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Electric car maker drives toward own Minn. stores

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — After a win at Minnesota’s Capitol, an electric car manufacturer is closer to the license it needs to open retail stores over the objection of traditional auto dealers.

California-based Tesla Motors has gotten word that state officials would begin processing the company’s application for a car dealer license. The Star Tribune reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/YaEDbY ) that Tesla hopes to open a store this summer in Edina and a second at the Mall of America next year in which the manufacturer would sell cars directly to customers.

The set-up has drawn the ire of the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association, which fears the sales model will allow Tesla and other manufacturers to undercut rivals by running dealerships without the overhead of having vehicle supplies on the lot.

“We think everybody should play by the same rules,” said Scott Lambert, the association’s executive vice president. “Tesla is trying to sell cars on the cheap, and it’s just not fair because they don’t have the cost of running a dealership.”

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