A Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) fan, Ken of Massachusetts, has filed a petition with the White House to allow Tesla’s direct to consumer sales model. Recently, the state of Texas banned direct shipments and the automaker dodged a bullet late last week when lawmakers in New York shelved a bill that would have made it illegal for Tesla to sell its vehicles there.
Tesla Fan’s Petition
We reported last week that a petition had been filed in an attempt to keep states from preventing Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) from selling its cars directly to consumers. At that point, fewer than 600 people had signed the petition. As of this writing, the petition has over 15,000 signatures.
Unfortunately though, the clock is ticking, and Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has less than two weeks to get the other 84,000+ signatures it needs on its petition. The White House will respond to the petition, but only if it gets 100,000 signatures by July 5.
Tesla Motors’ Direct To Consumer Sales Model
Each state currently has its own laws regarding the ability of automakers to sell vehicles directly to consumers. Some states block automakers from selling their vehicles, while others place restrictions on them. Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been getting through loopholes in many states by setting up showrooms for its vehicles but not selling them. In some states it can’t even offer test drives.
CEO Elon Musk has said since the beginning that the restrictions on automakers owning dealerships don’t apply to Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) because the company does not have any third party dealerships. Musk says since they aren’t competing with third party dealers to sell their vehicles, there’s no harm.
The White House And Tesla
CNBC’s Philip LeBeau considers whether the White House will have any sway with state lawmakers when it comes to Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s sales model. He writes that auto dealerships are often some of the top financial supporters of state lawmakers, which may make this battle against auto dealers a tough sell. Also many auto dealers are some of the largest tax revenue generators at the local level.
This is why it may take some time for public opinion to filter down to the state legislating level, if it does at all.
Updated at 9.01 am EST to correct that the petition was created by a Tesla fan and not the car company.