Tesla Motors Inc. says its fight to sell electric cars directly to the public faces a new hurdle as the Missouri General Assembly is weighing a measure to bar its company-owned store system. The carmaker led by Elon Musk said Thursday in a statement that “anti-Tesla” language was added to a state House bill that explicitly requires people to buy vehicles through franchise dealers. Missouri’s Senate passed the bill Wednesday with no public comment or debate, the company said.
“This extraordinary final-hour maneuver amounts to a sneak attack to thwart due process and hurt consumer freedom in Missouri,” the California company said.
Tesla is also appealing New Jersey’s decision this year to prevent direct auto sales by manufacturers, and the company is working to keep selling Model S sedans at its stores in Massachusetts. Although states including Texas and Arizona have already banned direct sales of Teslas, the company this year worked out arrangements in Ohio and New York to continue selling in those states.
Most of Tesla’s cars have been sold on the West Coast.