Warren Buffett’s 31 Berkshire Hathaway Automotive dealerships in Texas face an uncertain future after the state Legislature failed to take action to make them legal.
The dealership group ran into trouble in April when it was discovered that parent Berkshire Hathaway Inc. also owns Forest River Inc., a recreational-vehicle maker. A Texas law prohibits vehicle makers from operating dealerships in the state — even stores selling other vehicles. It is the same law that bars Tesla-owned stores.
After Buffett met with Texas legislators about the issue, a legal workaround zipped through the Texas Senate in less than a week. But then, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who met with Buffett during the bill’s inception, pulled the bill from the Senate’s agenda, the Texas Tribune reported. The Legislature adjourned May 31 without taking further action. It’s not scheduled to reconvene until January 2019.
An investigation by the state Department of Motor Vehicles, which licenses dealerships, is underway. After the DMV’s board met on Thursday, June 1, a spokeswoman told Automotive News a determination had not been made as to whether Berkshire Hathaway Automotive is in violation of Texas law and would not comment beyond the existence of an investigation.