UPDATED: New Jersey Coalition of Auto Retailers with Governor Christie to end Tesla Sales Starting April 1st

***UPDATED***

It’s official folks. Live blogged from TransportEvolved from the floor of the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission meeting, you will no longer be able to buy a Tesla in the state of New Jersey starting April 1st. The proposal was approved without public comment.

*** Original Post***

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Announced this morning on Tesla’s Blog, New Jersey consumers interested in shopping electric vehicles might not be able to peruse Tesla’s offerings if a proposal being snuck into the state legislature passes today.

48 states currently have limitations or outright bans on manufacturers selling cars directly to consumers. Tesla was working with the Christie administration to expand retail operations in the state, and through previous negotiations had received two retail licenses. It was agreed that Tesla and the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers would hold an open session in the NJ legislature to address the situation. That plan seems to have been discarded.

Proposal PRN2013-138 would require some form of middle man in auto sales, and would undo the current retail licenses Tesla has already acquired. Instead of a public forum to discuss, the proposal is being voted on today at 2pm EDT in Trenton.

It’s another frustrating example of how the game is played behind the scenes through lobbying efforts on behalf of organizations like NJ CAR, and it certainly doesn’t shine the most positive light on Christie’s administration, which has had to field a couple embarrassing political hot potatoes of late.

You can read the full Tesla blog post below.

Defending Innovation and Consumer Choice in New Jersey

Since 2013, Tesla Motors has been working constructively with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) and members of Governor Christie’s administration to defend against the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers’ (NJ CAR) attacks on Tesla’s business model and the rights of New Jersey consumers. Until yesterday, we were under the impression that all parties were working in good faith.

Unfortunately, Monday we received news that Governor Christie’s administration has gone back on its word to delay a proposed anti-Tesla regulation so that the matter could be handled through a fair process in the Legislature. 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, if adopted, would curtail Tesla’s sales operations and jeopardize our existing retail licenses in the state. Having previously issued two dealer licenses to Tesla, this regulation would be a complete reversal to the long standing position of NJMVC on Tesla’s stores. Indeed, the Administration and the NJMVC are thwarting the Legislature and going beyond their authority to implement the state’s laws at the behest of a special interest group looking to protect its monopoly at the expense of New Jersey consumers. This is an affront to the very concept of a free market.

Proposal PRN 2013-138 seeks to impose stringent licensing rules that would, among other things, require all new motor vehicles to be sold through middlemen and block Tesla’s direct sales model. This move comes in spite of discussions with the Governor’s staff as recently as January, when it was agreed that Tesla and NJ CAR would address their issues in a more public forum: the New Jersey Legislature. Instead, rather than engage in an open debate on such a significant policy issue, the Administration has expedited the implementation of a new law that the Commission intends to stealthily approve at a meeting in Trenton today at 2:00 PM EDT.

We are disappointed in the actions of the NJMVC and the Christie Administration, which come on the heels of more than nine months of unexplained delays in the issuing of a new sales license for Tesla, despite our numerous requests, calls, and letters. In addition, the NJMVC has also delayed the annual renewal of Tesla’s current dealer licenses without indication of the cause of the delay. The delays have handicapped Tesla in New Jersey, where, without clear licensing procedures and fair enforcement of existing law, we have been forced to delay our growth plans. This is an issue that affects not just Tesla customers, but also New Jersey citizens at large, because Tesla would be unable to create new jobs or participate in New Jersey’s economic revival.

At the same time, neither Tesla nor the taxpayers of New Jersey have been able to participate in any of the analysis or been granted a hearing as requested last year when this was first proposed. Despite being the subject of the regulation, we were only able to obtain information about today’s meeting with less than 24 hours notice and in direct contravention of assurances by the Governor.

We strongly believe it is vital to introduce our own vehicles to the market because electric cars are still a relatively new technology. This model is not just a matter of selling more cars and providing optimum consumer choice for Americans, but it is also about educating consumers about the benefits of going electric, which is central to our mission to accelerate the shift to sustainable transportation, a new paradigm in automotive technology.

We urge the Christie administration to act in good faith and withdraw the proposed amendment, or amend it so that it reflects the true intent of the Legislature and the people of New Jersey.

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