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The Rocky Mount Telegram

RALEIGH — North Carolina auto dealers say they’re moving ahead with a bill updating franchise laws without a provision that effectively bans the business model of electric car manufacturer Tesla.

But Bob Glaser of the NC Automobile Dealers Association said Thursday that the group hasn’t given up on a separate bill targeting the automaker that already passed the Senate last month. The non-controversial provisions of that bill updating franchise dealer laws were tacked to an unrelated bill that passed the House Thursday. The Senate is also expected to approve the new bill without the Tesla provisions.

The separate Senate bill included a provision preventing manufacturers from direct online or phone communication with customers, which is how the California automaker sells its cars. Tesla has run into legislative barriers and lawsuits in other states as it attempts to bypass the franchise dealers who tightly control the retail market by selling directly to customers.

Tesla maintains its own showrooms but directs customers online to purchase one of its electric cars, which have earned near-perfect ratings from Consumer Reports. The company just recently turned its first quarterly profit and hasn’t sold more than 100 cars yet in North Carolina.



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