A California federal judge last week dismissed Nissan North America Inc.'s lawsuit against Republic Industries Inc.
In the lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles federal court last April, Nissan claimed Republic had agreed verbally to limits on how many Nissan and Infiniti franchises it may hold, but never intended to abide by those limits.
Republic says it never made the verbal agreement. Last week, U.S. District Judge David Carter granted Republic's motion to dismiss the case.
Republic said the action affirms its right to pursue other Nissan acquisitions as allowed under state franchise laws.
Nissan claimed that in early 1997, Republic CEO Steven Berrard agreed to abide by a proposed Nissan policy barring a single dealer group from holding franchises that account for more than 5 percent of Nissan registrations nationally or 20 percent in any regional market. Later in 1997, Republic said it would not waive its rights to buy Nissan dealerships under state franchise laws.
In 1998, Nissan officially adopted the policy and includes it in written agreements with its dealers. Republic has refused to agree to those ownership limits.
Republic currently holds 19 Nissan and six Infiniti franchises in nine states. Nissan spokeswoman Debra Sanchez Fair said Republic represents 3.25 percent of Nissan national registrations and 4.23 percent of Infiniti registrations.
Nissan also is concerned with the performance of several Nissan dealerships owned by Republic. Sanchez Fair said those dealerships have failed to meet sales goals they submitted to Nissan.
Oscar Suris, a spokesman for Republic, said that is the case with some of the dealerships, but others have been standouts, outperforming Nissan's overall sales trend in the United States.