North Carolina lawmakers are rushing to protect the state's car dealers from Tesla's subversive direct-to-consumer business model.
Silicon Valley-based Tesla sells its all-electric roadsters and sedans online and over the phone. It seems to be doing a pretty good job of it so far. It doesn't sell its cars on the concrete lots or in the sterile showrooms of car salesmen, who take commissions that hike prices. The company considers dealerships unnecessary.
And that rubs the powerful North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association the wrong way.
The association wants a piece of the Tesla pie, and it's accustomed to getting its way. State law already bars anybody other than a licensed dealer from selling more than four motor vehicles in a year.
The association has backed Senate Bill 327, sponsored by state Sen. Tom Apodaca (R), which would broaden the scope of that protectionist law to also cover internet and telephone sales.