A deadline in the Texas House has passed, killing many bills — among which one would allow Tesla to sell direct in Texas and another to regulate ride-share companies such as Uber. Last Thursday was the deadline for House bills to win initial, full chamber approval.
Texas has what’s regarded as the most stringent laws in the country prohibiting automakers from owning dealerships.
House Bill 1653 would have allowed electric car manufacturer Tesla to sell cars in Texas at up to 12 locations.
Tesla sells its high-end electric cars directly to consumers, bypassing middleman dealers. A long time Texas law bans manufacturers from selling cars directly to their customers, meaning buyers here can only order the car online from the company’s headquarters in California.
It is possible to own a Tesla in Texas, but it’s not easy.
While Tesla does have stores in Austin, Dallas, and Houston, in Texas Tesla retail stores aren’t allowed to advertise, disclose prices, conduct test drives or even discuss leasing or financing options to potential customers. Tesla service centers can’t display Tesla logos, nor can they make service appointments, they must instead be done through Tesla’s California headquarters. Texas Tesla buyers get their cars shipped to them with no license plates, with temporary registration, and with no new-owner orientation.
Rep. Senfronia Thompson, who has served 20 terms in the Texas house said, “I can appreciate Tesla wanting to sell cars, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first.” Considering the owner of Tesla is Elon Musk not Mr. Tesla one wonders just how in touch Rep. Thompson is with her constituents’ feelings on the matter.