in order to buy the car of their dreams.
For now, the legislation still remains in place, but one of two bills proposed by pro-Tesla legislators in both houses — Assembly Bill 3096 — is about to be heard by the New Jersey Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee, and U.S. electric car advocacy group Plug in America wants you to make sure your voice is heard.
In an email to its members and supporters today, Plug in America President Richard Kelly called on all New Jersey residents to reiterate its plea for this bill to be supported.
“Consider our world if Apple had been forced to sell the iPhone through retailers only – with retailer set pricing, retailer product specification and their unwanted software,” proffered Kelly. “Would the US still be the leaders in smartphone design and technology or would China and Europe have stolen the show?”
For Kelly and those at Plug in America, banning Tesla from selling direct to customers in the state of New Jersey is anti-competitive and stands in the way of progress. Not only does it perpetuate the status quo of auto dealers rather than consumers having power to choose, but it stops new technologies like Tesla’s all-electric Model S from being sold to those who truly want to buy it.
What’s more, says Kelly, stopping Tesla and other automakers from selling directly to customers is hurting the entire auto industry.
“Tesla Motors and Apple are both US companies that disrupt the status quo,” he continued.
Originally designed to protect auto dealers from powerful automakers, auto dealer associations were an essential part of the automotive industry, allowing mom and pop stores to stand up to multi-million dollar automakers on things like pricing, sales and servicing. They allowed auto dealers — and therefore consumers — to have a degree of protection from automakers who were driven solely by profit.
But these days, as mom and pop auto dealers have given way to powerful multi-national corporations with billion-dollar turnovers, auto dealer unions lobby for policy at the local, state and Federal level which prevent disruptive technologies and sales tactics from becoming established.
With the hearing date set for June 5, Plug in America is urging its members to take action today to ensure that pro-Tesla (and pro electric car) legislation makes it onto New Jersey’s books, reversing the sneaky regulatory change made outside of the legislative process earlier this year.
If you’re a New Jersey resident, you’ll find everything you need to make your voice known at the Plug in America site.
You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.