The Internet's impact on cases involving automakers' attempts to add dealerships is mixed.
While dealers in Rhode Island temporarily thwarted an attempt to add a Chevrolet dealership in Warwick, by using the Internet to make their case, three GMC Truck dealers in Connecticut had no such luck.
The protest before the Rhode Island Motor Vehicle Dealers License and Hearing Board has been appealed.
Meanwhile, a Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles hearing officer has rejected a protest from the GMC dealers trying to keep General Motors from adding a GMC dealership in Hamden.
In an argument similar to the Rhode Island protest, an expert witness for Mario D'Addario Buick Inc. in Shelton, Frank Buick-GMC Truck Inc. in Naugatuck, Wallingford Auto Co. in Wallingford and Zee Buick-GMC Truck Inc. in Milford said the Internet was expanding dealers' market territories, which reduces the need for another GMC dealership in the area.
Connecticut hearing officer Sharon Madden did not address the Internet in her decision. But she did point out that the protesting dealers had little or no sales in Hamden. So even if the Internet has the potential to expand sales territories, the protesting dealers have not been using their Web sites to penetrate the Hamden market, she said.
The Internet argument was not primary in the protests filed in Rhode Island or Connecticut. But it is significant that the Web was part of the legal discussion.
In other dot-com news:
Edmunds.com, an automotive information Web site, has agreed to provide automotive pricing information to Phone.com Inc. The agreement enables mobile phone subscribers to Phone.com to access new-car and used-car pricing by entering mobile .Edmunds.com on their wireless phones.
Autoweb.com Inc. has taken on Ford Motor Co. as a Web site client. Autoweb.com's subsidiary, Automotive Information Center, has created a feature for the Ford Web site that allows visitors to compare Ford vehicles with vehicles from competing manufacturers.
You can reach Staff Reporter Donna Harris at (540) 668-7295 or [email protected]