New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday signed into law a bill allowing Tesla Motors to sell its cars directly to consumers in the Garden State.
The bill overturns a year of policy enforcement banning the number one electric auto manufacturer from executing its direct sales model in New Jersey. Under that policy, auto manufacturers are banned from selling cars directly to consumers, and must go through dealerships.
Tesla sells its cars to consumers directly through showrooms — a sales model the New Jersey Coalition of Automobile Retailers alleges gives Tesla an unfair advantage over other manufacturers denied the same privilege. The group also argues that dealers fulfill an important role by acting as middlemen advocates for consumers, and make sure manufacturers honor warranties and other standards. (RELATED: FTC Calls State Bans On Direct Tesla Sales ‘Bad Policy’)
Legal representatives for Tesla argued auto retailers are fearfully trying to maintain a statewide monopoly designed to block startups out of the auto market.
The state legislature approved the bill Monday and Christie signed it into law Wednesday.
I said last yr that if NJ Legislature changed the law so @TeslaMotors could sell in NJ, I would sign it. That’s exactly what I’ve done today
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) March 18, 2015
A huge victory in New Jersey for consumer choice: We are open for business! @GovChristie
— Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) March 18, 2015
The company still faces the same fight in Arizona, Maryland, Texas, Virginia, Michigan, Connecticut and Georgia, with dealership coalitions in other states pursuing legal avenues to start the same fight.