The West Virginia state legislature already passed the bill to prevent direct sales by automakers or even displaying new vehicles with intent to sell them, except by franchised dealers. There was an attempt to amend the statute to allow a manufacturer to have five stores in the state, but the change wasn't accepted. According to Automotive News, one of the law's proponents was Senate President Bill Cole, himself an owner of dealerships in the state. With the governor's signature, any hope of Tesla finding a compromise has likely been lost.
The ability to sell in West Virginia would have been a major win for Tesla. Given that it was the second-to-last state to have a Model S registered, the market was likely to be small. However, buyers could have come there to buy the EVs. The company is already limited to three stores in Ohio and five in Pennsylvania, and the new market could have provided alternatives.
The West Virginia Automobile and Truck Dealers Association claims that it's not against Tesla as a company, just the business's sales style. "I just can't understand why if you want to be in the auto transportation business, why you wouldn't want to be part of a proven model," said association president Ruth Lemmon to Automotive News.