June 06--Tesla Motors is one step closer to recharging its sales in New Jersey.
The state Assembly's Consumer Affairs Committee approved a bill that would allow Tesla and other manufacturers of cars with zero emissions to sell its cars at up to four licensed locations in New Jersey.
The bill, A-3216, has not been scheduled for a vote in the full Assembly, and companion legislation in the state Senate has not yet moved forward.
Feds attack N.J.'s Tesla sales ban
In March, the state Motor Vehicle Commission, in a move that was backed by the state's auto dealer association, said state law requires auto manufacturers to sell cars through dealer franchisees.
It was aimed squarely at Tesla Motors, which doesn't have franchised dealers. Tesla said the original law is designed to prevent car companies from competing with their own independent dealers and doesn't apply to Tesla because Tesla has no dealer franchisees.
The state forced Tesla to stop selling cars out of its stores at the Mall at Short Hills and Garden State Plaza in Paramus. Those stores are now essentially more like galleries where people can ogle at and learn about the Tesla, but have to go online or to stores in Pennsylvania or New York to actually buy one.
Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, D-Camden, said the bill "fixes" the MVC's decision.
It creates an exception to the commission's rule that cars must be sold through dealers. Besides allowing a manufacturer of cars with zero emissions to sell cars at four licensed locations, it also requires them to operate at least one retail facility in the state for vehicle service.
"Tesla is an innovative company that has produced a top-rated, environmentally conscious product," said Greenwald, a sponsor along with Assemblymen Timothy Eustace, D-Bergen, and Paul Moriarty, D-Gloucester. "Their commitment to innovation, job creation and customer satisfaction is precisely the kind of entrepreneurial spirit we should be encouraging in New Jersey," he said in a statement.
David P. Willis: 732-643-4039; email@example.com; facebook.com/dpwillis732
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Original headline: Tesla comeback in NJ? Bill clears hurdle
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