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Would-Be Tesla Owners Jump Through Hoops To Skirt Wacky Texas Rules 470

Posted by timothy
from the let's-at-least-have-open-range-for-cars-fellas dept.
cartechboy writes "Texas is known for having the nation's most draconian anti-Tesla rules, based on intense and cash-rich lobbying and political donations by Texas car dealers. What's amazing is what would-be Tesla owners still have to do to get their hands on--and maintain--a Tesla Model S. How do you buy a car the laws try to stop you from owning? By jumping through wacky hoops, it turns out. Tesla store staff, for example, can't tell visitors how much a Model S costs. They can't give test drives, and they can't discuss financing options. Tesla service centers are banned from showing the company logo — or advertising that they do Tesla warranty work or service at all. So how have 1,000 Model S cars been sold? That would be sheer persistence."
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Would-Be Tesla Owners Jump Through Hoops To Skirt Wacky Texas Rules

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  • Red state (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ugen (93902) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:18PM (#45201835)

    Oh, those individual-freedom-loving Texans.

    • Re:Red state (Score:5, Interesting)

      by garcia (6573) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:26PM (#45201951) Homepage

      I'd love to see the Tesla sales numbers from Austin vs the rest of the state. Austin residents have long been at odds w/the rest of the state and their politics and as such I have a feeling we'd see a pretty high correlation with Austin vs Tesla ownership when compared w/the rest of the state.

    • the GOP in Texas is a criminal organization like the mafia....Tesla wouldn't pay the 'protection' fee...

      any equivocation belies ignorance...if you are a "libertarian" you must criticize this and oppose the Republicans who did it

      from TFA:

      The current iron-clad Texas franchise law is the result of years of lobbying by the powerful and well-connected Texas Auto Dealers Association (TADA), founded and run for 30 years by legendary Texas lobbyist Gene Fondren.

      In 2012, dealership interests "invested" more than $2.5 million in the Texas legislative elections, according to the the watchdog group Texans For Public Justice. Sixty percent of Texas lawmakers received checks from TADA in 2012.Two elderly billionaire car dealers, Tom Friedkin and Red McCombs--the latter is also chairman of the former Blackwater security firm--kicked in more than a million dollars between them.

    • Re:Red state (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jythie (914043) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:30PM (#45202027)
      Well, these dealers have more money, so they get more freedom. Texas freedom generally is not about individual for the masses, but about not keeping the power of the powerful in check.
      • Re:Red state (Score:4, Insightful)

        by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:47PM (#45202305) Homepage Journal

        Well, these dealers have more money, so they get more freedom.

        Oh, so in other words, exactly the same as every other state government in the nation, as well as the national government itself.

        • by jythie (914043)
          Pretty much, though the balance between 'more freedom for the powerful to exercise their freedom on others' and 'protect the weak from the powerfull's freedom' varies from state to state. For better or worse, a big part of Texas's ethics revolve around the idea that the best way for people to accumulate wealth is to not protect them, thus encouraging them to get stronger. Thus anyone who does not get one of those coveted higher slots are simply personal failures, which reenforces the idea of the rights of
    • by FatAlb3rt (533682)
      As if this is limited to Texas. Good for you though, you got your low-hanging karma.
  • by codepigeon (1202896) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:21PM (#45201871)
    In my armchair opinion, it seems like when you make something scarse and hard to get, people want it more (especially with the wealthy looking for status symbols). This might be good for Tesla sales.
    • This might be good for Tesla sales.

      The car's "status symbol" status will be better for sales than if it weren't a status symbol, but I think that the difficulty in acquiring and maintaining one more than balances that out. I'm positive that they'd have stronger sales if buying one weren't such a pain in the ass.

  • by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:21PM (#45201875)

    Oh wait... that would mean... err... *head explodes*

    Relevant link: http://www.rootstrikers.org/ [rootstrikers.org]

  • Texas means oil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:21PM (#45201877)

    Is that how free market is supposed to work? Corrupted government?

    • Re:Texas means oil (Score:5, Insightful)

      by berashith (222128) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:33PM (#45202077)

      ya. It is really cute when the article flat out states that things wont change for Tesla until they buy more politicians. Sensibility, reasonableness, will of the people... all of these and more get left out in the cold until you pony up the big bucks.

      • ya. It is really cute when the article flat out states that things wont change for Tesla until they buy more politicians.

        OK, so just sell off a couple of the CA politicians already in the stable, and use the money from that to purchase a TX Senator or two.

    • by cusco (717999)

      Absolutely. Adam Smith was adamant about the necessity of regulating business and preventing collusion among businessmen, but you'd never know it from the fulminations of the Libertardians. They pick and choose those sections of his work that they approve of and pretend the rest doesn't exist, rather like Christians who ignore Leviticus.

