Tesla struggling to sell cars in Texas - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Tesla struggling to sell cars in Texas

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The CEO of Tesla wants Texas lawmakers to change state law to allow his company to sell its electric cars directly to the customer and not to independent dealerships.

Currently there are no Tesla dealerships in Austin or anywhere else in the state.

Austin's Matt Holm is a Tesla owner that was happy to show off what was underneath the hood.

"Something's missing, something's missing, yeah everyone says the exact same thing," Holm said after opening the hood. "Where are the hamsters right? Essentially it's a motor the size of your head in between the back wheels that's powered by 7000 lithium batteries."

The Tesla is not your granddad's Buick. You cannot even buy the car like your grandfather bought a Buick.

"I had to order it online I never sat in the car and had never driven the car, so it was a leap of faith," Holm said.

The Tesla cannot be purchased directly because it has no franchised dealer relationships in Texas.

"So the car just gets dumped off at your house and the customer has to peel off the plastic wrap themselves," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said noting that this scenario only exists in Texas.

Musk was at the Capitol on Wednesday urging lawmakers to change the laws that made this situation.

"Is Texas a free enterprise state or not?" Musk asked. "Because in this particular area it's the worst in the country and I don't think most people Texas even know this."

Bill Wolters, President of the Texas Auto Dealerships responded to Musk's claims.

We're ready to sell his car if he complies with the state franchise laws, it's not a problem," Wolters said. "But it has to be someone who ‘owns' the dealership, not the factory."

Musk wants stand-alone dealerships rather than sharing space on showroom floors to sell his electric car and disagrees with Wolters.

"They're unwilling to commit to selling any of our cars and on the other hand they're saying we must give them the exclusive right to sell cars," Musk said.

Musk said the goal of Tesla is to sell roughly 10,000 electric cars a year in America. Texas sells 10% of the cars in America.

"It's a real important market not a market that we could or want to ignore," Musk said. "I'd say it's vital."

Governor Rick Perry told Musk if the legislature passes a bill allowing Tesla to sell its product in Texas he will sign it.

Tesla is not allowed by law to discuss the price of its cars or direct anyone to its web site. It is also prohibited from giving test drives.

Holm told FOX 7 his Tesla cost around six figures. Some models though, can cost around $50,000.

LINK: Tesla Motors

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