Tesla Motors (TSLA -7.15%) CEO, Elon Musk, knew that changing the rules of retail in the auto industry wouldn't be easy. However, the state of Texas now poses the biggest threat to Tesla's disruptive retail strategy to date. The Lone Star State currently has strict regulations in place, which prevent Tesla from selling its all-electric vehicles directly to Texas consumers.
As the second-largest and second-most-populous state in the country, this creates a serious roadblock for the EV start-up. In an effort to transform the dreaded dealership experience, Musk pleaded Tesla's case in the heart of Texas last week saying: "What we're asking for from the Texas Legislature is really simple, it's just, let us sell our products directly to the people of Texas like we're able to do in the rest of the country."
Tesla has testified and won cases in other states including New York and Massachusetts, in which dealership associations had sued the EV maker. In fact, Tesla is now allowed to sell directly to consumers in the following states: New York, Florida, New Jersey, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Massachusetts. While this is certainly a start, Texas is a big piece of the puzzle for Tesla.
Supporting American business in Texas
State Sen. Craig Estes and state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez have already showed their support by filing bills on Tesla's behalf, according to the company. And why shouldn't they? Tesla and the state of Texas are well matched for a number of reasons.
The most obvious of these is the fact that Tesla is an American company, creating American jobs -- and what's more American than Texas? In his meeting with Texas legislators, Musk even hinted that Tesla could build a second manufacturing plant in Texas in coming years. "When we do establish a manufacturing plant outside of California, Texas would be a leading candidate for that," Musk said.
Not to mention, if Texas allows Tesla to implement its direct sales model in the state it would create thousands of new jobs. Of course, a flood of new jobs and a potential Tesla factory in Texas would be in addition to the "tens of millions of dollars" the company would invest in the state by opening stores and service centers there.
Moreover, new Tesla stores in Texas would bring an additional $7 million-$12 million to the local economy in their first year and approximately 20 new jobs, according to Tesla.
Finally, Tesla and Texas also align on the subject of sustainable energy. This may be surprising to some people since Texas is known for its oil refineries. However, the truth is that Austin is one of the 10 greenest cities in the United States. To be sure, Austin is on track to be carbon neutral by 2020. This makes Tesla's zero-emissions cars a perfect fit for the capital city's clean energy goals.
Made in Texas
The Texas market is so important to Tesla's future that Musk even teased the idea of a Texas-inspired electric truck. "I have this idea for a really advanced electric truck that has the performance of a sports car but actually more towing power and more carrying capacity than a gasoline or diesel truck of comparable size," he said.
From its American roots and green technology initiatives, to new job creation, investments in the local economy, and the potential for a Texas-based manufacturing plant -- the union of Texas and Tesla is a no-brainer. If Texas doesn't amend the franchise dealership rule to let Tesla do business in the state, I'll be shocked.