Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) will be able to open a third location in Ohio after making a deal with the state’s auto dealers on a bill that would would have blocked the electric vehicle company’s expansion in the state. The Senate Finance Committee pushed a bill forward on Tuesday that prevents auto manufacturers from selling automobiles directly to customers in Ohio.
Tesla Motors’ two existing auto dealer licenses were grandfathered. One of the amendments to the bill allowed Tesla Motors to obtain a license for a third store and service center in Ohio.
Tesla’s vice president of business development Diarmuid O’Connell said that the amendment was a good compromise for Tesla Motors and the auto dealers. O’Connell added that the company’s stores are key for educating consumers about its vehicles and to build a mass market for the electric vehicles.
“We want Ohio to be part of that revolution,” said O’Connell. “So the ability to continue to grow here incrementally is a good thing.”
Tesla Motors received the dealer licenses from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles to operate its two stores in Cincinnati and Columbus.
The Ohio Automobile Dealers Association said that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles granted the licenses in error and requested the legislation to prevent other manufacturers from circumventing dealerships to sell cars. The proposal was also backed by General Motors.
The sponsor of the bill, Sen. Tom Patton, said that this bill protects over 60,000 Ohioans that are employed by auto dealerships from competition from their manufacturers and allows Tesla to grow in Ohio.
Tesla Motors’ direct sales model is blocked in Arizona, Texas, and most recently–New Jersey