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Despite not being allowed to actually sell cars on site - or even offer a test drive - Tesla has opened its newest venue in Texas. As of Friday, NorthPark Center mall in Dallas is home to the newest Tesla Gallery. Don't call it a Store!

Employees at the gallery can't even discuss pricing.

The 2,200-square-foot gallery lets interested parties learn more about the California-based electric car company, and even sit behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S. Texas law prohibits manufacturers to sell directly to the customer, though which is the business model for Tesla. Employees at the gallery can't even discuss pricing. They can, however, explain the technology, and direct potential customers to their website where they can make a reservation at home. Let's call it a hands-on advertisement.

"Our galleries create strong awareness for our product," Tesla Spokesperson Alexis Georgeson told Automotive News. "[They] are our advertising." Other Tesla owners in Texas, of which there are nearly 2,000, help pick up the slack, too, some even offering test drives to strangers, she said.

Since Texas law restricts selling cars without a franchised dealership, taking delivery of a Model S is a bit of a process. After purchasing online or by phone, the car is delivered from out of state by a third party. The vehicle is registered out-of-state as well, and customers must then register the car in Texas after taking ownership. When they do that, they must also pay the entirety of the Texas sales tax on the vehicle, as well as the price of the aspirin required for the accompanying headache.

Without franchised dealerships, repair options are also limited for Tesla owners in Texas. Tesla does have local subsidiaries that do repair work, but customers must first call Tesla Motors in California, who will decide what repair work is necessary before being sending the customer to the service center. Even then, employees aren't allowed to discuss additional repair needs with customers, or even advertise that they do warranty work. Currently, Tesla has three of these subcontracted service centers in Texas, in Austin, Houston and Dallas, with a San Antonio location on the way.

Last year, a bill was introduced to exempt Tesla from Texas's law banning factory-owned dealerships, but it didn't get to the House floor before the end of session. According to Georgeson, Tesla will try again to overturn the law when legislators reconvene next year. Despite opposition from the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, Tesla has found a friend in Governor Rick Perry. Tesla is considering Texas as a possible site for a new battery factory, and Perry is keen on the estimated $5-billion investment in his state.

So, until Tesla is actually allowed to sell its cars in Texas, feel free to visit the newest Gallery in Dallas, or the Galleries already established in Houston and Austin. Just don't ask for a test drive.


