Tesla has a special history with the state of New Jersey, having delivered the 500th Roadster there in 2009. Fast forward to 2014, though, and the electric vehicle company is having a decidedly less-positive experience in the Garden State. In short, Tesla's ongoing dealer fight has turned sour, and thing are potentially going from bad to worse today.

Tesla says it has been working "constructively" with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) and Governor Chris Christie's administration "to defend against the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers' (NJ CAR) attacks on Tesla's business model and the rights of New Jersey consumers." In other words, the right for Tesla to open its own stores and not use the traditional dealer model. The legislative process on the fate of Proposal PRN 2013-138 (PDF) has been continuing and Tesla says it thought everyone was acting in good faith, but now it's not so sure. In a new official blog post, Tesla says:

Unfortunately, Monday we received news that Governor Christie's administration has gone back on its word to delay a proposed anti-Tesla regulation so that the matter could be handled through a fair process in the Legislature. The Administration has decided to go outside the legislative process by expediting a rule proposal that would completely change the law in New Jersey. This new rule, if adopted, would curtail Tesla's sales operations and jeopardize our existing retail licenses in the state. ... This is an affront to the very concept of a free market.

A meeting on the proposal is scheduled to take place this afternoon, and Tesla is not happy about it. In Ohio last year, Tesla asked for immediate help to stop a similar bill, which ended up working. For a while.

Last year, New Jersey started considering an EV-only tax that would cost EV drivers about $100 a year, but that appears to have been scrapped.


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  • 351 Comments
      Stuka87
      • 9 Months Ago
      I despise the current auto sales system. With a Tesla, you get the same price, and same service from every dealer. There is no trying to find the best price, there is no price gouging on high demand models, and you don't have to worry about dealers trying to pull any of their slimy tricks. Now obviously there is the fear that a manufacturer owned dealership chain could employ these tactics, but with any luck consumers would catch on to it and stop buying from that manufacturer.
        d
        • 9 Hours Ago
        @Stuka87
        If you don't know how to negotiate it's your own fault. Or do you not like capitalism and prefer the fascist business model of government backed and sponsored TBTF corporations. There is a reason why the dealership model works, it creates competition. What Musk is afraid of is competition between dealers, and the dealer model itself, will drive down margins which will affect the astronomically overvalued shares of Tesla.
          mawhalen53
          • 9 Hours Ago
          @d
          Competition takes place in the quality and performance of the product, not who's selling it. Or are you just AFRAID of CAPITALISM???? Would you rather be a COMMIE FASCIST THIRD REICH????
          Grendal
          • 9 Hours Ago
          @d
          Your argument just proves that the dealerships are at fault here. They are fighting a war to save their outdated process. The sad thing is that it is a war that they don't have to fight at all. They are just being bullies and whiners.
      Sean Ford
      • 9 Hours Ago
      You're kind of tool for trying to make this about Republicans. This is nothing more than the auto dealers trying to protect their turf. And don't forget, you're talking about NJ, you can't even pump your own gas ferchrissakes, do you think that's a Republican thing too, ya arse?
        Neez
        • 9 Hours Ago
        @Sean Ford
        Also, they have very very strict gun laws as well, definitely not a republican state.
      Jim
      • 9 Hours Ago
      Christie's New Jersey has nothing to do with conservatism or liberalism. It's all about good old-fashioned corruption and payoffs. If you ever want to know Christie's motive on any issue, follow the money.
        Dave D
        • 9 Hours Ago
        @Jim
        Yes, but he's a moron. I thought he was at least cagey with his corruption and bullying. After the bridge scandal, the last thing he needs is another public issue that questions his motives and the last thing Eon Musk is going to be is quiet and circumspect. And the average guy on the street knows that car dealers have been ripping us off for decades so R or D, getting caught on the wrong side of that argument is really stupid. The car dealers do a lot of good lobbying on a local level, but don't have the kind of money to compete in presidential politics and that's where Christie is heading. Bad choice of bedfellows there Chris. I was actually supporting him (hey, they're all crooks so why single him out), but he's starting to fail some IQ tests in my book.
      • 9 Hours Ago
      Green weenie reporter immediately points the finger at Republicans...but why would Christie say no? Because the largest donors to political campaigns--mainly Democrat--are the auto unions. They also will campaign against anyone who disrupts their business model. Duh.
        knightrider_6
        • 9 Hours Ago
        @cb reading comprehension is not your strong suit "The Administration has decided to go outside the legislative process by expediting a rule proposal that would completely change the law in New Jersey. " You are dumber than Julie Boonstra
      John
      • 9 Hours Ago
      The good news for Tesla is, as the scandals mount, including today's revelation that he handed out WTC wreckage as political gifts, Christie is unlikely to complete his current term.
        jcar302
        • 9 Hours Ago
        @John
        While wish they would kick him out, doubt it's going to happen. I think our best hope is that his reputation is so trashed he has no shot at president. I really have no interest in seeing or hearing his BS for the next 4-8 years.
      CoolWaters
      • 9 Hours Ago
      This is Jersey, Tesla needs to bribe, err make a CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION to Cristy and all will be well.
      Tom C
      • 9 Months Ago
      This episode neatly illustrates two things: 1. The dealer model is ultimately doomed, the sooner, the better 2. Republicans only pretend to support free markets
        Electron
        • 9 Hours Ago
        @Tom C
        @1 How does the remarkable influence those cardealers (and behind them the car industry and behind that the oil industry?) appear to have in the political decision making process spell that their franchise model is doomed? @2 agreed, conservative Americans are basically political orphans when it comes to economic policies.
      korblalak
      • 9 Hours Ago
      That heart attack can't come soon enough...
      Jake
      • 9 Hours Ago
      I agree that conservatives are political orphans. The Republican Party left us long ago and are now indistinguishable from the Democrats. There just aren't really any good politicians.
      rcavaretti
      • 9 Hours Ago
      I'll answer #1. Even with the power that comes from being in bed with a hundred allies won't stop the tide of pissed off customers (going elsewhere).
      m_2012
      • 9 Hours Ago
      Tesla doesn't have a problem with supply and demand. They build the cars after they are ordered; demand always leads supply that way. If the other automakers had a clue, they would do the same. Settling for a car never works well. The established automakers are taking notes. Not only on what to build, but how to build and sell it.
      Julius
      • 9 Hours Ago
      "Tesla doesn't have a problem with supply and demand. They build the cars after they are ordered; demand always leads supply that way. If the other automakers had a clue, they would do the same. Settling for a car never works well." At some point, that model breaks down. As Tesla is arguably a "luxury automaker" right now, the people lining up to buy one can afford to not have a Tesla in the garage. For Tesla to successfully market to the under-$30k crowd, having a car "ready-to-purchase" would be a big part of the deal. I mean, how many folks living on a paycheck can afford to have "their car" delivered to them 8-10 weeks after ordering? As it is, Tesla says there's two weeks from ordering to when the order goes to the factory, and a VIN is assigned to you 4-5 weeks before delivery. Those that have ordered a S60 had a 3-month wait as recently as the end of last year.
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