Texas state leaders boast that Texas is “wide open for business,” but last session when the direct-to-consumer industry wanted to expand to the Lone Star State, they learned that the door can be quickly slammed shut. Supporters of the free market alternative to car purchasing hope the next legislative session will be different.
Nearly 90% of delegates approved the addition of direct sales to the Texas Republican Party Platform at this year’s state convention.
Despite the overwhelming support of Republicans, both houses of the Texas Legislature recently allowed bills permitting direct sales to die in committees.
In the Texas Senate, SB 639 was referred to the Natural Resources & Economic Development committee. The bill was unable to gain traction in the committee chaired by State Sen. Troy Fraser (R – Horseshoe Bay), and was eventually abandoned by its author State Sen. Kelly Hancock (R – North Richland Hills.)
Over in the House, the bipartisan HB 1653 was similarly left pending in committee. The chairman of the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee, State Rep. Wayne Smith (R – Baytown) chose to side with auto dealers in his district over consumers, telling the San Antonio News Express, “That process seems to work so far,” while also hailing auto dealers in his district.
In the 1980s a University of Texas student helped launch the personal computing revolution by bucking the same type of system auto dealers are now trying desperately to cling to, selling his computers directly to those wishing to purchase one. This approach led to more affordable PCs and better customer service. Some believe that Tesla and other direct-to-consumer auto manufacturers can do for cars what Michael Dell did for PCs.