Tesla’s effort to convince the Connecticut state legislature to pass HB 7097, a bill to enable direct car sales to consumers, was ratcheted up via a plea from Elon Musk, the company’s co-founder and chief executive.
Using the Hartford Courant’s Letter to the Editor section, Musk defended his company’s sales model, which bypasses the auto dealership network in favor of direct contact with potential buyers. “We use a direct sales model because it provides the best possible experience for our customers,” Musk wrote. “Anyone who visits our stores can ask questions of Tesla’s sales team and learn about electric vehicles without the stress of the typical car-buying experience at traditional dealerships. There is no haggling over price (it is the same everywhere) and customers face no pressure to make a purchase.”
Musk cited a Consumer Reports survey that found “74 percent of Connecticut residents believe electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla should be able to sell directly to customers here in the state (as opposed to just 11 percent who believe this should not be the case).” He noted that Connecticut was “one of just four states that blocks us from doing this,” adding that neighboring New York and Massachusetts allow direct Tesla vehicle sales and have taken away business that could have gone to Connecticut.
In his support of HB 7097, also known as the “Tesla Bill,” Musk argued that Connecticut consumers should be allowed “to choose what cars they buy and from whom they buy them — just like every other product.” He then pointed out Connecticut’s financial health as being further impacted by excluding Tesla’s direct sales model from the state.
“Your elected officials have a choice,” he continued. “They can vote to cede jobs to surrounding states, or choose a path that helps the state close its budget gap and build upon its history as a place for innovation and business growth. Please encourage your legislators to allow Tesla to create jobs and invest in a cleaner, sustainable energy future for Connecticut.”