Politics has a way of bringing people together even as it is driving a wedge between them, and the latest example is happening in the Tesla vs. dealership lobby battle in New Jersey. Pro-Tesla legislation passed in the New Jersey House of Representatives last month has moved on to the State Senate, where it’s been attached to legislation giving car dealers more rights against automakers. Now the fate of both bills are tied together.
This is likely the best outcome for both groups, as Tesla can continue to selling the Model S to New Jersey buyers, and the dealership lobby gets new protections in their endless battle against automakers. Specifically, dealerships can now sue automakers for triple damages and have eliminated automakers first right of refusal, which gives automakers the first chance at buying a dealership. The dealership lobby has pushed hard for these “protections”, and if they want them, they’re going to have to let Tesla play by its own rules after lobbying so viciously against it.
For their part, the dealers seem resigned to the bill. Jim Appleton of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, told NJ.com:
“Politics is the art of the possible, and I think this is not an ideal solution, but it’s one we can live with.”
The bill still requires the signature of Governor Chris Christie and approval by the State Senate, but it appears to be heading in that direction. Tesla, which recently had a new service center approved in the state despite the direct sales ban, will just be happy to resume selling cars under its direct sale model, marking the latest in a string of successes for the electric automaker.
Keep an eye out for even more Model S sedans in the Garden State soon.