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Tesla wins approval to sell cars in Pennsylvania

Tesla is expanding its nationwide dealership network.
The company is still fighting to sell cars directly to the public in several states around the country.

Tesla Motors has crossed another hurdle in its attempt to create a nationwide network of dealerships.

The state of Pennsylvania has voted to allow the Palo Alto-based electric car manufacturer to sell cars directly to the public. The state's governor, Tom Corbett, has signed legislation that will allow Tesla to open five dealerships there.

"We’re pleased that the governor has signed into law a bill that makes clear that Tesla may expand its retail stores and service centers within Pennsylvania," said Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president of corporate and business development. "We believe the process in Pennsylvania is an example of how productive cooperation can lead to a win for all parties involved, dealer and elected officials included."

Tesla currently has 56 of what it calls "stores" open in the U.S. and Canada, as well as a number of other "service centers" and "galleries" from which the company is not allowed to actively pitch or sell vehicles.

In its home state of California, Tesla maintains 17 stores. In Florida, another strong base for the high-end car company, Tesla has seven such retail outlets.

In Texas, which does not allow manufacturers to sell cars directly to the public, Tesla maintains galleries in Dallas, Houston and Austin.

The company operates similar galleries in Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia. In many other states, the company says, the laws have not been tested, and the company has no presence at all.

But Tesla representatives are optimistic that the number of stores will rise. Legislation to allow the company to sell directly to the public has already been voted on and approved in New Jersey, and similarly legislation was voted into law recently in Ohio.

Tesla stock was up 4% in midday trading.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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