Tesla Motors should be allowed to continue to sell its electric cars to consumers in company-owned showrooms and not have to mollify state governments that oppose the practice, AutoNation Chairman and CEO Mike Jackson told CNBC on Tuesday.
Texas—among the four finalists for a new Tesla plant—currently prohibits direct auto sales, fueling questions about whether the automaker might choose the Lone Star State in exchange for a lifting of that ban.
Even though Tesla's business model cuts out dealerships like AutoNation, Jackson said in a "Squawk Box" interview, "Tesla should have the right to decide how it wants to retail its vehicles … and that should include the great state of Texas."
"I do not view [Tesla] as a threat to franchise auto dealers or a threat to AutoNation in any way," Jackson added, while stressing that his company "has not supported or helped any of the entities that are legally resisting Tesla's retail model."
Tesla promises that its so-called "Gigafactory" for producing lithium-ion batteries and electric storage applications would bring 6,500 jobs and an investment of more than $4 billion to the winning state.
(Read more: Tesla to Texas: How do you like us now?)