COMMENTARY | If New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie still wants to run for president after the Bridgegate scandal, he may have to contend with a decision his government made to prevent the Tesla electric car from being sold directly to consumers in his state.
“The sticking point, as some of you already know, is that Tesla sells directly to the public through its own stores, not through third-party dealerships. Car dealers obviously have a strong incentive to make sure that that business model doesn’t catch on. Solution: Keep Tesla off the market, especially a market like New Jersey where there’s high demand for luxury cars among well-heeled Manhattan commuters. Tesla lobbied Christie’s administration to block a new rule being kicked around by the state’s Motor Vehicle Commission that would require all cars in Jersey to be sold through dealerships. Let it play out in the legislature, they argued, where they’d have more of a chance of defeating a bill along similar lines. Team Christie allegedly agreed; Tesla claims they’ve already been granted two licenses to sell their cars in state. Then, boom – suddenly the MVC turned around and passed the dealership rule. No more Tesla sales in New Jersey starting on April 1st.”
Tesla, which is marketing a luxury electric car called the Model S, has been attempting to cut out the middle man of third party car dealerships in order to sell their vehicles directly to the public. Thus far Arizona and Texas have also blocked Tesla from doing so. The latter means that Gov. Rick Perry may also have some explaining to do should he want to run for president.
Newt Gingrich, who once ran for president himself, suggests that allowing cars to be sold directly would cut their cost by 10 to 15 percent. In other words, car buyers are being given the shaft in order to protect a special interest group, i.e. car dealers.
All of this means that free market politicians such as Rand Paul and Ted Cruz could have a lot of red meat to chew on if they find themselves running against Christie in 2016. One wonders how the New Jersey governor will explain this one.