Luxe electric car company Tesla Motors unleashed a blog post and series of tweets Tuesday accusing the administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie of not acting in “good faith” as the company attempts to bring its direct sales model to the Garden State.
The blog post, which was authored by the “Tesla Motors Team” said the company was under the impression it had been “working constructively with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) and members of Governor Christie’s administration” to defend its rights to sell cars directly to consumers against “attacks” from the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers.
“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,” the blog post said. “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.”
However, Christie administration spokesman Kevin Roberts sent a statement to Business Insider that claimed Tesla Motors is the one attempting to work outside normal legislative procedures in New Jersey.
“Since Tesla first began operating in New Jersey one year ago, it was made clear that the company would need to engage the Legislature on a bill to establish their new direct-sales operations under New Jersey law. This administration does not find it appropriate to unilaterally change the way cars are sold in New Jersey without legislation and Tesla has been aware of this position since the beginning,” Roberts said.
Tesla did not immediately reply to a request from Business Insider asking for a specific response to Roberts’ statement.
“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,” Tesla’s blog post said. “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.”
On Twitter, Tesla’s official account encouraged supporters to come to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission meeting and protest. The company also reportedly scheduled a press conference call to discuss the matter.
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