Carmaker Tesla told by state to shut down NJ stores that sell direct to customers
SHORT HILLS - An electric carmaker is accusing Gov. Chris Christie's administration of pulling the plug on its business.
The Motor Vehicle Commission has banned the direct sale of cars to consumers in New Jersey and ordered the makers of Tesla electric cars to close their stores in Short Hills and Paramus.
Tesla officials slammed Gov. Christie for backing the ban, and siding with the car dealership lobby.
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A Christie spokesman said Tesla's business model does not fall within New Jersey's laws and that Tesla should have gone to the state legislature to get the laws changed.
Tesla has been selling cars to New Jersey residents for more than a year and does not sell their cars through dealers.
Customers say they don't understand the problem with their current sales model. "It doesn't make any difference," says Robert Binder. "If you're gonna buy a car, you buy a car. Whether it's in a store or in a dealership, what's the difference other than the name?"
"Since Tesla first began operating in New Jersey one year ago, it was made clear that the company would need to engage the Legislature on a bill to establish their new direct-sales operations under New Jersey law," according to Kevin Roberts, a spokesman for Gov. Christie.
The MVC gave Tesla 20 days to close its stores.