Legislature acts to allow Tesla to sell cars directly

The Seattle TimesFebruary 18, 2014 

Tesla can continue to sell cars directly to customers under amended bills passed in the state House and Senate, but it will be the only car manufacturer with that privilege.

Senate Bill 6272 and House Bill 2524 were intended keep manufacturers from competing with their own dealers by banning manufacturer-owned dealerships and franchise stores — Tesla’s sales model. They would have kept Tesla, which has stores in Seattle and Bellevue, from opening additional franchises. But both bills were amended to exclude manufacturers who already have a license to do so.

Rep. Steve Kirby, Tacoma Democrat and prime sponsor of the House bill, said the amendment was a necessary compromise. But he said he preferred the original bills.

“I still think that the company should have to follow the same laws as every other auto manufacturer in the world,” he said.

Both bills passed out of chambers on Monday after a rally of Tesla owners who came to the state Capitol in support of the company.

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