Tesla Won’t Be Selling Cars Directly In Texas For At Least Another Two Years

Tesla won’t be conquering the Lone Star state anytime soon, as bills in front of the Texas legislature that would allow direct-to-consumer sales by the electric car maker likely won’t see the light of day until 2017, when the next regular legislative session begins.

Bloomberg reports that the latest hurdle for Tesla is the second in Texas since 2013.

This year, Tesla backed two bills that would have allowed the company to sell directly to consumers in the state, rather than going through a car dealership. However, neither the Texas House nor Senate brought the bills to a vote.

The legislative failure comes after Tesla CEO Elon Musk campaigned heavily for the bills, including a tour through the state’s capital of Austin in early January.

In all, Bloomberg reports that Tesla hired about 20 lobbyists and spent more than $150,000 on campaign contributions last year in an effort to sway policy in its favor.

However, Tesla’s backing paled in comparison to that of traditional auto dealers in Texas – which represents the second largest car market in the U.S. Dealers in the state have had substantial support of residents and legislators especially in Texas’ vast rural areas.

Additionally, the industry’s lobby groups have fought fiercely to protect their businesses, and not just in Texas. Tesla has seen setbacks in several states when it comes to its direct-to-consumer sales model.

Back in January, a Missouri auto dealers group sued the state for allowing Tesla to sell directly to consumers.

Before that, in October 2014, the Michigan legislature quietly passed – as an amendment to an unrelated bill – a law that explicitly states that the dealership-only requirement applies to all car companies who sell, service, display or advertise vehicles in the state; meaning Tesla isn’t welcome to sell directly to customers.

Just last month, the Federal Trade Commission urged Michigan lawmakers to repeal the ban.

But for every setback Tesla has faced in recent years, there have been a few victories. Georgia, Maryland and New Jersey passed measures that allow the electric car company to sell its products directly to residents.

As for Texas, Tesla likely won’t be backing down from its fight, but it will have to wait nearly two years for its third go-around with the state.

“We have to do a better job of marshaling the popular support that we know is there,” Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president of business development for Tesla, tells Bloomberg.

Tesla’s Push to Sell Cars Directly to Texans Runs Out of Juice [Bloomberg]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.