Elon Musk is on a very-public crusade to challenge the established car dealership lobby, and while he has had some success at the state level, he has also lost in one of America’s largest car markets; Texas. A recent report highlights just how many hoops you have to jump through if you want to buy a Tesla Model S in the Lone Star State.
Because of very strong dealership franchise laws and a buttload of lobbying money, Tesla store representatives are prevented from giving you any kind of pertinent of useful information related to pricing. That means potential buyers are in the dark regarding costs, tax credits, financing, and leasing options. Tesla sales people can’t even offer test drives, and many customers leave the two Texas-area stores frustrated due to lack of info.
The most Tesla store reps can do in Texas is refer you to the website. If you actually want to buy a Tesla Model S, you have to do so through a California dealership. Tesla will then ship you your car on an unmarked transport with no new-car orientation or anything. They drop off the car and you’re on your own.
It’s the same case with Tesla-owned service centers, which cannot advertise that they offer Tesla service, or even display the Tesla Motors logo. They can’t even tell customers if there is a problem with their car; all that info has to be re-routed through Tesla’s California headquarters. Texas Tesla Model S are ineligible for Tesla’s buyback program, and because the sales are handled as out-of-state transactions, some customers are paying a higher interest rate, if they can get financed at all.
Even so, Tesla has managed to sell over 1,000 Model S sedans in Texas, though those numbers would no doubt be much higher if it were easier to buy the electric car. This has Musk considering a campaign on Washington to dismantle dealership franchise laws nationwide. It won’t be an easy fight, but it could have far-reaching consequences for more than just Tesla.
Source: Green Car Reports