  • by stewsters (1406737) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:22PM (#45201891)
    We aren't letting you have this car. Doesn't that make you want it more?
  • When is a good Texan going to stand up a say, "Shit Howdy, come on in"? It looks like Texas is not as big a state as I remeber?
    • What gives Texas the authority to prevent any manufacturer -- of cars or otherwise -- from selling their products in the state? Couldn't this be construed as an illegal restraint of trade against the State of California?

      • by mythosaz (572040)

        Ostensibly, this is to prevent monopolies.

        It's why Sony and MGM don't have theaters in Texas, but instead have to lease their films to movie houses. Sorry, you can only see the Disney movie at the Disney theater, at Disney prices.

        In reality, it's to make sure that a middle-man gets a juicy cut of the sales.

        • Sorry, you can only see the Disney movie at the Disney theater, at Disney prices.

          Awesome, I could just boycott the whole theatre while enjoying movies at the other theatre without having to read the poster to see who the distributor is.

      • What gives Texas the authority to prevent any manufacturer -- of cars or otherwise -- from selling their products in the state? Couldn't this be construed as an illegal restraint of trade against the State of California?

        That... doesn't seem right.

        By the same logic, California has an illegal restraint of trade against any state that manufactures certain firearms and firearm accessories, and most states would have an illegal restraint of trade against Colorado by not allowing CO pot growers to sell there.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:23PM (#45201909)

    I live about 2-3 miles from the Tesla service depot in Austin. One thing that seems to sell the vehicles is the fact that they are "so good, they had to be banned." Even with all the hoops one has to jump through, if one wants a runabout vehicle, a Tesla is hard to beat (assuming one can afford the ticket to entry.)

    So, the prohibition on Tesla vehicles in Texas just makes people seem to want them more. Especially with the fact that in Austin, charging stations are popping up in odd but useful places, such as credit union parking lots.

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      As the owner of a Leaf, with a ~90 mile range (my range is about 90 anyway, YMWV), I can say that a Tesla is a bit more than a "runabout vehicle." We thought we'd have to make SERIOUS adjustments driving a Leaf in the far suburbs of Phoenix (we're 3+ miles to a gas station, and 10 miles from the nearest Freeway), but a few MINOR tweaks and we're golden -- and that's on half of the Tesla's range.

      Yes, Texas is a big state, and it's not suitable for driving 100+ miles one way and then driving back unless you

    • by AaronW (33736)

      The nice thing with the charging stations is usually I just avoid them with my model S. It's cheaper to charge at home. For driving around the Bay Area it's been great. I've used a few of the supercharger stations which have also been great. My only complaint is that they need more of them in more places. There aren't any heading north from the Bay Area and they need them in some more out of the way places like on the way to Yosemite or near Big Sur. The public charging stations are not all that useful when

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:24PM (#45201925)

    So how have 1,000 Model S cars been sold? That would be sheer persistence.

    Can I buy one just to drive it through the doors of their capitol and park it on top of the assholes who passed all these laws while screaming "ASSHOLES ARE BIGGER IN TEXAS TOO!" I know I'd probably be riddled full of bullets and called a terrorist, but for those 30 glorious seconds, I think I would be a working class hero. :(

    In other news; We should start putting warning labels on everything that comes from Texas, including the people: "Warning: This product is known to cause stupidity in every other state but Texas." (with a tip of the hat to another state, whose stupidity created similarily named labels). And now, moderators who live in those two states... fire up the 'overrated' and 'troll' buttons, and I apologize I kept you waiting so long. :P

    • by RKThoadan (89437)

      I think you have a great idea for a T-Shirt or Bumper Sticker there.

    • by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:29PM (#45202007)

      Warning: The State of Texas is known to the State of Californian to contain regular unleaded.

    • In other news; We should start putting warning labels on everything that comes from Texas, including the people: "Warning: This product is known to cause stupidity in every other state but Texas."

      Funny, I feel the same way about products from California, due to their unreasonable hatred for the Constitutional right to self-protection.

      Aye, the street! She runs both ways!

  • How we chose to run our state is our business. Period. If you don't like it, go somewhere else.
  • The Internet? Going to another state?
    Really it's an expensive car. You could fly to Ca. order it and have it delivered.

    Just a guess.

  • This is what you get from the Republican party's pro-business, minimal government policies... pro-entrenched business that is.

  • by lesincompetent (2836253) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:29PM (#45202011)
    ... the country that legalized bribery.
    • ... the country that legalized bribery.