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  • 44 Comments
      • 11 Months Ago
      too high tech for texas rednecks...if i were Elon Musk I wouldn't even open this showroom there either.
      • 11 Months Ago
      Texas is really shooting itself in the foot here. First of all, anyone who has the scratch to buy a car with an entry-level price of $71,000 can just fly next door to Albuquerque, Little Rock or OKC and buy one, and Texas loses the sales tax on an expensive car. Second, Texas desperately wants the battery factory Tesla is planning, but prohibiting the sale of the car really poisons the water between the company and the state.
      Spec
      • 11 Months Ago
      I wonder how much Merch Tesla sells.
        paulwesterberg
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Some of their apparel looks pretty decent. http://shop.teslamotors.com/collections/apparel
        Grendal
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Spec
        I've bought 4 of their shirts. My favorite is the Striped Polo in black. It's very comfortable and light. So I spent over $200 on merchandise so far.
      Technoir
      • 11 Months Ago
      I wonder what the visit to sales ratio is compared to regular dealerships. They surely get a lot more traffic, but probably mostly people coming in out of curiosity.
      purrpullberra
      • 11 Months Ago
      I love how Tesla fans are going to thwart the laws by giving out all the info themselves *right at the stores*. The stores have no right or reason to make you leave if all you are doing is telling people information. It's a way to 'break' the 'law' and get past the corruption of pig-politicians and pig-dealership stooges. I still encourage anyone with extra spending cash to open kiosks right outside Tesla galleries to do everything the dealers don't want them to be able to do. It needs to have the pricing info scroll along some screens so it's visible from the store. Set up test-drives or rides for free from owners. The final key is to notify the press and NADA and the corrupt politicians to let them know how easy it is to disregard their intentions, 'breaking' the 'law'. It would piss off all those losers and what fun it would be! In fact it's already happening. Here's to the end of new car dealerships as we know and hate them!
      Abhinav
      • 11 Months Ago
      They should slap on a Californian flag for good measure. Make them know who is boss.
        purrpullberra
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Abhinav
        LOL! Gov. PricklessPerry said the only thing that could make a Tesla better is a 'made in Texas' sticker so knowing it is made in Cali certainly proves all their political beliefs are wrong and based on nothing but lies. So that is a great line.
          Actionable Mango
          • 11 Months Ago
          @purrpullberra
          You're ignoring a lot of facts. Tesla builds their cars in California because they got a state-of-the-art auto factory, the NUMMI plant, for pennies on the dollar. They got it for pennies on the dollar because Toyota and GM gave up on building cars there in California. Toyota is now also moving their US business headquarters out of California... where? To Texas.
      • 11 Months Ago
      Ah yes, the lotus based kit car. Call some ****-box green and the sheeple come running.
        purrpullberra
        • 11 Months Ago
        What position do you hold at FOXLIES? Director of 'knews'. Such ignorance...!
        Naturenut99
        • 11 Months Ago
        Has nothing to do with Lotus whatsoever. This was built from the ground up. Not to mention it's the safest and best car on the road.
        Bob H
        • 11 Months Ago
        how much do the 'combustible' car companies pay you for your time? nothing? you're selling yourself short...
        Grendal
        • 11 Months Ago
        You should trade your brain for one that actually works. A brain is a terrible thing to waste.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 11 Months Ago
        Yes, it's a kit car based on Lotus' 7 seater long sedan car. I mean gosh, just look at lotus' website and see all of those big sedans they have for sale. Totally hit the nail on the head, bro!
      Jon
      • 11 Months Ago
      "According to Georgeson, Tesla will try again to overturn the law when legislators reconvene next year." Next year as in this year? Or really next year? As in the Texas legislature does not reconvene until 2015??
        Grendal
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Jon
        Strange but true. The Texas legislature gets long holidays.
        Bob H
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Jon
        next year as in whenever the fools trip over themselves for some investment dollars
      • 11 Months Ago
      Welcome once again to Baja Oklahoma. The only state in the Union where it is customary to shoot ones self in the foot and then brag about the benefits of gun ownership. I'm sure the 2,000 sold so far has put a huge dent in the sales of all those pick up trucks. If Tesla would have left room for a gun rack there would be sales all over the place. Quote: I love Texas, it' the Texans I have a problem with.
      bluepongo1
      • 11 Months Ago
      http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-06-22/news/50772361_1_tesla-motors-suv-model-x-mahindra-reva-electric-vehicles
        bluepongo1
        • 11 Months Ago
        @bluepongo1
        Texas ? New Jersey ? are we still talking about future fearing places run like fifedoms by takers ? India + Tesla = MASSIVE change :-P
      2 wheeled menace
      • 11 Months Ago
      Hey... hats off to them for doing their best to get around stupid laws. :)
      mylexicon
      • 11 Months Ago
      There are Tesla's everywhere in North Dallas, particularly the Highland Park area. The Texas vs. Tesla crisis has been manufactured for the benefit of the media. People who want Teslas get them. Retail stores would be nice, but they aren't really spoiling Tesla's incursion into the Texas market.
        JakeY
        • 11 Months Ago
        @mylexicon
        Not being able to handle any paperwork or discuss pricing with potential customers is still a huge competitive disadvantage. It's only because the Tesla is such a special car that people are willing to jump through extra hoops to get it in Texas, but that won't remain the case forever or for all potential customers.
        Aaron
        • 11 Months Ago
        @mylexicon
        Not sure why mylexicon was downvoted. There ARE Teslas all over North Dallas. The laws preventing Tesla from selling in Texas has not stopped the flow of cars. All Texas has done is cheated themselves out of the state tax on each vehicle sold.
          Sean
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Aaron
          No, they still charge Texas sales tax for you to import a new car. It just makes the cars more expensive for Texans.
          Bob H
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Aaron
          I see them every day in Denton County, fifty plus miles north of Dallas.
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