A Charlotte, N.C., Isuzu dealership group has lost its challenge to the opening of another dealership about eight miles away.
The North Carolina Court of Appeals in Raleigh unanimously upheld a decision by the state commissioner of motor vehicles rejecting the protest filed by Diamond Chevrolet-Geo Inc., now called Diamond Chevrolet-Isuzu Inc., which operates Diamond Isuzu and Diamond Chevrolet on the same lot.
The time for further appeal has run out, according to American Isuzu Motors Inc.'s lawyer, James Gale of Raleigh.
In 1992, Isuzu first notified Diamond's predecessor, Southland Chevrolet Inc., of its intent to establish an additional dealership in the relevant market area. Later that year, Isuzu decided not to proceed.
Then in 1995, Isuzu again notified Southland that it intended to grant a franchise to Folger Buick Inc. of Charlotte. Southland again protested, and Diamond continued to pursue the case when it acquired Southland and its Chevrolet and Isuzu franchises.
The state commissioner found good cause for Isuzu's decision, as did Wake County Superior Court Judge Wade Barber, and Folger got the franchise. Folger opened the store, which has Isuzu dualed with Buick and Subaru, after Diamond failed to seek a stay and post a security bond pending appeal.
In a unanimous decision by Judge Linda McGee, the three-member appeals panel found that the commissioner had properly reviewed and evaluated the evidence about the relevant market area.
Diamond's lawyer, Richard Vinegar of Research Triangle Park, said that if his client had won, Isuzu would have had to terminate Folger's franchise.