Coming days after Tesla was effectively banned from selling cars directly to customers in New Jersey, CEO Elon Musk personally penned a post on the Tesla blog expressing his disappointment with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission's ruling. Musk is pissed; in calling New Jersey governor Chris Christie out for allowing the car lobby to cut a "backroom deal" to ban Tesla stores, he also accuses the NJMVC of essentially extorting consumers and barring them from democratically selecting how they want to purchase their cars.
In the course of the screed, Musk states that the laws already on the books originally designed to protect car dealers from powerful auto manufacturers are now being "twisted to an unjust purpose." Dealers currently wield considerable clout, and are able to influence policymakers to pass proposals like PRN 2013-138 that force car makers to sell under their auspices and prevent choice. Electric cars, in Musk's view, are a harder sell for dealerships, where selling traditional, more familiar cars are easier and ensure a bigger payoff in terms of repairs over the life of the car. Just ask Fisker: even though the Karma was a dud from even before its launch, being hamstrung by dealers cannot have helped the recently-shuttered company's overall prospects. Now the same can happen to Tesla, even though the Model S earned top marks at Consumer Reports last year.
"Gov. Christie has a bridge closure he wants to sell you!"
Ultimately, Musk believes the blame should fall squarely on vested interests unconcerned with consumer protection, even if that was the rationale they used in the ban. "If you believe this," he writes, "Gov. Christie has a bridge closure he wants to sell you! Unless they are referring to the mafia version of "protection", this is obviously untrue." Tesla is still intent on selling cars until April 1st, and will transition to galleries when the law goes into effect. In the interim, Musk is looking for "judicial remedies" to reverse the law, and encourages customers to write to their representatives.