Tesla cleared to open up to 5 stores in Pa. under new law

Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed a bill Wednesday that will allow Tesla Motors Inc. to operate up to five stores in the state.

The legislation was passed 197-2 by the state’s House earlier this month. Tesla has battled with auto dealer groups all over the United States to establish company-owned stores and sell its cars directly to consumers -- cutting out the dealership middleman.

A previous version of the bill had no cap on the number of Tesla outlets allowed in the state. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade association representing 12 automakers but not Tesla, strongly opposed the early version of the bill, saying it would give Tesla an unfair advantage over traditional automakers.

Unlike Tesla’s previous and ongoing battles with dealers across the country, the Pennsylvania Automotive Association supported the pro-Tesla legislation after the five-store cap was added. The association believed the bill cleared up uncertainty as to whether Tesla’s direct sales model is legal in the state, as the pre-existing statute prohibited direct factory sales but Tesla was still able to open a story in King of Prussia, Pa.

“We believe the process in Pennsylvania is an example of how productive cooperation can lead to a win for all parties involved, dealer and elected officials included,” Tesla said in a statement.

You can reach Nora Naughton at nnaughton@crain.com -- Follow Nora on Twitter: https://twitter.com/NoraNaughton

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