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Tesla to Stop Selling Electric Cars in New Jersey

Auto Maker’s Stores Violate New State Rules Against Direct-to-Consumer Sales.

Dealers fear other car makers will adopt Tesla’s directing-selling model. Getty Images

Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA -1.85% will stop selling its luxury electric cars in New Jersey on April 1, after the state said Tuesday it wouldn’t license the company to sell vehicles directly to consumers, bypassing franchised dealers.

The defeat for Tesla, which owns its own stores, came despite a furious 11th-hour lobbying effort. A senior Tesla executive had accused New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of breaking a deal to hold off on a rule change requiring all car retailers in the state to have a franchise agreement with an auto maker. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission approved the rule change Tuesday.

Mr. Christie’s spokesman countered that Tesla knew that it was operating outside state laws.

Tesla has been battling in New Jersey and other states to defend its direct-sales model against attacks by franchised dealers representing rival brands.
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