The NC House recently passed a new compromise to make it easier for electric car companies to invest in North Carolina
House Bill 617 would specifically allow “specialty” manufacturers, like Tesla, to sell direct to consumer in our state.
North Carolina state law currently prohibits any auto manufacturer from selling directly to consumers – a law designed to protect small local car dealerships from manufacturers opening their own direct-to-consumer dealerships at lower prices. Manufacturers can try to secure an exception, which is only granted if the car company can prove to the NC DMV that selling directly would significantly benefit consumers.
Last year, Charlotte’s Tesla dealership on Independence was denied one of these exceptions, even though Tesla’s dealership in Raleigh continues to sell direct to consumers without issue (currently the only such dealership in our state).
HB617 doesn’t specifically mention Tesla, but it does state that manufacturer-owned dealerships would be allowed to sell ‘antique and specialty’ vehicles direct to consumer – companies would also be limited to six locations across the state.
According to the new bill, “the term “antique motor vehicle” shall mean any motor vehicle for private use manufactured at least 25 years prior to the current model year, and the term “specialty motor vehicle” shall mean any model or series of motor vehicle for private use manufactured at least (i) three years prior to the current model year of which no more than 5,000 vehicles were sold within the United States during the model year the vehicle was manufactured.manufactured or (ii) at least 10 years prior to the current model year of which no more than 15,000 vehicles were sold within the United States during the model year the vehicle was manufactured.”
The vice president of Tesla Motors, Diarmuid O’Connell, told North Carolina senators allowing his company’s dealerships to sell cars directly to consumers would generate over 50 million of investment and hundreds of jobs throughout our state.
HB617 has been shelved for this legislative session due to resistance from automakers and will be re-assessed during the NC Senate’s next meeting.
What do you think about the new bill?
Should Tesla be allowed to sell direct to consumers in our state?