Arizona state senate committee Wednesday approved a bill that would allow Tesla Motors, Inc. to sell cars in Arizona without establishing a dealer network.
Traditional auto dealers and manufacturers strongly oppose House Bill 2123, saying the measure allows the electric car powerhouse to operate outside the normal rules. They think that if the company fails, direct sales could leave consumers in a perilous situation.
Alliance of Manufacturers lobbyist Mike Gardner told the Senate Commerce, Energy and Military Committee that the bill unfairly allows Tesla to circumvent the dealer network and sell directly to customers. Gardner called the bill a “special exemption,” adding that all companies should be treated the same.
But the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Warren Petersen said the manufacturers and dealers are just trying to halt innovation and technology. The Gilbert Republican wants Arizona to be seen as welcoming to all businesses, adding that consumers should be able to purchase any product they desire.
Tesla has a Scottsdale showroom but only takes orders online due to a 2000 law.
The bill passed 3-2 and now moves to the full Senate after a routine review in another committee.