AUSTIN, Texas — Two Texas bills that could have
allowed Tesla to sell directly to consumers did not make it to the
voting round this past week. The bills, SB 1659, authored by Sen. Craig
Estes (R-Wichita Falls) and HB 3351, championed by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez
(D-Austin), were introduced in March to create an exception for Tesla
Motors’ retail model in the state.
The pair of bills was written to exempt American-owned manufacturers
who exclusively make electric vehicles from existing law, which requires
manufacturers to sell vehicles through authorized franchised dealers.
The state’s legislative session ended on May 27. Since lawmaker chose
not to vote on the bills, Tesla’s Austin and Houston galleries will
only be allowed to display vehicles. Employees are also prohibited from
disclosing the price or specific details of vehicles.
Texas Automobile Dealers Association General Counsel Karen Phillips
equates Tesla’s retail model in Texas to an automobile show. “If they’re
not selling, that’s not a violation of the [existing] statute,” she
“The legislature did the right thing,” she added. “The franchise
system is the optimum way for customers to purchase and service their
A Tesla spokesperson declined to comment for this article.
Tesla’s retail model was rejected in late April by lawmakers in
Virginia, and North Carolina legislators await the governor’s decision
on a proposed bill that would ban Internet car sales — a proposition
that would halt sales in the state for Tesla if passed.
— Stephanie Forshee