Elon Musk likens NJ vote to mafia tactics

When the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission decided on Tuesday to block Tesla Motors from selling cars from its stores in the Garden State, it may have inadvertently kicked a hornet's nest. Perhaps they thought no one was looking. Maybe they imagined no one would really care. If so, they were wrong. People do care, and there's some stinging criticism going on.

One individual in particular cares an awful lot. As co-founder and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk takes extreme umbrage when his baby is subject to what he feels is unfair treatment. Whether it be from the media or from politically-manipulative foes like automobile dealer's associations.

Never one to hold back, the entrepreneur has penned a piece directly to the people of New Jersey, making his case for manufacturer-to-consumer sales. It also explains how the company will operate there as of April 1st when the new rules take effect. He also pointedly questions the dealers association's reasoning for asking for the change. And we quote,

The rationale given for the regulation change that requires auto companies to sell through dealers is that it ensures "consumer protection". If you believe this, Gov. Christie has a bridge closure he wants to sell you! Unless they are referring to the mafia version of "protection", this is obviously untrue.

The uproar is not limited to Tesla insiders, or even the automaker's many fans. Apparently, people still care whether or not their government reeks of corruption, and in this case the smell wafting from New Jersey has attracted a lot of people's attention. A White House petition asking the Obama administration to "Inform New Jersey that markets should be free for Tesla Motors and for everyone" has attracted the attention of over 97,000 signatures 2,615 signatures in a few short days. The petition, though not legally binding, and the outrage in comments following articles on the issue ought to be a warning bell to politicians who trumpet the importance of the free market (or environmental concerns, as the case may be), and then act seemingly contrary to those convictions.

For now, Tesla is said to be mulling a legal remedy, but we would not be surprised to see a Political Action Committee (PAC) arise in the future that could take the company's concerns directly to voters. You can read Musk's letter, "To the People of New Jersey" here. If you're so inclined, you can add your name to the petition here. As always, feel free to let us know your take in the Comments.

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