On Tesla (TSLA)’s blog just now, CEO Elon Musk posted a letter titled “To the People of New Jersey”, where among other things, accuses Governor Christie of ending consumers right to purchase vehicles at a manufacturer store within the state.
“On Tuesday, under pressure from the New Jersey auto dealer lobby to protect its monopoly, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, composed of political appointees of the Governor, ended your right to purchase vehicles at a manufacturer store within the state. Governor Christie had promised that this would be put to a vote of the elected state legislature, which is the appropriate way to change the law. When it became apparent to the auto dealer lobby that this approach would not succeed, they cut a backroom deal with the Governor to circumvent the legislative process and pass a regulation that is fundamentally contrary to the intent of the law.”
Mr. Musk also mentions in his letter the rationale behind Christie’s approach to the Tesla issue.
“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. As anyone who has been through the conventional auto dealer purchase process knows, consumer protection is pretty much the furthest thing from the typical car dealer’s mind.”
Musk concludes by saying that his company is “evaluating judicial remedies to correct the situation”. He also said that “if you believe that your right to buy direct at a Tesla store should be restored, please contact your state senator & assemblyman: www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/districtnumbers.asp.
Earlier in the week, Governor Chris Christie’s administration backed by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) turned their back on months of negotiations with Tesla as they rapidly pushed through a new regulation that would curtail the electric car’s ability to conduct sales in the Garden State. Tesla responded to the move, saying that “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, said the company in a press release, if adopted, “would curtail Tesla’s sales operations and jeopardize our existing retail licenses in the state.” The electric car maker called this political maneuvering “an affront to the very concept of a free market.”
Click here to read Musk’s letter in its entirety.