Tesla’s ability to directly provide service for its fleet of vehicles in Texas was threatened by the language in a new bill.
The bill’s sponsor has now accepted an amendment that would protect access to service for Tesla owners after they put pressure on the legislator.
As we previously reported, Texas is one of the biggest markets in the US that still completely bans Tesla’s direct sale model.
The local car dealer lobby is using old laws meant to stop automakers to compete with their own franchise dealers to block Tesla from selling their own cars directly to consumers even though Tesla never had any franchise dealers.
Many see this as a free market issue as car dealers appear to be using the law to protect themselves from competition and create a monopoly.
Tesla has launched several lobbying efforts to change the law over the years, but they always failed to convince the legislature, which is being influenced by the car dealer lobby.
Now a new bill introduced by Republican Senator Kelly Hancock included language that could have easily been used to block Tesla from even providing service to its fleet of vehicles through its company-owned service centers.
A policy advisor for Hancock claimed that the language wouldn’t have prevented Tesla from servicing its vehicles, but it did add “servicing” and “repairing” to the definition of franchise dealership, which can’t be operated by automakers in Texas.
Tesla was concerned that it could have been used by the car dealers to challenge them in court as they did in other states.
When Tesla first proposed an amendment that would have kept them safe, Hancock refused it, according to sources familiar with the matter.
We asked Hancock’s staff if the car dealer lobby was involved in adding this specific language to the bill, but they stopped responding to our inquiries.
After Tesla’s thousands of owners in Texas put pressure on the legislator, they have finally agreed to change the language of the bill to “assuage concerns and prevent misreadings of what can be very complex statutory references.”
Tesla is happy with the outcome:
“The substitute bill preserves the status quo to allow Tesla and companies like us to continue to service our customers’ vehicles in Texas. We look forward to continuing to serve our growing customer base in the Lone Star State.”
There’s no word on a new effort to now allow Tesla to also sell its vehicles directly in Texas.
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