The White House will be weighing in on Tesla Motors’ fight to sell its cars directly to consumers.
However, it’s not clear when the White House will respond to the increasingly heated battle over Tesla’s direct sales model. Furthermore, it wasn’t the company that pushed the President to get involved.
In June of last year, someone identified only as “K.S.” from Stow, Mass., started a petition on the White House website calling on the Obama administration to “allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states.” Tesla’s direct sales model has faced opposition in several states, most recently New Jersey, which approved a regulation banning auto manufacturers from selling cars directly to consumers on Tuesday. The petition, which argued “state legislators are trying to unfairly protect automobile dealers in their states from competition” gained more than 100,000 signatures in its first month, which is the threshold required to get a response from the White House. As of this writing, the petition has 130,619 signatures.
Though it crossed the threshold last summer, the Tesla petition still has not gotten a response from the White House. On Friday, White House Assistant Press Secretary Matt Lehrich confirmed to Business Insider the petition would be “reviewed by the appropriate officials and receive a response.” However, Lehrich said he could not confirm when the petition would be addressed.
“Don’t have an update on timing. Response times vary based on a variety of factors including subject matter, overall volume of petitions and other variables,” Lehrich said.
In a blog post Friday, Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk blasted New Jersey’s direct sales ban as the result of a “backroom deal” between the state’s car dealer lobby and Gov. Chris Christie. Musk said the company is “evaluating judicial remedies to correct the situation.” Thus far, Tesla has indicated it is not pursuing any action to counter state direct sales bans on the federal level.
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