      Most American law is based on English common law, so... not so much.

      The Brits came up with the concept, we just streamlined the process :)

  • "The Texas legislature adjourned in June, and it will not reconvene until 2015." Buwah?!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    - Hey man, what's the deal?
    - We have a little bit of everything... weed, meth, heroin... what do ya want?
    - What about a Tesla S?
    - Shhhhhh! Don't speak so loudly... come with me...

  • lots of new automakers set up dealerships in the USA in the last 30 years?

    its a $80,000 car, not a blu ray player. this is something you want to buy in person

    • by Kingkaid (2751527)
      Dealerships are "arms-length" from the car maker (in theory). This prevents them from price fixing and encourages competition (in theory). Tesla wants to run these themselves rather than put a 3rd party in the middle. I've been to a Tesla store and it was amazing, stupid protectionist laws.
    • by cusco (717999)

      Their business model is sell direct to the customer. I suppose they could set up a "dealership" model where the salescritters are Tesla employees and the dealership marks the price up $1, but then the Texas Dealership Association (or whatever its called) would probably make membership in their club mandatory, or set a minimum limit for markup, or some other obstruction. Essentially a small group of dealers own all the dealerships in the state, they don't want anyone trespassing on 'their' territory.

    • by romanval (556418)

      Because Texas law states that auto dealerships must be independently owned and operated from the auto manufacturer-- (a dealer franchise just has an agreement to sell a particular car... but they still have no ties to the manufacturer.)

  • by schlachter (862210) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:39PM (#45202181)

    this kind of criminal behavior from our gov makes us look like fools.
    how can we bomb the shit out of people around the world to bring them freedom when we don't even have it at home?

  • I'm pretty sure they sell these things in New Orleans and Santa Fe. I realize that it is a hassle to buy a car in one state and re-license it in another, but I have done it myself. It's not too hard.
  • by ruiner13 (527499) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:45PM (#45202295) Homepage
    They are jumping through coils. Tesla coils...
  • Tesla's in Texas (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @12:46PM (#45202303)

    I like Texas, but they have some of the worst legislature and blue laws in the nation. Two taht come to mind frmo my days living in San Antonio:

    Burger King came into San Antonio back in the early 80's, but there was already a burger chain in San Antonio called Whopper Burger which was locally owned. During the ensuing 2 year legal battle by BK, they had stores but they had no signs. It looked like a BK, but it couldn't say Burger King anywhere because the local chains big burger was called the King Whopper. You'd go to the unmarked BK drive through and order a Whopper and they would say "sir, we don't have them, we call them a Deluxe"! THey even had to wrap it in clear plactic because the BK wrapper had Whopper or Bruger or King onit! Talk about stupid. BK finally won and bought out the other chain.

    Then there were the blue laws, where you could go to the store on Sunday but not buy certain things. You could by a hammer at Home Depot, but you couldn't buy the nails on Sunday. Batteries! You could buy a battery opreated device, but not the batteries, on Sunday. My car died and I needed to buy a new battery but could not becasue it was sunday, I hade to jump start or leave it running until midnight, then go to the 24 autoparts place and get one at 12:01 in th morning! You could buy baby formula, but not diapers. Insane! The would even rope of the sections in the stores with hanners that read "never on a Sunday". I once picked up a small package of nails at a 7=11 and the cleark told me taht he could sell them to me and if I persitied he would have to call the cops, but you could buy beer!

    • Re:Tesla's in Texas (Score:5, Informative)

      by Yosho (135835) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @03:50PM (#45205309) Homepage

      Then there were the blue laws, where you could go to the store on Sunday but not buy certain things.

      Some of those laws are gone, but some of them are still around. Grocery stores can't sell liquor, and they can't sell any alcohol before noon on Sunday. That really confused a friend of mine the first time he needed to get some cooking sherry on a Sunday morning.

      Remember, the Republican party is pro-business! Unless your business is doing something they find morally objectionable.

  • Classic hypocrisy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dega704 (1454673) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:02PM (#45202615)
    I love how political extremists on the right run around screaming "LEAVE BUSINESSES ALONE!", and then proceed to pass laws that discriminate against specific businesses; albeit ones that aren't chummy enough with the right people.
  • by kawabago (551139) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:07PM (#45202689)
    Business can buy whatever laws they want, even ones like these that hurt the majority of the population. The politicians that approved these Texas laws are the enemies of the people of Texas.
  • by mattack2 (1165421) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @02:54PM (#45204501)

    Wouldn't just going to another state to buy one be faster?

    Heck, couldn't you have it shipped to your state from another state? (or if not technically shipped, pay someone to drive it there for you.)

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