Bill May Soon Ban Tesla's Direct Car Sales Model in Missouri

By Linda Ong |

Published 05/09 2014 10:17PM

Updated 05/10 2014 10:47AM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A bill in the legislature may soon bar direct car sales.

New language in House Bill 1124 would require Missouri consumers to purchase cars from middlemen franchised dealers.

This would affect those interested in buying electric Tesla cars-- the automaker's business model is structured by a direct sale to consumers through their website.

Nixa resident Evan Fusco has owned a Tesla for over a year and is upset at the updated version of the bill.

"It was a very simple clean transportation bill," said Fusco. "This was clearly that was kept underwraps and snuck in at 11th hour by the Senate."

The original version of HB 1124 pertained to off-road and all-terrain vehicles. The bill's language would prohibit Tesla from selling its vehicles directly to consumers in Missouri.

This is bad news for Tesla owners, like Fusco.

"It's our preferred vehicle, from picking up a loaf of bread a half a mile away at the grocery store to driving longer trips to St. Louis to watch the cardinals play," he said.
Fusco's love of electric cars dates back to 1993 when he purchased a Prius. After that, he was on the hunt for the next great electric car-- at that time, the Tesla.

"I swore that as soon as someone promised to build one, I would buy it," said Fusco. "In 2009, I put down a deposit, I purchased it about three and a half years later."

A statement by Tesla said the bill's addition as "completely unrelated to the original bill" and "this extraordinary maneuver amounts to a sneak attack to thwart due process and hurt consumer freedom in Missouri."

"This is simply a money-grab by the auto dealers that are looking to preserve their way of life," said Fusco.

He said if the new version of the bill becomes law, it will ultimately hurt consumers.

"This is anti-capitalistic, anti-free market anyway you look at it and it's certainly not fair to the people of Missouri," said Fusco.

KOLR10 reached out to the original sponsor of the bill, Keith English, who said if the U.A.W. supports the bill, he will too.

Tesla and Fusco are requesting that the public be given the opportunity to debate the bill.

Currently, Texas, New Jersey, and Arizona ban the direct sales of vehicles, so those residents must make their Tesla purchases out of state.

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