Warren Buffett has run afoul of the same Texas law that prevents Elon Musk from selling Teslas at factory-owned stores. But Buffett, in contrast to Musk, may succeed in getting the rules changed in his favor.
Automotive News reported that Texas law bans vehicle manufacturers from operating dealerships in the state — even stores selling other vehicles.
Berkshire Hathaway Automotive has about 30 dealerships employing 4,200 and selling 20 brands in Texas. But parent Berkshire Hathaway Inc. also owns Forest River Inc., a maker of recreational vehicles. The combination puts Berkshire Hathaway Automotive in violation of the law.
Buffett swooped into Texas last week to meet with officials about a legal workaround. Buffett met with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and — “according to multiple Capitol sources and an unchallenged news story” — Gov. Greg Abbott, according to an article by The Texas Tribune.
A piece of “carve-out” legislation that would legitimize Buffett’s auto-retail operations, soon dubbed the Buffett Bill, was crafted and deployed in record time. In less than a week, the bill was introduced, heard by a committee and sent to the Senate floor, where it was debated.
Berkshire Hathaway Automotive was formed in March 2015, when Buffett’s company bought Van Tuyl Group. Buffett has owned Forest River, which makes the Coachmen, Shasta and Palomino RV brands, among others, since 2005.
In contrast, Tesla remains barred from selling its vehicles at its preferred factory-owned stores in the Lone Star State.
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