The company has doubled down on its lobbying strategy after unsuccessfully seeking exemptions to existing franchise regulations.
Tesla has reportedly doubled down on its lobbying efforts in Texas after unsuccessfully seeking exemptions to existing dealer franchise regulations.
The company previously pushed for legislation that would have permitted direct sales for automakers that have never established a network of franchised dealers in the state. The efforts proved futile, however, and the proposals never proceeded far enough to receive a vote in the state House or Senate.
Dealer lobbyists argued that Tesla was seeking preferential treatment, enabling the company to play by different rules. Tesla is now coming back to the table with an even bolder proposal that addresses such criticism.
The latest proposal would allow for direct sales by any automaker, including Tesla and established rivals alike.
"It's a simple, free-market bill to allow that to happen," said state Rep Jason Isaac, a Republican who submitted the bill in the House, as quoted by The Texas Tribune.
The move will undoubtedly face even more pushback from franchise dealers in the state, many of whom are significant political donors.
"Tesla's legislation seeks to unravel the entire franchised dealer system in Texas, in favor of direct sales of motor vehicles by a manufacturer," Texas Automobile Dealers Association president Bill Wolters said in a statement to the Tribune. "SB 2093 and the reduced competition it will bring about in the new vehicle sales and service market will come at the expense of Texans and Texas."
Wolters further argues that no other automaker had sought a change to the law, " and Tesla doesn't need to either," implying that Tesla should simply follow suit and establish a franchise network in the state.
Tesla last year started preparing for a federal showdown that could clear the way for direct sales across the country, including the handful of holdout states that includes Texas, Arizona, Michigan, Connecticut, Utah and West Virginia.