TRENTON, N.J. (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Motors Inc. will be allowed to sell its electric cars straight to consumers in New Jersey, after Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill overhauling the state’s dealership laws.
Christie on Wednesday said he signed legislation allowing direct sales by manufacturers of zero-emissions vehicles. The law requires Tesla to maintain a service center in the state where consumers can have their cars fixed. The governor previously said he would sign such a bill.
The measure caps a yearlong struggle by Tesla and its supporters to allow the sales. New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission voted unanimously in March 2014 to bar direct sales, a step dealerships said would protect consumers.
“We’re pleased that manufacturers like Tesla will now have the opportunity to establish direct sales operations,” Christie said in a statement.
Tesla currently has “galleries” in New Jersey, which refer would-be buyers to New York and other states.
Spokesmen for Tesla didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the New Jersey law.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has criticized the argument that dealers protect consumers from car manufacturers.
“Unless they are referring to the mafia version of ‘protection,’ this is obviously untrue,” he wrote in a post last year on the company’s blog addressed to New Jersey residents. “Consumer protection is pretty much the furthest thing from the typical car dealer’s mind.”