Arizona Capitol

Sale of Tesla Vehicles Would Be Legalized in Arizona Under Proposed Bill

Electric-car manufacturer Tesla Motors has a dinky presence in Arizona.

There's no dealership here, and although the company operates a "gallery" at Scottsdale Fashion Square, the company technically doesn't sell any cars in Arizona. However, that's only due to state law, and there's a proposal to change that law.

Tesla technically doesn't have franchised dealers anywhere but rather owns its retail locations. For example, there's no Earnhardt Tesla (and that ain't no bull).

However, Arizona's one of a few states where the law prevents factories selling vehicles directly to consumers, calling it unfair to dealerships -- although there's nothing stopping someone in Arizona from ordering a Tesla online.

Arizona's House Bill 2059 would add a caveat to the state law, saying it's only unfair "if a dealer is located within 60 miles of the retail customer or lead."

The bill goes on to clarify that the law would not "prohibit a factory from selling, leasing or providing, or offering to sell, lease or provide, a vehicle or product, service or financing to any retail consumer or lead if a dealer is not located within 60 miles of the retail consumer or lead."

The bill's sponsor, Republican Representative John Kavanagh, confirmed that this bill would allow the Tesla sales here.

Tesla is behind very similar legislation in Texas, where they're also stuck with a "gallery" instead of a place to buy a vehicle. From Tesla's website:

We currently operate two Tesla galleries in Houston and Austin. In an effort to comply with the current laws, employees at these galleries are prevented from discussing pricing and the reservation process. This includes any discussion on financing, leasing, or purchasing options. Also, galleries cannot offer test drives. The store's interactive kiosks are also amended to remove pricing. Lastly, we are unable to refer the customer to another store out of state. This puts Tesla at a serious disadvantage and inhibits our ability to reduce misconceptions and educate people about Electric Vehicles and the technology. Furthermore, people are forced to leave the gallery frustrated, lacking sufficient information about the car and the brand.
The Texas and Arizona laws are different, but you can understand why they would want the laws changed in their favor in both states (there's also a "gallery" in Virginia).

Check out a pretty thorough Car and Driver review of Tesla's Model S:

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley