The fight to open a Tesla showroom is expected to continue in Utah.
This prognosis comes via Utah Business, which projects continued effort into this fall between Utah and Tesla to find workable middle ground.
A proposed compromise for the 2016 legislative session, H.B. 394, introduced last year by state Representative Kim Coleman (R) was rejected on the House floor with a vote of 32-41. Tesla had invested $3 million into a Salt Lake City showroom, but abandoned plans for a grand opening when permission hadn’t been granted.
State legislators worked on a compromise with Tesla that would have issued the electric carmaker permission to sell in the state, but with strict limits. Tesla would have only been able to keep a small volume of inventory in the state. New cars would have to be delivered directly to owners, taking away the benefits of opening up a showroom.
Tesla balked at the bill over these and other perceived deal breakers, and the bill was defeated.
Lawmakers and a group representing dealers are continuing to debate the issue of Tesla being allowed to sell in the state. Coleman says the current sales prohibition is “unconstitutional.” Craig Bickmore, executive director of the New Car Dealers of Utah Association, has been promoting the economic gains of the separation of automakers and dealers, and the investments made by dealers in local communities.
Tesla appears to be ready to continue the battle in Utah, as is the case in other states like Michigan.