Bill would let auto makers sell cars direct to the public

A new bill could allow Tesla to sell its cars out of its Scottsdale showroom, right now you can only buy a Tesla online.

The bill is moving forward at the State Legislature, but traditional car dealerships are fighting hard against the bill.

This new law wouldn't just apply to Tesla, but any car maker that wants to sell directly to consumers and not through a dealership.

Car dealers fear this could turn into a major threat to their business.

"It is the best car that I have ever had," said Terry Simpson, a Tesla owner.

Terry Simpson bought his Tesla in December. The all-electric car has a range of more than 200 miles, but getting it here wasn't that simple. He discovered that when he visited the Tesla showroom in Scottsdale.

"They basically said we can't sell you anything, you can see the car, we can arrange a test drive, we can't tell you what you should by or shouldn't by, we can tell you all the features, but you need to go home and do this on the computer by yourself," said Simpson.

Arizona is one of a few states that forbid car makers like Tesla from selling directly to consumers. State law requires that cars be sold through a dealership.

"If we want to be number one in free markets then we should allow people to purchase cars directly from a dealer if they want to do that. ," said State. Rep. Warren Petersen.

State Rep. Warren Petersen sponsored a bill that would allow Tesla to sell in Arizona, but the auto dealers are fighting back. They say the plan has the potential to disrupt the dealership model of car buying. If Tesla doesn't have to sell through a dealership, why should Ford, Toyota, or any carmaker?

"I don't understand the alarm because you have all the other states that allow direct sales... California allows direct sales and the last time I checked they still had dealerships dotting the entire state," said Petersen.

Car dealerships employ more than 20,000 Arizonans and produce a large portion of the state's sales tax revenue. Republican Jay Lawrence has sided with the dealerships.

"They are part of the community, the automobile dealers, you would take all of these people who invested millions, and millions o dollars into their dealerships, and suddenly tell them the money you have spent and invested means nothing?" said Rep. Jay Lawrence.

The bill cleared a big hurdle yesterday in the State House, but still has to be voted on by the entire House. Governor Ducey has not said if he would support the legislation.