In his efforts to influence Texas lawmakers to see things his way on issues like allowing factory owned dealerships, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is dangling the possibility of building an assembly plant in Texas for his line of electric cars.
A second Tesla plant in Texas
According to HyrbidCars.com, Musk has hinted that Tesla might build an assembly plant in Texas, especially if the Texas Legislature approves a bill allowing Tesla and other car companies to build factory-owned dealerships. According to Autoblog.com, this plant would build a new line of electric pickup trucks. Thus far Tesla is offering a luxury-level electric car, the Model S, and has previously sold a sports car model, the roadster. An electric pickup truck plant would provide thousands of jobs and inject millions of dollars into the Texas economy.
An electric pickup truck
Musk is suggesting that he can build a line of electric pickup trucks that have the maneuverability of a sports car but more towing and carrying capacity than a gasoline or diesel truck of comparative size, according to Autoblog.com. The idea of such a vehicle has been floated by Tesla since last July.
Tesla pushes factory owned auto dealerships
The carrot of an assembly plant building electric pickup trucks may have a lot to do with a fight Tesla is waging in the Texas Legislature with the powerful Texas Auto Dealers Association, according to AutoTalk.com. Musk and Tesla are supporting a pair of bills, House Bill 3351 and Senate Bill 1659, which would permit builders of electric cars to sell directly to consumers. Currently Texas law prohibits such a sales model, preferring the dealership franchise model. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Tesla owns what are called "galleries" in Austin and Houston. Employees at these galleries are prohibited from discussing price or allowing potential customers to take a test drive. If someone buys a Tesla in Texas it is delivered by a third-party truck without Tesla markings.
Musk argues for selling cars his way
According to Auto Talk, Tesla is arguing that it cannot sell its cars through franchises because it lacks relationships with franchises dealerships in Texas or anywhere else in the United States. The company further argues that because electric cars are a niche market compared to gasoline-fueled cars, franchised dealerships would have an inherent conflict of interest attempting to sell electric cars side by side with gasoline cars, the latter of which would constitute the majority of their business. Only by selling directly can Tesla service and educate its customers.
Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
- Texas Legislature
- Elon Musk
- electric cars