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Texas Gov. Perry Sees Pros Of Tesla Direct Sales

Tue, 03/25/2014 - 12:00pm
Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net

Texas is one of the four states in the running for a massive “gigafactory” for building battery packs for future Tesla vehicles, but they’re in a bit of a pickle — Texas is also one of the five states that bans the company’s direct-to-customer sales model, which passes over the traditional dealership. New Jersey is the latest state to join that small group, but there are many others that are currently considering similar legislation that would force Tesla to create a dealer network, as all other automakers currently have.

Texas isn’t alone in the hypocrisy — Arizona is another one of the five states that ban Tesla’s sales model, but that hasn’t stopped the city of Tucson from making the first public proposal to court the plant and its associated jobs. While some say the states “can’t have it both ways,” Texas and Arizona must believe that Tesla could overlook its inability to sell in a given state even while appreciating the value in manufacturing there. Or, they're recognizing a need to change that.

Gov. Perry joined Fox Business recently to talk about what Texas is doing to court Tesla, and what it’s doing to make sure that the company has everything it needs to be successful in the state. The video is below.

The first step would be eliminating the pro-dealership laws, and of those, Perry says, “These are old laws that have been put in place, and I am not going to argue whether they were right or wrong for then.”

Perry cites the natural change in society and economic structures as the underpinning of why it’s the right choice now — things just aren’t sold the same way today as they were even 10 years ago, he argues. He says the people of Texas will be given the chance to take a look at the laws and decide what’s right for them. If they don’t want the protections offered by the dealership model, they will be given the chance to eliminate it.

Perry says, “I’m going to think the pros of allowing this to happen are going to outweigh the cons.”

He adds, “I think the time has come for the country to have the conversation. I can assure you they are going to have it in Texas. Tesla is a big project, it’s a $5 billion dollar project — a lot of people are going to be getting their jobs, and I think that the cache of being able to say, ‘We put that manufacturing facility in our state,’ is one that is hard to pass up.”

As far as the proposed Tesla plant goes, Gov. Perry is bullish on the potential benefits to his state and its citizens. He says, “This is, economically, where we want to be. This is skilled workforce … this is technology-oriented, where we want to be. Why would you take a pass on that?”

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