Tesla Motors launched an offensive on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Tuesday accusing his administration of not acting in “good faith” as the company negotiated with officials to sell its cars in the Garden State.
According to a blog post from Tesla, after promising to allow the question of whether Tesla could sell its cars directly to consumers in New Jersey to “be handled through a fair process in the Legislature,” the Christie administration “decided to go outside the legislative process by expediting a rule proposal that would completely change the law in New Jersey.
The proposal that has Tesla up in arms is PRN 2013-138, an amendment to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission’s Licensing Service regulations for licensed motor vehicle dealers. PRN 2013-138 was made public by the Commission in October of 2013 and is being reviewed at an NJMVC meeting today.
The element of PRN 2013-138 that would seem to be a problem for Tesla is a section that requires applicants for the licenses required to open a motor vehicle dealership to be “a motor vehicle franchisee.” New Jersey law defines a “motor vehicle franchisee” as a “a person to whom a franchise is granted by a motor vehicle franchisor.” A franchisor would be a manufacturer like Tesla. This requirement would seem to force Tesla to have intermediaries open dealerships and would not allow the company to do so directly.
Christie administration spokesman Kevin Roberts sent a statement responding to Tesla’s attacks to Business Insider. Roberts said the company is the one attempting to bypass the Legislature. Tesla did not immediately reply to a request from Business Insider asking for a specific response to Roberts. The NJMVC also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Read the full proposal below. The section dealing with the franchisee requirement is at the bottom of the second page.
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