The Invisible Hand is giving a very visible finger to the people of New Jersey. Or perhaps Chris Christie just realized that an electric car battery might not survive sitting in his manufactured traffic?
Under pressure from the New Jersey auto dealer lobby to protect its monopoly, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, composed of political appointees of Governor Chris Christie, ended the right of New Jersey’s people to purchase vehicles at a manufacturer store within the state. A targeted move to stop Tesla sales.
Governor Christie had promised that this would be put to a vote of the elected state legislature, an appropriate way of changing law, but as we’ve all learned the big guys about as true to his word as a fat toddler with a mouth covered in chocolate who denies stealing Oreos from the Pantry. When it became apparent to the auto dealer lobby that a vote would undeniably go against their interests, they cut a backroom deal with the Governor to circumvent the legislative process. Now, if that isn’t the America I’ve come to know I don’t know what is.
Brief history lesson, decades ago, auto manufacturers sold franchises to generate capital and gain a salesforce and the franchisees in turn invested a lot of their money and time in building up the dealerships. Some of the big auto companies later engaged in pressure tactics to get the franchisees to sell their dealerships back at unreasonably low prices. Franchisees sought protection from their state legislatures and laws were created.
Tesla, however, entered the market with no existing franchises. Auto dealers who have over the years through political donation and backroom dealing put lawmakers in their back pockets didn’t like this, and sought to force us to sell through them.
Tesla is not interested in working through dealers for a few reasons. One, dealers have a vested interest in promoting gasoline powered vehicles, which are the basis of almost all of their revenue. They won’t put effort into promoting an all electric vehicle. Two, dealers make most of their profit from their service centers. Gasoline powered cars require far more service trips than an electric vehicle. There’s no oil to change, fewer moving parts, no tune-ups, smog checks, spark plugs to change, etc… Again, another reason they don’t promote electric and another reason they wouldn’t put effort into selling Tesla’s.
Overall, it’s an incredibly frustrating endeavor to watch. Supposedly pro-business and free-market Conservatives closing backroom deals to allow further government regulation and disallow a business from selling their product isn’t just ironic, it’s disgusting. Oh, and lest we forget. Rick “Texas is open for business” Perry pulled the same shit in Texas.