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Tesla's Fight With Car Dealers Could Help Decide the Next Presidential Election

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes | about 7 months ago

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Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Marcus Wohlsen writes that the most recent ban against Tesla selling cars directly from the company instead of through third-party dealers was enacted in New Jersey with the support of Gov. Chris Christie, a possible contender for the GOP nomination. That prompted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Christie rival, to heartily defend Tesla’s direct sales model. “Customers should be allowed to buy products that fit their need," says Rubio, "especially a product that we know is safe and has consumer confidence beneath it.” Perhaps even more surprising is the love shown by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the once and possibly future presidential hopeful whose oil-rich state bars employees in Tesla’s two showrooms from even telling potential customers how much the Model S costs. “I think it’s time for Texans to have an open conversation about this,” says Perry, "the pros and the cons. I’m gonna think the pros of allowing this to happen outweigh the cons.” The sudden GOP embrace of an electric car company once reviled as a symbol of Northern California enivro-weenies might seem ironic says Wohlsen, but the real irony is that conservative politicians ever opposed Tesla at all. "The widespread franchise rules giving car dealers virtual monopolies in their territories epitomize the government-controlled marketplace Republicans purportedly despise," writes Wohlsen adding that possible presidential contenders realize there may be political capital to be gained in supporting Tesla. But the real winner is Tesla. If the company can manage to associate its brand with all the positive qualities Rubio and Perry hope rub off on them, few politicians will want to take the risk to stand against them. Mitt Romney called Tesla Motors a “loser” company during his 2012 run for president. In 2016 running against Tesla might seem about as smart as running against Apple."

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