May 8 2014, 3:30pm CDT | by Forbes
“This extraordinary final-hour maneuver amounts to a sneak attack to thwart due process and hurt consumer freedom in Missouri,” according to a post on Tesla’s website. No specific author was listed but CEO Elon Musk posted a link to the post on his Twitter feed.
Dealers in Missouri proposed new language to an existing bill that would limit vehicles sales to franchised dealers, according to Tesla’s post.
“Last night, the bill with the new anti-Tesla language passed the Senate after zero public consultation and is soon moving to the House floor for a final vote, essentially without debate,” the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said. “This change is not an innocent, minor amendment.”
Tesla has been engaged in fights in various states, including New Jersey and Ohio, concerning the company’s preference to sell vehicles through company-owned outlets.
Essentially, Tesla wants to be an automotive version of Apple. In states where Tesla-owned outlets have been banned, it operates “galleries,” where potential buyers can look at Tesla’s Model S, but can’t actually buy there. Dealers groups have defended the traditional system of franchised dealerships, saying they help consumers. General Motors and Ford, gave up on plans in the late 1990s and early 2000s to operate company-owned outlets.
Tesla said it has a service center in St. Louis that employs 15 people. The company said it intends to open another in Kansas City, Mo. Musk has been outspoken that company-owned outlets are the best route for his company.
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