Automaker Tesla takes fight to North Carolina

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Associated Press

Posted on May 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Updated Sunday, May 26 at 9:00 AM

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Electric car manufacturer Tesla wants a compromise that will allow it to stay in business in North Carolina.

The California automaker is sitting down with the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association ahead of state House meetings on a bill that effectively prevents direct online sales to consumers. The Senate passed the bill unanimously earlier this week.

Tesla's business model of Internet sales conflicts with many state laws designed to protect franchises from unfair competition with manufacturers. North Carolina is the latest battleground for the company.

Company executives say they might take their case to court or seek a federal law, but experts predict an uphill battle against an influential lobbying group.

Tesla argues dealers have a monopoly. Dealers say their model assures customer service with a physical presence in communities.

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