I called my Congressman and spoke with the deputy Chief of Staff. They're going to look into this as this was not something he thought was right either.
What is the case is that, being a manufacturer, they cannot own a dealership or sell like a dealer in Texas. No vehicle manufacturer is allowed to own a dealership in Texas, according to Texas state law. (Texas is not the only state like this, BTW.) So Tesla can talk about their products in their stores (e.g., Houston) but have to refer you to their website for prices or anything sales related.
When you buy from them, the sales transaction essentially takes place in California where Tesla is based. Since you send them the money and a third party delivers the car to you, they have not violated the dealership law in Texas. Fortunately the law apparently does not prohibit them from providing service, so I expect that we'll see the service centers that have been promised.
What you want your state legislators to do is decide that the law is antiquated and should be amended to allow manufacturers to be able to sell like a dealer and/or own dealerships without having to provide franchises.
Due to the dealership law in Texas, having a Delivery Specialist on site handling the delivery prior to the completion of the sale has been construed as a dealer activity and has been disallowed. Another provision that needs changing is the one which essentially says that, other than the County Tax Assessor/Collector, only dealers can collect the sales tax on the sale of a vehicle. Tesla was including the sales tax in the MVPA, but the state has said that Tesla is not authorized to handle the tax on the sale, since they aren't a dealer. This means that, unless you can convince your bank to cover it, you will have to pay the 6.25% sales tax out of pocket along with the rest of the title, license and registration fees when you visit your County Tax office.
Last edited by dsm363; 2013-01-18 at 10:05 PM. Reason: fixed quote tag
Everything you said is accurate. By selling I mean Tesla can't directly sell you the car with a Texas tile and be involved in the same way a dealer can not have to jump through 1000 hoops.
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- - - Updated - - -
I moved some of the posts about registering the car and the problems related to that here
Texas registration issues - Page 2
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