Tesla faces new hurdle as Missouri weighs direct sales ban

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Motors Inc. says its fight to sell electric cars directly to consumers faces a new hurdle as Missouri's legislature is weighing a measure to bar its company-owned store system.

The carmaker said Thursday in a statement that "anti-Tesla" language was added to a state House bill that explicitly requires consumers to buy vehicles through franchise dealers.

Missouri's Senate passed the bill on Wednesday with no public comment or debate, the company said.

"This extraordinary final-hour maneuver amounts to a sneak attack to thwart due process and hurt consumer freedom in Missouri," the Palo Alto, California-based company said.

Tesla is also appealing New Jersey's decision this year to prevent direct auto sales by manufacturers, and the company is working to keep selling Model S sedans at its stores in Massachusetts.

While states including Texas and Arizona have already banned direct sales of Teslas, the company this year worked out arrangements in Ohio and New York to continue selling in those states.