Politics And Money Kept Tesla Out Of Texas


tesla-texasWhile Elon Musk and Tesla Motors has seemingly rolled from one easy victory to the next, there is one place the electric automaker was soundly trumped; Texas. Despite winning legislation in most other states, Tesla was sent packing when both bills it sponsored failed to even come up to vote. It’s the legacy of a deceased dealer lobbyist and the familiar story of money in politics.

Dealer lobbyist Gene Fondren was key in helping draft the tightest dealership protection laws in America. Despite Elon Musk making $7,500 in campaign donations and spending between $255,000 and $565,000 on lobbying efforts, the car dealer lobby donated $2.5 million to election campaigns, and spent another $750,000 on lobbying. This deluge of money helped keep the door closed on Tesla’s efforts to sell the Model S in Texas.

The law prevents Tesla store representatives from taking would-be buyers on a test drive, discussing price points, or even directing buyers to the company website. Those who do buy a Tesla Model S must have it shipped via third-party services into Texas on trucks with no Tesla decals. It’s a wonder Texas even lets the Model S be registered, though this is also a state that has been praying for rain since a devastating drought took hold. In case you’re wondering, it isn’t working.

Texas is playing favorites with the dealer association, and Tesla’s efforts to sell cars directly to customers obviously has dealer lobieys running scared. Still, it’s ironic that a state whose governor declared it “open for business” seems to be going out of its way to keep a cutting-edge automaker from doing business, even though other electric automakers have found Texas to be plenty welcoming. Priorities, priorities.

With the establishment acting so scared, it means Elon Musk must be doing something right.

Source: The Dallas Observer 

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • Jim McCracken

    Politics, Lobbying and Tax Money is what has kept Tesla in business. They run on the same thing also, just like Aptera.

    • Gman

      Lol Jim, while fundamentally correct you’re comparing Yugo’s to Caddy’s. They make a great product. For a red state full of right wingers whose ad nauseum mantra is “job’s job’s, laissez faire economics, and non government intervention, just seems….. oh…… really contradictory.

  • UncleB

    Texas with rapidly diminishing water and oil resources? Texas, with ample Wind and Solar resources? must be a lot of narrow minded ass holes there too?

  • Bob_Wallace

    Texans are buying Teslas online and California is getting the tax money. (Thanks, Texas.)

    The new Teslas are delivered right to the buyers door.

    (Anyone smart enough to purchase a Tesla certainly knows how to look for a web site.)

    • HoustonTeslaFan

      No, Bob, Texas still gets the tax money, if you’re referring to sales tax on the car. In fact, you can’t deduct your trade-in on a Tesla like you can on any other car you would buy at a dealership, so Texas is getting a boost in tax revenue. My Tesla Model S is being prepped right now and I will pick it up next Tuesday in Houston at the Tesla service center. I paid my Texas sales tax ( about $5500.00, the credit union took care of it) when I paid Tesla. No CA sales tax is paid when bought in another state.

      • Bob_Wallace

        f that’s the case then you are buying your Tesla in Texas, not in California.

        You have completed the purchase in Texas if you are paying Texas sales tax. California would have charged you sales tax had you bought it there.
        You are getting your Tesla from Tesla in Texas. It’s being prepped there.
        Sounds like the only thing Texas auto dealers were able to accomplish was to have the financial papers prepared out of state.

        You can view the Tesla in Texas, you can test drive it, you can purchase one via a phone call without leaving Texas, you can pick it up in Texas. That sounds to me like Tesla is selling Teslas in Texas.

        If it quacks like a duck….

  • egogg

    There are a lot of very unfortunate people in Texas–they have no money or water or education, and they buy their pickup trucks from Little Joe’s Ford Truck Dealership around the corner from Whataburger. This is not Telsa’s sales demographic. But the moneyed people (likely from oil/energy sources) are clever enough to look on Consumer Reports website, and see that the Model S is an outstanding car. And they can google Tesla and order one. No big loss for Tesla. Gotta love the internet age.

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