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High-End Electric Automaker Tesla Opening Local ‘Store Front’

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s considered one of the safest cars on the road, but you won’t find a Tesla at any care dealership in Texas.

Tesla Motors designs and manufactures electric vehicles. Now the company is opening a new storefront at NorthPark Center in Dallas.

But the storefront doesn’t mean actual car shopping. Currently Texas law forbids automakers from operating their own dealerships – that means no direct auto sales to consumers from manufacturers.

Dallas resident Mike Debnar said he couldn’t resist the all-electric Tesla sedan. “Have you seen the front of this car?” he asked, and then explained, “There’s no engine in it — it’s a trunk. There’s no radiator. There’s no antifreeze, no oil, no oil pan, no timing belts…there’s no fan belt, [and] there are no brake lines. There is almost zero maintenance on this car.”

Despite the attributes Debnar described, you won’t find a Tesla vehicle at any dealer in Texas. The closest thing any North Texans can get will be the storefront at NorthPark.

North Texas dealers say they’d love to have Tesla cars on their lots. But, instead the California automaker sells direct to customers — online.

The idea of buying a vehicle directly from the manufacturer isn’t one that sits well with most car dealers. Don Herring Junior, with Herring Mitsubishi, said, ”It’s a huge threat to dealers, and I think it’s bad for the consumers. I think it’s a lose-lose situation.”

Governor Rick Perry is actively courting a $5 billion Tesla battery manufacturing plant. He says it may be time to revisit those dealer protection laws.
Herring said he wants manufacturers to do one thing. “I want them to play on the same playing field as all the rest of us.”

Debnar meanwhile, a self-professed ‘gadget guy’, said he ordered his Tesla online… sight unseen. He admitted, “Never saw one, touched one or drove one when I hit that ‘submit’ button.”

The electric car owner thinks the high-end automaker will be a perfect fit for NorthPark when it opens a ‘gallery’ as it’s called, later this summer.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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