Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) gained a whole lot of positive momentum, and apparently more than just a few fans, in the month of May with its rather impressive run in the stock, rave reviews for its Model S sedan, the company’s first profit in 10 years of existence, and paying off its government loan nine years early. Oh, but as the calendar turned, it seemed the green monster of envy or jealousy (you pick) reared its ugly head, trying to take its shots at the new Wall Street darling.
This month, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been putting its lobbyists to work in a few states, trying to fend off a huge push by state and national auto dealership associations, which apparently are feeling a tad bit threatened about their security in the car industry due to Tesla’s direct-from-the-factory online sales model. It seemed pretty likely that two states – New York and North Carolina 0 were going to be the first ones in the Union to ban direct auto sales as a model for the industry.
New York first seemed ready to push the law through – which, we noted before, had a curious additional provision that would have banned all new cars bought outside New York state from being legally registered in the state – until the state Senate got cold feet and voted it down, essentially tabling the bill until the next session in January.
Then North Carolina seemed poised to do similar damage to the Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) model, as its state Senate voted unanimously to ban direct sales. But this week a rather surprising turn of events took place – after such an overwhelming response in the state Senate, it was supposed to be a given that the state House would approve the bill, but in reality the House members backed away fro it like it was kryptonite, actually killing the bill. At least, a current state senator told a local newspaper that it has no intention of bringing the bill back for a vote.
Word is that Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) – in which fund manager Stephen Mandel had posted a 1.75-million-share put option on its stock in March (see his portfolio here) – was able to successfully “lobby” some key lawmakers in North Carolina, including the governor, by offering test drives of the Model S. Apparently the test drive was such an experience that whomever was neutral on the bill or had a completely open mind were sold that the vehicle should not be kept from away from North Carolinians. Perhaps including themselves, who knows?
Does this mean the end of the fight? Will other states take this on?